Friday, January 29, 2010

Top Finds of 2009 / Guyatone Mighty Micro Series

Some of the absolute best sounding, easiest to use, and best bang for your buck stompboxes we came across last year were Guyatone's Mighty Micro Series effect pedals. This wide range of tuff as nails little guitar boxes absolutely blew us away with their huge sound and never ending capabilities. Guyatone has always been known for knocking out some of the world's best sounding and most interesting gear. With the Mighty Micro Series they have taken all of the skill, expertise, and experience they could muster to create one of the most interesting collection of stompboxes to ever hit the pedal scene. Analog War Cry had a chance to take a close look at each and every one of these little boxes. We dissected them, tweaked them beyond belief, and ran them till no end. In the end we were left with the most massive collection of guitar sounds you could ever imagine. Guyatone definitely thought of everything and left no stone unturned when they designed these pedals. We're gonna be sharing with you what ended up being our most favorite pedals of the entire bunch. We had a blast with each and every single one of these little demons. Here are a few we think you'll really enjoy, so dig in!

Clifton, NJ

Mighty Micro Series
Effect Pedals

* Cast aluminum "Stomp Guard" protects controls and settings
* Ultra bright status LED is easily visible on dark stages
* Mechanical true bypass switching via custom Guyatone switch
* Glow-in-the-dark washer offers improved visibility on dark stages
* Battery "Load Scope" allows user to see into battery compartment
* Additional controls with improved functionality provide greater tonal options
* Top mounted jacks save space on crowded pedalboards
* Lightweight, ultra-durable cast-aluminum chassis reduces noise level
* "Smart Screw"= less turns and stays connected to the battery lid
* Top-mounted, no-tools battery compartment allows battery change without removing pedal from pedalboard



This little monster was designed after the award-winning OD-2, offering the same intensity, feel, and tube-like grit. Only the ODm5 Overdrive is loaded with a wider amount of capabilities which makes it one of the most versatile little OD boxes to ever hit pedal world. The ODm5's knob layout is Level-Tone-Gain-Mode (switch)-and Input Attenuator. We ran the ODm5 through 7/15 watt head and 1x10 cabinet. We set the amp at 7 watts and dialed it in semi-clean. I set the ODm5's Level slightly higher than the amp's, set the Tone straight up, Gain at about 15%, Mode switch at 1., and rolled the Attenuator knob all the way up. The sound was a dead-smack, perfectly overdriven tube tone. Brushing down on the strings gave me a mellow semi-clean sound full of clarity and slight crunch. The harder I pushed the more grit I would get, and the more I dug in the longer the notes would hang in the air. I pushed the Gain up to about half way, rolled the Tone back to 3'o'clock, and switched the Mode switch to it's second position. Here the ODm5 produced a smooth, hairier overdrive which sounded really nice through blues and mellow rock. Taking the Gain knob up all the way produced a great all-out rhythm overdrive tone which stayed rich and creamy. This setting also worked great with the guitar's volume knob. I was easily able to get another handful of great sounding usable rock tones by rocking the volume back and fourth. To get a screaming lead tone out of the ODm5 I switched into the pedal's third Mode setting, took the Attenuator knob back half way, Tone up 75%, and rolled the Gain up full blast. All of a sudden this little 7 watt amp sounded like a massive 100 watt plexi. The sustain was thick'n'rich, and grit amount just an inch before distortion. I switched the amp into 15 watts got the perfect recording and small gig overdrive sound. Along with the handful of other amps and guitars we ran this pedal through we ended up with a pretty massive amount of dirt tones. With the pedal's three dirt modes, sensitive tone knob, and attenuation knob you can plug this pedal into whatever guitar or amp you want and surely end up with whatever tone you want. These Micro Mighty pedals also save on much needed pedalboard space which is always a big plus for anyone suffering from G.A.S. Check one of these pedals out, I promise you'll be surprisingly pleased.


Slow Volume

Anyone familiar with the unique and lovely sound of the Slow Volume effect knows that once mastered can be one of the most useful tools of all the different effects out there. Guyatone's SVm5 takes this all-time favorite effect even further and to the extreme. For a long time I was stuck to dialing in delay pedals, reverb units, and volume pedals in order to get this sound. The work that one has to put into perfecting the art of volume swells is not an easy one, I say this from experience. The SVm5 makes this a thing of past and puts it back where it belongs, into an authentic, great sounding slow volume pedal. The SVm5's control layout is Level-Threshold-Rising-Attenuator (switch)-and Release. You can get everything from violin sounds, eerie ghost howls, and subtle/intense volume swells. The SVm5 works great with other pedals, and sounds stunning through a big'n'bright clean tone. For this demo we used a Twin Reverb and Hagstrom semi-hollow body guitar. I set the amp to the most sparkling clean amp tone I could get from it and added in a nice helping of reverb. I set the SVm5's volume output at noon, set the Threshold between 11-12, Rising knob at noon, Attenuator at unity, and release at 3'o'clock. This produced a great sounding universal slow volume sound that worked great with everything. I picked out a handful of favorite chords and they bloomed out softly and beautifully. Single notes whispered out, rose then fell. I also added a bit of delay to make the effect hold a bit longer which sounded killer. The SVm5 also works great with overdrive and fuzz. I threw one of my favorite fuzz pedals before it and cerated these great synth-like sounds. There were a handful of other settings that sounded equally as good as this one did but the best way to get this pedal with you is by diving in and playing with the knobs. Everyone has a different touch, and once you master how to strum and set the pedal to your liking you will be in Slow Volume heaven. I was able to get extremely dramatic volume swells, subtle, and everything in between. This probably became my favorite of the Mighty Micro pedals, you don't know how long I have been on the hunt for a great sounding SV pedal. Go out and try to find and original Slow Gear and see where that lands you. You'll end up forking over close to half a grand or more. Of all the many similar effects I have had a chance to try this is by far one of the best sounding and most versatile.



The tremolo. It is one of the most useful and sweetest sounding effects of all the stompbox world. Having a good sounding, versatile tremolo unit on your pedalboard can not only provide you with a handful of great uses, but can also dish out some of classic rock's most memorable tones. I was able to take the Guyatone VTm5 from vintage to modern tones, and everything in between. Of all the tremolo pedals I have come across this past year this was by far one of most versatile. With all the features the VTm5 has on board finding the exact sound you're looking for is a cinch. The control layout is Level-Intensity-Speed-Wave Switch- and High Roll Off. Inside this pedal is also an Input Attenuator which is controlled by a -14db and 0db DIP switch. The attenuation option lets you adjust the correct input from the output level of different instruments. This means you can use the VTm5 with bass guitars, keyboards, and a handful of other gadgets. We went for a straight up vintage voiced, warm, and lush tremolo tone at first. For this demo we pulled out the Twin Reverb once again. I set the amp with it's Bass and Treble at 7, and pulled my Tele out and flipped it into it's neck humbucker. The tremolo was set with it's Intensity at noon, Speed between 1/2'o'clock, High Roll Off at 11'o'clock, Wave in it's triangle settings, and Level nice and loud to help push the amp a little bit. The result was a genuine vintage tube amp tremolo tone. The beating of the tremolo was smooth'n'lush, not too powerful, and just behind the amp's root tone. This setting worked great as a universal tremolo tone. Chords lightly rose and fell giving the overall feel just the right amount accent and character. Licks and bends also sounded absolutely beautiful. With a bit of overdrive mixed in to the sound I was in blues rock heaven. The sound of the Twin's bright/clear clean tone mixed with the VTm5's tremolo created a pretty cool sound, but now it was time to take this little pedal into more extreme settings. To get a sharp, cutting tremolo effect I had to do was turn the Intensity up a bit, and flip the Wave Switch to square wave. To give the sound a little extra bite I just set the High Roll Off knob back to about 9'o'clock. I started with the Speed at a slow setting and moved up from there. I was able to get perfectly mellow choppy sounds to insanely crazy helicopter sound effects. For a pedal this tiny the VTm5 will absolutely blow your mind. It was able to produce both classic and modern tremolo tones with absolute ease. This is a great tremolo unit for gigging or lugging around from spot to spot, and it's size will do your pedalboard right nice.


Sonic Shaper

Here we have a pedal that has become one of the most useful stompboxes we have ever come across. So what exactly is the Sonic Shaper? Well, Guyatone had produced a pedal called the EX-2 Exciter pedal that was only released across seas. The pedal was designed to take certain frequencies and bump them to create a finely tuned, spic'n'span guitar tone. The SSm5 takes this idea and pushes it even further. With the Sonic Shaper you can zone in on that one frequency that makes your tone magical, and enhance it to make the sound even greater. This helps your guitar stand out from the mix, helps you separate guitar from others, and makes dialing in the exact eq feel you're looking for an easy task. The control layout on this puppy is Level-Color-Shape-Color (switch)-and Input Attenuator. I dialed in a few of my favorite guitar tones, both clean and dirty, and tested them to see if I could make them better. We pretty much stuck to the Twin Reverb for testing all the Mighty Micro pedals. I broke out the Les Paul, tweaked the amp into a naturally overdriven dirt tone (which means things got loud), and rang out a few lick and chords. I payed close attention to what made the tone sound special and got to working in the SSm5. I matched the pedal's level out put to the amp's, rolled the Color until I found a spot I dug, and once I found a setting I was happy with I took the pedal's Shape to fine tune exactly what I needed. really the best way to jumped into this baby is to hear it for yourself. It's hard to explain what it does, but here I go. The pedal was able to take my favorite spot of the tone's character and brighten up by making it stand out but not actually boosting the level of it. It's a pretty cool effect pedal if you ask me. It's like the next level in EQ stompboxes. I gotta give it up to Guyatone for coming up with such a killer idea and making it such a useful tone tool, literally. Another awesome use for this pedal is puling out sounds from your other pedals that you have a hard time getting. Ever get close to that perfect overdrive tone? You have the right amount grit, right level, and perfect response. Only there's a spot on the tone knob that the pedal won't let you dial in. This is a nightmare. With the Sonic Shaper this is no longer an issue. I worked it into my favorite overdrive, fuzz, and distortion pedals. I was able to get an handful of other tones I didn't think were possible. The SSm5 is by far one of the coolest of all the Mighty Micros. If you get a chance to rock these pedals make sure you plug into this badboy, you'll be glad you did.



Every can use a good sounding compressor or sustainer in their setup. Not too long ago I was alien to the world of compression and left it up to friend's, engineers, and presets to get the sounds I wanted. All that came to an end when I finally had enough and just jumped in, educated myself, and got my feet wet. Now compression has become one of my favorite effects and is one of the key ingredients of my sound. The Guyatone STm5 absolutely blew my mind! Everyone knows that compression units can round up to be some of the most expensive of all stompboxes. I have played lots of vintage, boutique, modern, studio, and even DIY comp pedals. I think it's safe to say I have payed my dues and can separate the good sounding units from the not so good. The STm5 consists of a Level-Sustain-Attack-Color-and Input Attenuator. I was able to dial in spanky country tones, violin-like long sustain, and smooth overall great sounding compression effects. For the squashed comp tones we of course broke out the Tele and dialed in the Twin Reverb to a holy grail clean tone with lots of reverb and balance. I struck down on the few chickin' pickin' links I knew how to play and got an awesome sounding compression sound. With a bit of delay thrown into the mix things got even better. The notes all stayed tight, defined, and beautifully bright. Next I took one of my favorite OD pedals and dialed in a fat sounding overdrive tone. Alone the sound was already lush and spot-on. With the STm dialed at just the right setting I was able to take the sound and stretch it out into a lovely, balanced, singing sustain. With my fingers I would dig into fretboard, hold a note in mid air, and let it loose when I wanted. The further I pushed the overdrive sound the more intense the sustain became. I grabbed the Les Paul, plugged into a Super Lead, and dialed in the pedal for perfect balance between spank and sustain. I rolled out some of my favorite Santana licks and was stuck in rock and roll heaven. Compared to the many expensive and vintage compression units I have tried the STm5 definitely held it's own. Anyone looking for a great priced, great sounding, versatile and easy to use compressor will dig plugging into the Guyatone Stm5 compressor/sustainer. This makes for one of the best ways to achieve the sound you're looking for. Whether it be an all-out smashed compression or subtle universal sustain.


Micro Delay

I saved the best for last. Nothing beats a great sounding, versatile, and easy to use delay pedal. I was able to use this pedal at the end of my board, in my amp's FX Loop, and as a studio tool. In every application we used this little delay box in we were able to get awesome sounding delay tones. The delay is one of those effects that has to be used the in the right light in order to get a good sound. Getting a quick, professional delay tone from the MDm5 proved to be one of the easiest I've ever experienced. I was able to get similar delay tones from this pedal than I was from other more expensive, and bigger effect pedals. This goes to show all you need is a killer design to get you some awesome sounding delay. The MDm5's layout is actually pretty simple, and closer to a traditional layout than the rest of the pedals. From left to right you have a Level-Time-Repeat-Mode Switch-High Roll Off-and internal Input Attenuator DIP switch. We rocked out to this pedal with just about every guitar we had and plugged it into a handful of different wattage amps. The first sound we were able to get from this pedal was a universal delay sound that worked great with everything. I rolled the pedal's Level just underneath the amp's, Time at around noon, Repeats to about 3-4, Mode Switch to medium delay, and High Roll Off pretty sharp. We left the Input Attenuator at it's stock setting and went to work. This produced a perfect delay sound that worked great with chords, leads, and licks. The delay hung on just long enough to make itself known, and trailed off at the perfect moment to let the next lick or chords come through. We also dialed in one of the baddest sounding slapback delay tones we've ever heard. I took down some big fat country licks and listened as the delay quickly slapped the notes back and fourth. To make the sound a bit warmer and give it a more vintage tone I just rolled off some of the highs, and took the pedal's volume level back a bit to hide in the mix a bit more. Before we moved onto another setting I plugged the MDm5 Delay into a keyboard and got some really interesting sounds from it. Set correctly I was also able to get some mellow reverb tones from the MDm5. This gave me the idea to plug the pedal into a Rhodes keyboard and switch the delay into a longer, much more intense setting. Quickly I got some of the trippiest, most psychedelic delay tones I have ever heard. In no time at all I was able to go from mellow slapbacks, subtle delays, and all-out space madness. All through a handful of different instruments. Once you get your chance to try out the Mighty Micros make sure you get your hands on one of the MDm5's, you will quickly be drawn into it's wild collection of awesome delay tones. Again, this pedal makes for a great delay for the gigging cat, studio cat, and bedroom rocker. Like the rest of the pedals it saves much needed pedalboard space and looks killer. MDm5 baby!


Those were the few of our favorite of the Mighty Micro Series line. There are a bunch more equally cool sounding models you must try out for yourselves. For more info on the rest of the Mighty Micro line go to or There is a handful of great info and audio demos of all the pedals on both websites. We will stay close to Guyatone's future creations and make sure to bring you all their updates. Stay tunes ya'll.



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