Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Plug in and Play

The limits for what is possible with our stompbox units these days are damn near endless. The materials and technology to go forward has always been in the grasp of our hand. It is those few gear builders and imaginative fellows that take us forward on a daily basis. In the last couple years there have been many new, exciting, and useful tools for powering up our effects pedals. How we power our pedals is not only a matter of keeping our boxes performing smoothly, I mean yes at the end os the day that is what it is all about. But what if we didn't need to use batteries, or cables, or have to plug into anything other than our patch and guitar cables? Cave Passive Pedals has done this for us, while at the same time delivering a slick collection of effects pedals that will help you paint the town red, green, blue, black, and any other color you can think of.


Mini Miff

* Passive electronic design (no batteries or power adapter needed)
* Two types of overdrive tones
* Boost capabilities
* True bypass
* Works great with guitar and bass
* No need to unplug from input jack to save on power
* Handmade in Australia
* Pedals shipped in handmade wooden box with microfibre cleaning cloth
* All pedals sport a real lifetime warranty


Why someone hadn't thought of this sooner is absolutely baffling to me! Passive electronics are nothing new, and passive musical devices have been with us for quite some time. Some of our favorite effects come from this timeless technology. From my standpoint I think it's a great idea. Not only does it help with dealing with dead, low power batteries, or tangled wires from power adapters. But this also means no tossing those old batteries in the trash which helps the green movement. I'm no hippy but I do dig the idea of keeping out planet on the up and up for as long as humanly possible.

The Cave Passive Mini Miff pedal is a simple and very versatile effect unit. The pedal's layout consists of In/Out jacks, a true bypass switch, and a single knob which lets you choose from two types of ovedrive and a boost setting. The pedal comes in a beautiful, slick looking handmade trophy type wooden box. Inside the box the pedal is neatly tucked away along with a microfibre cleaning cloth for keeping your pedal neat and sweet. The Mini Miff sounds and works great with many different instruments including guitars, basses, keyboards, and lap steels. I found this pedal paired up beautifully with just about every pickup I threw at it, and was able to stack it up with a handful of my favorite drivers, fuzzes, distortions, and many other types of effects. Setting this pedal up for a good tone is as easy as plugging in and picking your setting with the 3 position rotary knob. The type of pickup, guitar, and amp does make a huge difference with this pedal, meaning it works with whatever you throw at it.

I stacked the Mini Miff up with single coils, humbuckers, and a P90 equipped Junior copy. The amps I dished out for this tone meal were my AC15 clone, modified Hot Rod Deville, and 100 watt Super Lead. I first plugged the Mini Miff into the low watt amp, playing it with the duel humbucker guitar, and setting the amp up to give me as much grit as possible. I must say, my little 15 watt amp really does sweet on it's own and rarely do I find pedals that can give it more of anything. Most pedals if they do give it more balls end up completely changing the character of the amp's tone. I set the Mini Miff to it's clean setting and let her rip. Right away I could feel much more thump, girth, and size in the tone's eq projection. As if the eq circuit got a jolt of energy straight to it's heart. Digging in and slamming down on my guitar's strings really let things become meatier and heavier. Not heavier as in a sharp jagged sound, it was more of what I already had which made this pedal quite a treat. Rolling back the guitar's volume worked pretty too, I found this a perfect way to get a nice dark jazz tone, or boomy blues tone. Next I throttled back the amp's gain and set it for more of a semi-clean tone. I set the amp's clean tone as flat as possible with a hint of brightness to it. The Mini Miff's clean boost again added more of the same, giving the clean tone more attitude and weight. This is great for those of you looking for a hint more from your amp's tone. Next I set the pedal to it's OD1 setting and rolled the amp back up to a gritty dirty tone. The amp on it's own produced a perfect rhythm tone good for blues, rock, classic rock, and rock all together. With the Mini Miff engaged I was able to get a hint of boost to the overdrive signal while able to get a bit of fuzz in the overall sound. This was great for c0nverting a good rhythm tone to a lead tone without having your sound go too crazy. Sometimes all we need to get our tone to climb into a lead tone is a little push. This first setting was perfect for this. The OD2 setting was a bit different, more like a traditional overdrive pedal which takes and drives your sound into that amp break-up thing. Overall I found the Mini Miff to stand up beautifully to the 15 watter's punchy, sweetened sound. Another set up that also stood for me was the Mini Miff through an overdriven Super Lead. Here I was able to get everything from big epic rock tones, stinging leads, throaty rhythm sounds, and darn right aggressive distortion tones. The sound from the 15 watt amp to the 100 watt was a lot different, but what was important was that the feel was all the same. I was still able to control and shape my notes in the exact manner as I did with the low watt amp. I found the Mini Miff didn't produce lots of noise when played through high gain settings which for me was a big big deal. Many pedal can ruin your hard worked tone with hiss and white noise, not with this pedal! I plugged in the P90 equipped Junior copy and rolled the amp's tone back down to a mellow subtle crunch. The combination of the amp's sound, the guitar's pickup, and the pedal gave me a sound that sliced right through the mix and let everything I played be heard perfectly. This is a wonderful pedal for those of us who play with more than one guitar player in a band. I also played the Mini Miff through a couple of my dirt pedals which also sounded damn good. The Mini Miff was able to get a handful more flavors from pedal's I thought had no more to give. With overdrivers I was able to get silky smooth distortion tones. Fuzz pedals I was able to turn into beasts! This led me to plug this pedal into my lap steel. I will tell you right now that this is down right one of the best pedals for dirty lap steel tones I have heard in a long time. The Mini Miff's natural boomy sound also made it perfect for plugging into bass guitars. Keyboards I was able to make much more aggressive which really helped for blending in with rock music. All of this was possible without ever needing to use a battery, plug into an adapter, daisy chain, or any other sort of power source. I never had to unplug from the Mini Miff's input jack, and got a strong and healthy signal the entire time I played it. Cave Passive Pedals has really impressed me with these stompboxes. I hope to get a shot at plugging into more of these bad boys so I can report back to ya'll. It really would be great if these caught on with you players and we started seeing them on more players pedalboards. The Cave Passive pedal line is up to about 20 pedals right now which means they must be doing something right. I encourage you guys to tap into these well made, awesome sounding effects pedals.


For more info on Cave Passive Pedals go to There is a bunch of great info on the website. We will keep you guys up to date on more from this exciting and fresh company so keep your eyes peeled.

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