Monday, October 25, 2010

Drifting Through the Highway to Hell

RRPG Mini Looper
True Bypass Switcher

  • Size: 1 3/4" x 3 7/8" x 2 3/8"
  • Single Channel Swictcher
  • Heavy Duty Enclosure
  • Built w/ Top Notch Parts & Components
  • Custom LED Color Options
  • Standard 9V (-) Adapter Jack
  • Hand Built in Canada

In today's world of stompbox play it is not uncommon to see players using switchers of one sort or another. These helpful and genius little boxes have become the secret weapons for many of today's players, from the bedroom jammer to the certified pro. With today's breed of player becoming more and more tone conscience, tools like these are a necessity. So where is it one turns when on the hunt for a solid top quality switcher?... One place many players are turning to is Road Rage Pro Gear, and for good reason too. RRPG's rep for kicking out great quality versatile switchers is one that has really begun to make some noise. This little Canadian outfit offers one of the widest variety of switchers you will ever come across. On the Road Rage website you will find everything from single all the way up to 12 channel loopers, different types of signal/feedback/and tap-tempo switchers, boosters and buffers, small footprint volume pedals, DIY kits, great quality enclosures, awesome pedalboards, and much much more. Each one of RRPG's products is built by hand one at a time and constructed from the finest parts and components. Road Rage Pro Gear comes to us courtesy of Jeff Wesseling. Along with his partner Rosa, Jeff has made it his mission to deliver unto the music playing community some of the best quality tone saving tools money can buy. These switchers are great for maintaining one's root tone and for pulling the best sound from your pickups, amps, and guitars. Once you have a go at one of these switchers you will see just how impressive and attractive they really are. I myself was quite blown away by the beauty of the RRPG Mini and found it to be one of the most useful little gadgets I have ever come across. 

Whenever assembling, designing, or putting together together one's precious beloved pedalboard, the name of the game is always to try and save on as much space as possible. This is where a pedal like the RRPG Mini true bypass switcher comes in very very handy. Being no longer than a finger and no wider than two, this little box is the perfect choice for any crowded pedal gathering. And don't let it's size fool you, this box is capable of a lot more than most pedals. Pay attention.

I began my Road Rage Mini experiment by using it as a simple true bypass looper. Because of the pedal's size I was able to mount it onto my board without moving or swapping out any of my pedals. My first mission was to plug it into some of my buffered overdrivers, boosters, distortions, and fuzz boxes. I have some great sounding old and new dirt boxes that I just knew would benefit from a true bypass operation. Just like I expected the pedal helped with both tone sucking and overall sound issues. The Mini was able to show me th differences between true bypass and the opposite, which helped choose just where and with what pedals to us it with. When using a pedal like this you won't necessarily hear from insanely crazy change in your sound, it's something you feel and can notice in the response of your playing. Through the Mini I was able to achieve a much more transparent and clearer tone, which made everything work smoother and got me closer to the naked amp feel. The RRPG Mini also came in handy for use with switchless stompboxes. An example of this was plugging my switchless treble boosters in with the RRPG Mini. This let me kick the treble boosted signal in & out as I pleased just like any other pedal. This sounded and worked great for solos, choruses, and build-ups. Digital delays are another area where a true bypass switcher can come in handy. Not all digital delay stompboxes are of studio quality or built with the finest components. This can have a dramatic affect o your sound which you will most def pay for in the end. This little pedal here fixes this problem by making those cheapo part delays into true bypass fine machines. Another great use I found for this pedal was using it as a preset switch, which the possibilities can be endless for. For this all you simply need to do is grab those two or three favorite pedals that you like to use together, plug them in line and then in and out of the switchers send and returns, and that's it! You're good to go with a killer, simple, favorite preset switch you can call in any time you'd like. I did this with a fuzz and reverb pedal to help me get those haunting spaced out tripped out fuzz sounds. This is a sound I like to use whenever layering or adding accents to a song. I actually used the Mini on a few gigs which was of huge help. The last switcher I had didn't fit on my board and sat on the floor. Here I did not have this problem. Another really cool trick I was shown some time ago, is plugging in a half cocked wah and throwing in a crunchy/gritty overdrive pedal.  This creates one of the wildest most unique tones you will ever hear, and it is simple to do. How about those of you that like play your lead tones with delay? Again, not a problem with this little beast. Like I said, the possibilities are endless. Next, I was able to use the Mini as a silent true bypass tuner mute. This works great for any tuner you need or like to leave on, or any of thos egreat quality non-switch tuners. But one of the coolest uses I found for this little monster was using it as an A/B amp or instrument switcher. This is another trick I learned from a buddy of mine that I dig using when playing big enough venues. You can literally feed one signal into your favorite clean amp, and another to your favorite dirty amp. You can also patch in whichever pedals you like to use with each amp or plug into all your pedals first to use them with both amps. With the Mini you can switch from clean amp to dirty amp, all without some complex or expensive system. With instruments maybe there's an acoustic and electric you gig with, or a keyboard and guitar you gig with. Plug them both in and switch back and fourth with no problem. In the end this makes for a much more powerful tool that it may seem to be. For those of you familiar with the world of true bypass switchers and loopers you already know how they can benefit you. For those of you who haven't had the chance to jump into this world, this is a perfect place to start. The Road Rage Pro Gear Mini is tiny and packs on hell of a punch! 


For more info on Road Rage Pro Gear go to or lick any of the RRPG banners on our site. We will try to bring you some more from our Canadian friends as soon as possible so hang tight and let the bed bugs bite. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

E to the M to the G

When I was first introduced to the guitar as a small wild child, there was only one thing I wanted to do.... and that was rock as loud as humanly possible. For me it was all about ass kicking, greatly defined, crisp distortion being pushed out of my midnight purple Charvel guitar. Boy did that guitar see some insane volumes. Then one day comes my buddy with this beastly looking V shaped Jackson equipped with EMG active pickups. I had never seen pickups of this nature and was instantly drawn in by their sleek and simple look. Next I would hear what these pickups were capable of, and from that day fourth it was all about those three lovely letters whenever wanting to take it full force... E-M-G. As the years went by my style of playing and taste in music would grow. I began falling in love with the roots of rock & roll, jazz, and later folk and country music. This led me to explore many different types of ceramic and alnico designed pickups. Fast forward a good 20 years later and I still reach for my EMG active pickup equipped guitar for heavy sessions, and alnico or ceramic magnet pickup guitars for mellower types of rock and other music. Recently I discovered EMG was building a wide variety of great quality, superbly priced, collection of passive pickups. At first I thought, "Ok, passive pickups. Cool, I'll try them". The results?.... read on.

SRO Series
OC-1 Neck/Bridge

Pickup Specs                            Neck    Bridge
Inductance:                                3.80       8.15
DC Resistance (kOhm)                7.35      16.90
Resonant Frequency (KHz) (2)     1.96       1.35
Resonant Frequency (KHz) (3)     3.18       1.95
Z @ Resonance (kOhm) (2)        46.70     69.00

Magnet Type: Alnico 5 w/Steel Pole Pieces
Wired In Series
Loaded w/500k Vol & Tone with a 20' Cable
Loaded w/1MegOhm / 47 pf
EMG-SRO Coil Wiring


Installing the OC-1 set was an absolute walk in the park. With the neatly arranged wiring system these pickups come with and the wiring diagrams that are provided, you can set them up for just about any sound. The SRO 5-Wire Cable also makes it easy to swap in & out of other SRO HZ Series pickups without having to re-solder anything. This gives you instant access to different tones and pickup characteristics on the fly. The OC-1 pickups themselves are built beautifully, and look and feel great. For the price asked you can't go wrong. I was actually quite impressed with the overall quality and look. As a guitar choice for the OC-1's we went with my buddy's  Les Paul Studio, which I thought would be the perfect choice. Now, I have owned many and played many different active EMG pickups, and in fact still own that EMG 81 equipped guitar from my youth. The one thing that has always stuck with me about the EMG sound is the clarity and projection that is sucked up from the pickups and pushed out through an amp. This would indeed be the first thing I would notice from the OC-1's.

I began playing the pickups through a reissue 1959 Super Lead and 4x12 cabinet. Starting with just the guitar'n'pickups, a proper cable, and the amp set sweetly clean. I did try the OC-1's through a handful of other amps which all sounded great, but the Super Lead was by far my favorite. I began strumming down on some open chords, barre chords, and blues licks and riffs, and just like any nice set of passive buckers I was able to hear plenty of warmth and lots of boomy bottom-end. With every run of the frets the pickups would push out plenty of sweet sweet mojo. Even better was the feel these baby's kicked out. Standing in front of my amp I could feel the pickup push out plenty of thump and growl. The sound would hit my back with powerful dose of vibrating sonic therapy. Along with a great sounding collection of booming lows the OC-1's also kicked out plenty of snap and bite, which made the treble and midrange frequencies sound spectacular. This really helped with painting the amp's clean tone character and feel. In the neck position the OC-1 was able to provide me with these beautifully balanced vintage/modern tones that were easy to shape and manipulate. With just a flip of the guitar's tone knob I was easily able to round out or soften the overall tone to my liking. This would later help me with getting kickass sounding woman tone. The guitar's volume control also worked quite nicely for finding interesting sounding tones. In the bridge position the pickup produced lots of sparkle and even more clarity. I was able to get more aggression from this pickup which made perfect for riffing and lead tones.The bridge pickup also made it easy to cut through any mix, and it did it without sounding harsh or tinny. This worked great for stacking up more than one guitar in live and recording situations. Next I slowly began to introduce a bit of the amp's natural overdrive, beginning with a very mild semi-clean tone. I did this by just cranking the amp's volume to get an idea of how the pickups would respond to natural overdrive. In both pickup positions the clarity and clean tone was still present, only now with a thin layer of glowing tube grit. The leftover clean tones blended with the now mild gritty undertones, made for some awesome note articulation. If ever you've taken your humbucker equipped guitar and stacked on a bit of EQ, whether it be a pedal, plug-in, or rack effect, you know the difference it can make. This was the vibe that I first got from these pickups, only on a much more subtle level. Taking the amp to a medium overdrive level I began to really hear what these pickups were capable of. Clean tones sounded awesome through these pickups, but the real magic began once a nice amount dirt was dialed in. The pickups dished out everything from blues and classic rock, to hard rock and heavy rock. With the amp now dialed in slightly hotter, I broke out a TS-808 style overdrive pedal and simple clean booster. I set the pedal with it's volume and tone knobs matched to the amp's gain st to hit the amp's signal pret-ty hard, and in neck pickup position. The pickups adapted beautifully to the OD pedal and together with the amp kicked out more grit, grime, and aggression. Every chord I pushed out through overdrive signal stayed smooth and intact. Just like in lower gain settings, in higher gain settings I also noticed great string separation. This created stunningly powerful rhythm tones that worked great with all types of music. The overall sound had a classic rock type feel only with a bit more midrange honk and definition. Getting a scorching blaring lead here was very very easy. All I had to do was incorporate the clean booster and I was home free. In fact, here I was able to switch in and out of semi-cleans, gritty rhythms, crunchy distortion, and rockin' leads. All possible thanks to the guitar's tone and volume knobs. In the neck pickup position the pickups and pedal created more of a modern tone. The OC-1's also responded quite nicely to the clean booster and sounded great with a little bit of analog delay. Overall the pickups did a great job. They were able to deliver different variations of both modern and vintage tones, they sounded great through both high and ow watt amps, and played well with many different stompboxes. For the price the OC-1's are a steal! Anyone looking for that crisp and clear EMG sound but wanting to keep it passive would do themselves proper by grabbing a set of these. 


For more info on EMG Pickups go to or click any of the EMG logos on our site. Make sure to also check out EMG TV on the website for killer demos and artist interviews, and cool performances. Stay tuned for more EMG pickup features here on AWC coming very soon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

News & Updates


Brent Mason
Rocking out to EWS and XOTIC

Brent Mason's interview video & live video clips for "The PLAYERS" have been uploaded into Reality Web Video section. For more info and more vids go to the link below. Enjoy the first video here.

More Videos Here:



T-Rex has launched an Alter Bridge competition where you can win a T-Rex Mudhoney signed by Myles Kennedy, the new Alter Bridge CD, plus a concert ticket for the Alter Bridge concert in Copenhagen. To Enter the competition all you have to do is upload a picture of your pedalboard and that's that. T-rex would love to see which of their pedals you all are using and would love to hook you up with some great prizes, so make sure and enter.

Go to this link for more info and your chance to win.

T-Rex has three of each prize to give away. 3 Tix, 3 Pedals, and 3 CD's.

The Competition will end the 28th of October




Our good friend's at Godlyke are extremely excited to announce the release of the new TWA Triskelion. Only debuting this past winter NAMM, this pedal has already begun to get an overwhelmingly positive response, a pedal which which many of us stompbox junkies have been dying to see. Godlyke has just announced that the Triskelion will be shipping by mid-November, so get ready and get in line so you don't miss out.

Click here to learn more about this amazing pedal and to see/hear an in-depth demonstration of what it can do...


" Distortion pedal ever made."

Blues/Jazz legend Scott Henderson is known as much for his unique playing style as he is for his stellar guitar tone. Scott recently "came clean" about one of the secret weapons in his tone arsenal, the Maxon SD-9 Sonic Distortion



Godlyke has combined their favorite holiday, favorite musical genre, and their favorite new pedal to bring you the Godlyke "Heavy Halloween" giveaway! This your shot at winning some of the most stunning offers that Godlyke has to offer. Enter here for the chance to win one of these three scary-great prizes.

Grand Prize: TWA Triskelion Harmonic Energizer

Second Prize: Winner's choice of ONE of the following pedals: Emma PY-1 Pisdiyauwot Metal Distortion, Emma RF-2 Reezafratzitz II Overdrive/Distortion, Maxon SM-9 Pro + Super Metal, Maxon OD808 Overdrive, Maxon SD-9 Sonic Distortion, Maxon ST-9 Pro+ Super Tube, Guyatone HDm5 Hot Drive, or Hao RD-1 Rust Drive.

Runner-up Prize: Godlyke Trick or Treat Goodie Bag (this will be a surprise to the runner up

Contest runs until November 15

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oct Monthly Pick / Strymon

What is it one thinks of when starting a new stompbox company? I'm sure quality and great sound are probably first on their list. Then next probably comes cool looks and innovation. With versatility, user friendliness, compact design, and a touch of vintage mojo never hurts. No? Is this not what most cats think about when building a new gear company? Well Strymon sure and the hell does. I will tell you - If there is one pedal company I have seen hit the market in the last couple years that has impressed me to the fullest it is these guys. My first encounter with a Strymon pedal gave me an endorphin rush that literally left me floored, satisfied, and wanting more. At first I could not figure out for the life of me how these cats had packed so much into such a standard sized box. It is quite clear that whoever the hell is in charge over at Strymon has definitely done their homework. And as the Strymon line continues and grows, it is quite clear that these guys are also writing the book for new and exciting ways to use effects.


  • Hand crafted dBucket algorithm for highly accurate reproduction of every stage of an analog bucket brigade chip
  • Super low noise, high performance A/D and D/A converters w/ 110dB signal to noise
  • High performance DSP stuffed into a compact form factor
  • 3 modulation types (chorus, muti-mode chorus, vibrato)
  • 3 dynamic modes (normal, ramp, envelope)
  • Controllable ramp speed | envelope sensitivity
  • Global tone control for the overall color of your modulation
  • Mix control for dialing in various modulation intensities
  • TRUE BYPASS (electromechanical relay switching)
  • Stereo input and output
  • Favorite footswitch for saving your favorite setting
  • Powered with a standard 9V center negative DC supply. Compatible with all major DC supply brands. Current consumption 200mA – (250mA recommended supply)
  • Premium analog front end and output section
  • No-nonsense user interface
  • Strong and lightweight blue anodized aluminum chassis
  • Crafted with love in the USA


At first glance I really thought this pedal was gonna kick my ass, leave me confused, and in a state of irritation. But after a couple minutes of turning knobs and flipping switches I learned this would not be the case. This along with the stunning quality in sound make this pedal on of the most attractive chorus/vibrato pedals I have ever laid hands on. The same day the pedal landed in our little studio I was able to use it in a gig later that night. Never had it been so easy for me to get the chorusing and vibrato effects that I wanted from a pedal. As a Monthly Pick I couldn't be prouder to have this pedal as one of the features. On board the face of the Ola you will find just about everything you'll ever need to get chorusing and vibrato effects from just about every era. Upon further experimentation I also discovered the Ola was capable of sounds all it's own, classifying it in a world all it's own. The pedal's layout consists of Speed, Mix, Depth, Tone, and Ramp/Env knobs. A Type switch that lets you choose between Chorus/Multi/or Vibrato modes, and a Mode switch that lets you choose between Normal/Envelope/or Ramp modes. There are also two footswitches, with one controlling the bypass and ramping, and the other there for you to switch in & out a favorite saved preset. On the back on the pedal you will find duel In's and Out's, giving you true stereo use for the ultimate in chorusing and vibrato effects. The magic that this pedal is able to wield with these controls is mind blowing! Through and through the Ola kicks out nothing but pro level sound effects. I was able to blend this pedal with tons of other effects, play it through many different of guitars, and able to stack it up with every amp I threw at it. Strymon has meticulously and immaculately gone over this pedal's design........... and it shows.

I guess the first sound that impressed me from this box was the tasty and flavorful vintage Uni-Vibe sound that I was able to dial in. And not only was I able to pull killer Uni-Vibe tones from this pedal, I was also able to control the effect's speed just like the original. This is all possible thanks to the Ola's ramping option. For this sound I found a blaring Marshall Super Lead tone was the perfect companion. It made for a spectacular canvas for which to paint on with the Ola's dreamy vintage-like sound. To get this classic vibe sound I simply set the speed to where I wanted it to max out at, rolled the Mix/Depth/and Tone just behind noon, the Type to vibrato, and Mode to ramp. Then with the Ramp Speed knob I set how quickly or slowly I wanted to effect to ramp up. To get the effect to ramp up like a Uni-Vibe all you do hold down the Bypass footswitch and you're in! Once engaged the Ola in no way shape or form did it mess or warp my root tone into something of it's own. Instead it accented it and brought it to life with a round and fluffy feel. It's tuff to explain exactly what this pedal does for your tone, it's something you feel more than hear. Which of course is the best type of effect in my opinion. It is like a tone facelift! It gives your sound these subtle and luscious curves that make you feel like your swimming in rock'n'roll heaven. The ramping effect of this pedal really makes this a special and unique modern stompbox. I could dial in as wild or laid back an effect as I wanted and the pedal's ramping feature would work it nicely each time. It also sounded great with both little or a lot of grit. To get the Ola's effect to react more aggressively I rolled in a bit more of the Mix and Depth. This let the pedal's sound swim in & out of my guitar's tone with a more dramatic effect. For fuzz boxes this is perfect! The guitar I was using at this time was my single Lollar P90 equipped Junior copy. The P90's aggressive and gritty rich tone blended perfectly with the Ola's projection. Then just for kicks I plugged in my Strat with Chevalier Hendrix tribute pickups (the 1967 pickups). The combo of the Ola, Super Lead, and Chevalier 1967 pickups got me the closest to a proper Hendrix vibrato dirty tone that I have ever dialed in. It was like finding one of those holy grail tones that one comes across when blending a certain collection of products together. This led me to use the Chevalier equipped Strat for a lot of the demoing I did with this pedal. Next I experimented with more dreamy clean tone'd chorusing sounds. For this we broke out two different amps - First a Twin Reverb, and then my modified Hot Rod Deville. I wanted to see how the pedal would react to both a vintage and modern Fender clean tone. I switched from the ramping effect and went into Normal mode, and switched to Chorus. The first setting I worked with was simple, with every control at noon. I started with some big'n'rich chords, picking out each string to make the effect bounce a little smoother. Again the pedal blew my mind and took me directly into space. Some chorus pedals not matter where you set them, whether it be a mellow or harsh chorus effect, just sound too cartoonish and rubbery. This can make your tone sound awful and can ruin even the best of your chops. With this pedal you won't have that problem. Like I mentioned earlier, there is this special rich and forgiving tone that pumps through each effect you dial in that makes everything you play sound fantastic. Something else that also sounded fantastic was stacking on a bit of delay, both analog and digital. I was able to get these amazing tape delay effects, Memory Man sounds, and some completely original out of this world sound effects. To cover more of the modern side of things I used the Multi function with both the Ramp and Normal modes. This produced crisper much more complex chorusing tones that stayed intact at all levels. This setting worked great for controlling the warping and pitch shifting that happens from high depth settings. Here I was able to get these killer universal chorusing sounds by dialing in the speed and depth just passed noon, tone slightly warm, and mix at about 2'o'clock. Blending this in with a lead tone brought every note I played to life and gave the guitar a special vibe that just made me want to play it. Then was the Envelope mode, where the Ramp/Env knob comes back into play. Here the Ola lets you dial in these awesome sounding chorusing effects that you can control with the dynamics of your playing! The possibilities are endless. For the riffing monster this is the perfect tool because of how it adapts to your every move. Lay back and listen as the chorus sits right behind your tone. Then start to kick things in and watch as the pedal becomes more aggressive. It is absolutely beautiful! And still it gets better. Having true stereo as an option on this puppy really gets things cookin'. If you've never heard what a chorus or vibe effect sounds like through a stereo setup it is time you wake up and smell the stompbox. With the Ola pedal, stereo use is even cooler because of all the options and sound quality that it owns. And in between all of these fantastic sounds that I dialed in lives a hundred more possibilities. It don't matter if you're looking for CE-1 or CE-2 soudns, Uni-Vibe tones, experimental, or studio quality chorusing effects. This monkey has them all. So go out, grab one, and listen as every piece of equipment you stack this pedal up with becomes the perfect candidate for the Ola's beautiful collection of colors.


For more info on Strymon go to To read up on some info on Strymon's dBucket technology click the highlighted section on the features section. Make sure to stay tuned for more from this one of a kind company. We will sure as hell work our butts off to bring you more very soon. Dig it!!!

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!



Friday, October 8, 2010

Aqua Puss

The Aqua Puss delay. A pedal that sooooo many cats have been dying to see back on the front lines of rock & roll. And for good reason too. Go out and try to find yourself an original Aqua Puss and you'll quickly learn the task is near impossible to conquer. I myself only through absolute luck got to experience the magic of the original. I can remember how impressed I was by the pedal's overall tone and simplicity. So when I first heard Way Huge was gonna be rockin' this baby again I became weak in the knees and giddy like a little school girl. But then again I guess Way Huge pedals just do that to people... at least I hope they do. I will tell you from experience that the Aqua Puss mkII definitely does justice to it's original brother. But then again, with gadget giants such as Tripps and Dunlop teaming up together - What else could we expect but the best, right? I am yet to see a failure from this duo and highly doubt one will ever see light. Get out there and get your hands on the new Way Huge collection. Your tone will thank you for it.


Aqua Puss MkII
Analog Delay

  • Delay: Deliciousness from 20ms to 300ms
  • Feedback: Sets Echo Repeats
  • Blend: Dry to Delayed
  • Toggle Switch: On/Off
  • LED: Bright Enough for Anything
  • Power: 9V Battery or Standard 9VDC Adapter

If ever there was an effect that has been universally excepted and loved it is the delay pedal. Delay pedals no matter what quality or kind can always be a blast to play with, there is noooo denying that. So imagine what the top dogs are capable of, mmm mmm. Well, take a delay with grade A tone, add some mystery, a bit of legacy, and wallah! You have yourself the unmistakable and magical Aqua Puss. There just is no replacing the soothing psychedelia of a killer sounding echo box like the Aqua Puss. So far Way Huge has been right on the money with every single box they have reissued, and this baby is no different. At the price and quality that this new reissue comes in at it really can't be beat. It maintains the same tonal characteristics as the original and sports the same user friendly layout. With only Delay, Feedback, and Blend controls, you'll find yourself easily moving in and out of just about any delay sound you can imagine. I was able to pull extremely accurate vintage delay sounds from this pedal, and able to work it into just about every style of music and amp tone I could muster. I found the quality of the pedal's repeats to be top notch, it's look super hip, and it's overall build to be immaculately tasty. Dunlop and George Tripps really have something special going here and I hope there is no stop to it anytime soon.

With the Aqua Puss (like all the rest of the Way Huge pedals) I was able to just plug in and just go. The pedal's tone and layout really make finding the delay sound you're after a cinch. You'll notice right away how the analog delay sound that this baby seeps is just designed to adapt itself to any signal you stack it up with. This makes it a fantastic all around echo box choice for any type of player or producer. I began my little Aqua Puss experiment with a simple little amp... a Deluxe Reverb. The guitar was my hot-rodded Tele, and cable of choice the mighty Colassal Sweet Fat. I began with the amp set squeaky clean, normal channel, with mucho bass and mucho treble. What a gorgeous sound it was too. I then set the Aqua Puss to a short/light slapback delay and let things rip. Smacking down on some of my favorite country licks the pedal created a quick jabbing delay that beautifully mirrored my picking and playing. This setting also created a spectacular sounding reverb effect that made things sound quite interesting. With the Aqua Puss engaged and me riffing up and down the neck, I was taken into some of my favorite classic country records. Each note I played jumped into the next with great detail, lots of warmth, and an overall quality in sound that was fantazmic to my ears. One thing I must say is - Way Huge/Dunlop really hit a homer in finding a sweet balance between bright and warm when designing this pedal. This is probably what makes this version so close to the original. You can dig in or lay off and hear the pedal's repeats with great clarity and sweet articulation. Exactly what makes analog pedals such champions. I now Lengthened the delay time just a bit to help me create a bit more space. I ended up getting an even sweeter sounding reverb effect, something between a traditional spring and plate type verb. It gave me a sound all it's own that handed me all the benefits of verb but without the emptiness and loss in volume. This sound works beautifully for those looking to get more from their tone or anyone who's not too big a fan of reverb. Rolling up the repeats with the delay time set quick I was able to get this killer sounding trailing echo effect that swirled and bounced into itself creating absolute magic. Again my attention went straight to the pedal's overall tone and how well it worked no matter how many repeats were dialed in. Next I moved the delay to about 10'o'clock and dialed in a bit more feedback and blend. Here I found the delays worked great for chugging away at chord work and riffs. Here the delays jumped out with great definition, then smoothly tucked back to let the playing do it's thing. Only at the tail end of my riffs would I hear what the delay was doing, sort of like a subtle ducking effect. For those of you who like to leave your pedal on at all time this makes for perfect choice. Leaving the feedback as is, I then proceeded to crank the delay to full blast. Here I got the unmistakable U2 Edge sound that so many cats dig to play and copy. Only I noticed the Aqua Puss's sound to be much more user friendly and not as sharp. More like something you'd hear on a classic Floyd album. The movement of the trails is what really had me stuck on this pedal and what had me spaced out and playing tripped out runs for hours. The Aqua Puss produced this swimmy and organic vibe that flowed out to make it really damn unique and special. I could incorporate a hint of drive, a lot of drive, or a bunch of distortion and get killer results each time. With a nice amount of dirt the amp and pedal combined to give me a big'n'beefy rock tone that stacked up really nicely with other guitars. These medium delay settings also worked really good with keyboards and even vocals. Taking the pedal to noon on each control and cranking the Deluxe to full blast got me what ended up being one of the baddest sounding classic rock tones I'd ever heard. Something about the actual tone in the Aqua Puss made the amp's tone much more desirable. This is something that units like the Echoplex were known for doing. The combination of the amp and pedal created the perfect root tone on which to play whatever style I pleased. Even in longest delay setting the Aqua Puss's sound was still usable as an all around sound. The warmth and subtle nature of the pedal's delays give it legs for days. I was then itching to play this pedal through a proper heavy rock tone and so broke out the Super Lead. Along with this I also took out one of my favorite fuzz boxes which broke out an enormous sound! Taking the Marshall into ear splicing levels, then setting the pedal to a medium length delay created the true definition of Rock and Roll. Then by stomping on the fuzz box I was able to go even further. This provided me with a great lead tone which flew and swirled through the air like magic. I could simply reach down and manipulate the pedal's knobs to morph and oscillate into space aged madness. And just as easily I was able to get back to my root tone. I tell you - As a no frills delay box this is it baby. With the Aqua Puss set to quick short echoes I was able to get everything from blues and country, to jazz and funk. In medium settings I was able to hit every era of rock and roll period! And at long delay setting able to beam into the psychedelic and tripped out scene. A box this simple should bot be allowed to do so much. I am really curious to see what else Way Huge releases and if Tripps ends up doing some completely new designs? Hint hint.


You can check out more info on Way Huge pedals at or click the link in our sidebar. You can also check out some awesome demo videos on our Youtube search engine at the bottom of the site, just click Way Huge pedals and you're good to go. Be on the look out for our venture into the Dunlop and MXR realm coming at you very very soon.




Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Little, Orange, Awesome!

Bjorn Juhl. What else can I say that hasn't already been said about this man? It is no secret that this is one extremely talented cat when it comes to the world of tone tools. Just look at Bjorn's road of work and it will speak for itself. It is as if this man was born for this, programmed to understand the needs and wants of players, and gifted with the skills to deliver no frills gadgets. To date there hasn't been one Mad Professor stompbox that hasn't impressed me in one way or another. And it only gets better once you start dabbling into the Mad Professor amps. So what is it that people love so much about this brother's work? Why is it that the Mad Professor never misses no matter what type of effect is designed? Of course the simplicity and candy-like look to each pedal is downright attractive, but there's more. I'll tell you what instantly drew me in - It was the sound and response you get from these pedals. The user friendliness designs and endless usable tones that seep from each box. This along with top notch components and a stunning build makes Mad Professor pedals some of the most desirable on the market today. From the guts to the shell these pedals don't disappoint. The first time I had a chance to try a few of these pedals I left the guitar shop flabbergasted. Like a pedal junky overdose.

Mad Professor
Turenki, Finland

Tiny Orange Phaser
Phase Shifter

* Handmade in Finland
* Especially tuned for electric guitar
* Hand matched premium quality components
* Capable of phase shifting to vibe sounds
* True bypass circuit

* Speed: Controls speed of modulation
* Resonance: Sets resonance (tone) of the effect
* Mix: No effect at 12'o'clock, CW and CCW controls depth of two different phase tones


-First Look-
The phaser - It is one of the few effects that I have had a ruff time getting acquainted with, and one of the many effects out there that many have gotten wrong. For one reason or another most phasers I've tried just haven't cut it. Either they've been too intense, too weak, eat my tone, drop my volume, or just all-out sound awful and cartoonish. But this isn't the way of all phasers. Many of our favorite classic rock records had great sounding phase tones. You know the ones I mean. Those lush, silky smooth sounding swirling phasers that give character to a lick, riff, or chord. For me it is this type of phaser that gets my creativity bug jumping, and this is exactly what the Tiny Orange Phaser was able to do for me. If I were to pin-point this phaser's sound I'd say it lives somewhere between the mighty vintage and crisp'n'clear modern. One of the reasons for the Tiny Orange's hit the spot sound is it's specially tuned to work with guitar frequencies. The hand matched parts, premium quality components, true bypass circuit, and intelligent control layout make this one of the top phasers out there today.

-Let's Play-
Whenever I demo any phaser I always like to start out by playing it through the cleanest tone possible. This let's me hear every swirl, whirl, and curl, and gives me a better idea of how to work it into my dirty tones. I ended up testing the Tiny Orange Phaser through a bunch of different amps and guitars, and they all sounded good, but there were a few that stood out from the rest. One of these setups being my AC15 clone and semi-hollow body Hagstrom. Through this duo I was able to dial in the perfect balance between sparkling highs and woody lows. It also made for a nice painting canvas on which the phaser was able to show it's fine work. I began with the speed knob rolled back to about 9'o'clock, mix just behind noon, and resonance at noon. This proved to be a perfect starting point for getting an idea of what the phaser was capable of. The pedal dished out a rich'n'lush tone that gave everything I played more life, character, and substance. The pedal's sound sat beautifully just behind my clean tone and peeked out just enough to make things sound interesting. Perfect for anyone looking to add a little something extra to their sound. Then came a little extra surprise that kind of caught me off guard. With a bit more of the pedal's resonance and a bump in speed I was able to get this stellar sounding vibe effect, something I've noticed vintage phasers are capable of. These vibe sounds always end up being unique and flavorful, which can be of big help to your overall arsenal. Next I took all of the controls straight up to noon and pushed the amp up a little hotter. This got me a subtle crunchy tone mixed with a killer sounding phase tone that ended up working great with all types of music styles. I began riffing around and moving up and down the neck bending and playing double stops. The pedal's sound moved in & out of the amp's grit smoothly and without taking over or ruining the it's feel. With slow chord work the phase shifting was creamy and full of velvety psychedelic goodness. Perfect for that classic Floyd stuff. As I played faster and I began to notice how nicely the phaser shifter accented my moves. This was true of all the dirty tones I dialed in and worked great a bunch of different speeds. From the grittiest to the most overdriven, and fuzziest and to most distorted. The pedal did wonders for me. This got me to the phased out distorted stuff, the stuff we're all used to hearing on our favorite rock records. This meant it was time for a change in amps, and while I was at it a swap in axes. My partner's Super Lead and vintage Charvel made for the perfect rock and roll weapons. I began with the amp hot enough to give me plenty of crunch, harmonics, and sustain. I set the Tiny Orange Phaser with it's speed at noon, mix at 2'o'clock, and resonance at 3-4'o'clock. This made the pedal's effect present but not too present. Just enough to mix and blend in with the amp natural crunch. I began by slamming down some big heavy chords, then some rockin' good riffs. The quality in the pedal's effect was unbelievable! Every little swish and whirl could be heard beautifully. The phaser sat tucked just behind my notes becoming more pronounced as I played harder and stronger. I then bumped up to a lead tone by introducing a booster into the signal and again got more mojo form the Tiny Orange Phaser. The boost in the tone and clarity in the pedal's sound made for an epic overall tone, the classic Eddie phase tone that all of the world's rockers love to play and listen to. The Tiny Orange Phaser did this by producing a human like quality to the sound that attached itself to each note. Even with the heavy rock tone I was still able to feel the warmth of a vintage pedal, only with a modern bite that made it something all it's own. Even at extreme phase settings the pedal was able to keep things usable. My amp's tone was still there 100% with all it's muscle and glory, while the pedal did it's magic on top of it to help it sing and swing. With fuzz mixed into the phase signal the overall tone sounded as if it was floating about on fire. I could hear and feel the Tiny Orange's sound bouncing all around and breathing with life. Rolling down the phaser to a mellow effect was also nice with fuzz and heavy distortion. Perfect for filling in space and double tracking rhythm work. Hands down this phaser is all no frills and all killer tone. The Tiny Orange Phaser doesn't produce wild unusable phase shifting effects like many modern phasers do. Instead it works with you and helps you get to where you're going. The sweep in the speed, mix, and resonance is smooth, and it's range goes beyond most phaser with 3 controls. I never got any unwanted ugliness or unpleasant sounds. I was able to get a sweet balance of clarity, warmth, and sparkle in just about every setting. And last and most important - It did what I wanted a phaser to do. My experience with all of the Mad Professor pedals have been exactly like this, which is what makes these pedals so special. I'm sure most of you by now have had some sort of experience with these boxes. But for those of you who haven't, you are in for a real treat!


For more info on Mad Professor pedals go to or click the Mad Professor logo in our direct links. Remember, these cats also make some stunning amplifiers so make sure to check those out as well. AWC will be looking into more of the MP stompboxes so make sure to keep them eyes peeled.