Category Archives: Effects Reviews

Mike Fuller Obsesses Over a New Version of the Fulltone OCD Overdrive and Introduces the OCD V2

The Fulltone OCD, otherwise known as the Obsessive Compulsive Drive, is not only one of Mike Fuller’s best-selling overdrive/distortion units of all time, it has also been heralded and awarded accolades by the media since its introduction 12 years ago. Along the way, Mike has continued to make mild tweaks to the circuits and I remember playing through and trying each version myself. Mike continued to be obsessive about his OCD and I enjoyed listening to the results.

Now in 2017, Fulltone has launched what it is being dubbed as the “final” version of the OCD, the OCD V2. The OCD V2 packs a number of new updates and features, so we took a look to compare it to its predecessor, the OCD version 1.7.
Continue reading

Talkboxes and Vocoders Reviewed From BOSS and TC HELICON

Guitar effect signal processing has become more advanced in the past several years as DSP engines have allowed musicians to obtain more specialized, advanced effects that are easy-to-use and available in smaller form factors. Today we’ll look at two effects for guitarists and vocalists that enable classic talkbox effects as well as vocoder synthesizer sounds in convenient small stomp box-sized packages.

These two units from BOSS (the VO-1 Vocoder, $249 street) and TC HELICON (Talkbox Synth, $249.99 street) offer similar overall sonic features, but they each take different approaches with how they are used in a guitarist or vocalist’s system and also in how the talkbox and vocoding effects are processed and applied.
Continue reading

Modified Classic Overdrive/Distortion Units Reborn from Analogman, Keeley, and TWA

Not every overdrive or distortion pedal has a pedigree that begins with the influence from a Tube Screamer. Many of today’s designers look to other classics to either modify or create their own variations. Today we’ll spend time with the Analogman DS-1 Pro Mod with midrange control, Keeley’s Super Phat Mod Full Range Overdrive and the Totally Wycked Audio (TWA) Hot Sake. Each has its own unique story and tone so join us as we explore them further.
Continue reading

The Keeley Dark Side Workstation: Fuzz, Phaser, Univibe, Rotary, Flanger Multi-head tape delay

dark-side-workstation-fuzz-delay-face-keeley-no-trs-1000x1000The new addition to the Keeley line is an homage to the mid-70s David Gilmour sound, resting comfortably in the classic Dark Side to Animals (even The Wall) period of the Pink Floyd guitarist’s work. As with Keeley’s recent Jimi Hendrix-inspired Monterey pedal, the Dark Side sports beautiful workmanship, low noise, a great layout and a cornucopia of features. There’s a lot to cover, so I’ll plug in a stock early 70s Strat (I had to for this pedal!) to a clean Fender-style amp and put the Dark Side into play.
Continue reading

Boss DM-2w Waza Craft Delay vs. Vintage Boss DM-2 and DM-3 Delays

delay-group2The Boss DM-2w Delay from the Waza Craft series is an all-analog and re-imagined pedal that is inspired from the original and highly-coveted Boss DM-2 Delay released in 1981. Unlike the vintage DM-2, the DM-2w Delay adds stereo output and has a custom switch which extends the delay time from the previous limit of 300 ms. to 800 ms.
Continue reading

Boss CE-2w Review: A Legend Reborn

vintnewIn the 1980’s, Boss pedals were regarded as best-in-class when looked at from any number of perspectives.  From the company’s well-deserved reputation for innovation and creativity, to it also having the most robust and virtually bullet proof effects available for touring musicians. Indeed, I was a loyal player of Boss pedals during my teens and proudly used an all-Boss pedal board for years. Let’s not forget that many great professional musicians also used those brightly-colored Boss boxes as well.

Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, Boss developed a number of classic designs, and the CE-2 Chorus is arguably among the best and most famous of pedals Boss had ever produced. It was also the industry’s very first compact chorus unit (the earlier CE-1 was a larger AC-powered effect). The CE-2 was then upgraded in the mid-80s with a new cousin, the CE-3 Chorus, a model which added stereo output capability along with a fancy sparkling blue paint job. But for some reason, the CE-3 just didn’t have the same warmth in its chorus effect that the CE-2 had. In fact, for many years, both the CE-2 and CE-3 were available and sold at the same time and many players still preferred and purchased the CE-2.
Continue reading

Keeley Monterey Rotary Fuzz Vibe Pedal Review

MontereyAlternate1Arriving in a suave black velvet bag, the latest offering from effects Guru Robert Keeley, the Keeley Monterey Rotary Fuzz Vibe pedal strikes with immediate eye appeal adorned with its groovy painted enclosure, very reminiscent of the painted guitar Hendrix sacrificed at the pedal’s namesake festival in 1967. It’s a very appealing aesthetic, very ’67 and still contemporary enough to look great on a modern pedalboard.
Continue reading

Klon Centaur vs. Klon KTR

KlonCentaurKTR2When the original Klon Centaur professional overdrive was released in 1994, it was one of the very first boutique overdrive pedals on the market created for the player interested in fine-tuning their tone. Boutique in every sense of the word and hand built by its creator Bill Finnegan, each Klon Centaur was carefully crafted with premium and carefully selected parts. As other boutique pedal makers developed products throughout the decade and focused on expansion with other models, Finnegan stuck with the Klon Centaur as his sole focus.
Continue reading

Last Boutique Builder Standing: Richard Coibion of Monsterpiece Fuzz

Richard Coibion was hit by the effects building bug back in 2001. With a background Monstervariousand education in electronics engineering and having a steady career in IT, Coibion dabbled in modifying fuzz circuits and tuned them to his liking. He hadn’t ever considered making a career out of building effects however.
Continue reading

Analogman Mods Our Favorite Reissue Tube Screamer: The 35th Anniversary TS-808

In 2014, Ibanez introduced its 35th anniversary TS-808 Tube Screamer overdrive pedal, based on the original it created in 1979. What’s now known as the “narrow box 35th1model” by collectors, has returned in its original smaller footprint, with the rare “flying fingers” graphics along with side-mounted 1/8-inch 9v DC adapter jack just like the original. The lightweight aluminum 35th anniversary TS-808 was also changed under the hood to be closer to the original, and is outfitted with a pair of op amp chips. This is a variation that is the main difference between it and the single op amp version of the 1980 TS-808 Tube Screamer and others including the TS-9 that followed. These later TS-808 and TS-9 models deployed input and output transistor buffers rather than the additional chip used in the original and now reissued narrow box model.
Continue reading