Monday, October 11, 2010

Funktified-Tripped Out-Psychedelic Goodness

It was a few years ago when I was first introduced to the Tremendous Trio (AC Booster/RC Booster/BB Preamp), this was how Xotic Effects first caught my attention. Once discovering this company I began to following it's work closely, trying out everything they releassed, and keeping tabs on all the great reviews that were being written. I soon noticed Xotic was on fire! Building one awesome pedal after the other, with each pedal being special in it's own way, and more and more players sticking these boxes on their boards. Next came the Robotalk, a envelope filter/arpeggiator that absolutely rocked and blew people away. Unlucky for me I didn't get a chance to grab one and it is now probably THE #1 pedal on my wishlist(hint hint friends at Xotic). The good news here is Xotic has a 2nd version of this pedal which is equally as cool and just as great sounding. I honestly thought there was no way to improve on the envelope filter of the first model... I was wrong. The Robotalk II has one-up'd the first version by stacking a second identical envelope filter channel which can be blended with the first. This thing has a spot-on classic vibe that will warm up, funk up, and excite any tone you throw at it. I thought this would be a great pedal to share with you guys and a perfect addition for anyone looking for a great sounding envelope filter.


Robotalk II
Envelope Filter

Channel A
Sensitivity: Determines how sensitive A-Ch envelope reacts
A-Ch Volume: Controls A-Ch volume
Decay: Determines length of decay, time of envelope, and start frequencies
Resonance: Controls the amount of envelope feedback for A-Ch
On/Off Switch: True bypass

Channel B
Sensitivity: Determines how sensitive B-Ch envelope reacts
B-Ch Volume: Controls B-Ch volume
Decay: Determines length of decay, time of envelope, and start frequencies
Resonance: Controls the amount of envelope feedback for B-Ch

A & B Channels
Direct Volume: Allows you to blend dry signal against effected sound.

Internal DIP Switches
4-Pole DIP Switch: Envelope frequencies
(for both A and B channels)
2-Pole DIP Switches: Input pad settings
(works to match to your pickups)


This my friends is by far one of the most versatile envelope filter boxes I have ever plugged into and played. On this pedal you will find two identical envelope filter channels both rocking Sensitivity, Decay, Resonance, and Volume controls. In the middle the pedal sports an Direct Volume control which blends the pedal's overall effected signal into your root tone. The amount of flexibility that the Robotalk II possesses with these controls is mind blowing. I have always been a sucker for vintage envelope filters and have always tried to find new and interesting ways to use this effect. The Robotalk II produces warm'n'silky plushy vibes that feed your amp a unique collection of sounds that you will fall in love with. This pedal not only works great vintage tones but can also be used to tool new heights. This second version of the Robotalk is exactly why Xotic Effects has become and continues to be one of my favorite pedal companies.

The first thing I gotta say caught my attention about the new Robotalk was it's super hip super cool look. If you dig retro vibe'd funktified goodness - This is your thing. The next thing that caught my eye and ear was the very keen layout of controls and sounds those controls were capable of. To see exactly what this pedal could and would do I first ran it through a sparkling clean Fender Twin Reverb. I set most everything on the amp at noon and held off on the reverb output. I left the pedal in the setting it was in, strummed out some licks, and got some killer killer sounding auto-wah sounds. My hand was able to control the pedal's effect smoothly which let me project the exact vibe I wanted. A big big plus. Next I began dialing in the Robotalk 2's left channel (A) to a subtle, traditionally vintage voiced envelope filter sound. Then low and behold started flowing all of my favorite James Brown and Curtis Mayfield licks. The pedal's effect rose and fell beautifully, it was smooth and warm, and it was pleasing to the ear. For those of you who have played lots of envelope filters before you know they can be a bit on the sharp side. The Robotalk 2 is not of this breed. Instead this baby hands you a sound that works with your guitar's root tone and helps you mold what you're after. Slowly rolling in the sensitivity control back and fourth I noticed how sweet and how large the overall range was. I was able to take this pedal from extremely subtle pulsing sounds to all-out loud buck wild quaking madness. In every setting you dial this baby in it responds to your pick attack with precision and great tone. Manipulating this pedal to move how, when, and where I wanted it to go was easy as cake. A quick flick of the resonance and sensitivity and you got yourself a spicier much more aggressive sound. Then blending in overdrive signals with this baby is straight up rock and roll! I was really impressed at how well the Robotalk II worked with overdrive signals, from light grit to fuzzy sweetness. With a light smooth envelope filter setting and light crunchy drive, you can get some killer signature blues tones. Add a little more grit and you've got yourself a great classic or hard rock sound. Boost that signal and you're in super wild lead tone territory. Then taking it to the extreme like blending the pedal with some fuzz... Oh mama! The way this thing's effect bends, turns, screeches, and squirms when played through high fuzz is unbelievable. You get these crazy robotic sound effects that turn your guitar into a voice of it's own. One of the sweetest uses I found for this baby was definitely setting two envelope filter sounds and switching back and fourth from them. Having this ability in one pedal made for saving on pedalboard space and gave me a broader range of use live and in the studio. The real magic though starts when you begin to blend the two channels together. In one channel I had a warm vintage voiced envelope filter effect that gave some color to my root tone and made things overall interesting. The next channel I set a bit crazier. I set it with much more sensitivity and let it ring and stand out harder. Live I was able to go from one to the other for different tunes and what not. Then there was the third channel, the blending of both channels. This is where the Robotalk II separates itself from many other pedals of it's kind. Here the sky is the limit! If you've never heard what two envelope filters crashing into one another sound like you must grab one of these pedals. You can get from warping spaced out effects to swishing swirling unpredictable weirdness. The ability of using both channels independently or together really makes this a special and one-of-a-kind stompbox. Overall you'll end up with a world of great quality sound effects that work not only with guitar but also sound awesome through bass, keys, vocals, samples, etc... The Robotalk 2 has definitely been one of the most unique stompboxes to come through Analog War Cry. Get out there and try one!


For more info on Xotic just click the direct link either on the sidebar or our header down below. You can also go to or for more Xotic and other killer gear. We will be steadily putting more of these awesome pedals through their paces so make sure to keep them eyes peeled. See ya soon!



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