Ever received fan mail? Me neither. But what if your fan mail was from someone who was so into your playing they decided to send you some gear? This week on TPS, Dan & Mick tour through some pedals that have been sent their way for just this reason. The mix is indeed eclectic and diverse, features both big names and boutique builds, yet like any good pedalboard build, the sound is more than the sum of its parts. In addition to new gear on the floor, the episode debuts the new Victory V40 Deluxe, which now includes expertly crafted reverb and tremolo.
Following the inventive sounds of several cat-themed pedals (from CKK, Big Foot, and NRG pedals), Dan & Mick did a play through of three stompboxes that have generated their fair share of buzz in the last year from Seymour Duncan, Digitech, and Wampler.
First impressions matter. When Dan first clicked on the Killing Floor run through the tandem V40 and Hamstead, he exclaimed “The whole place is shaking, it’s awesome!” To which Dan added, “There’s loads of bottom end.”
The Killing Floor is a high frequency gain boost that works well independently as well as when partnered with high gain gear. For the latter use, Dan & Mick noted that the resulting sound was definitely edgy and in your face but could border on “messy,” so be sure to adjust your EQ accordingly so it optimizes the built-in frequency boost of the Killing Floor. Yet when dialed in just right, the pedal had an exceptional capability for enhancing the overdrive of a favorite pedal with great clarity and energy.
We’ve all been there. You’re feeling the need for some feedback, you’re perched in front of you speaker cab, yet you can’t seem to hit that strategic tipping point where your cranked amp, humbuckers, and overdrive pedal give that iconic, cranky scream of rock n’ roll. The moment passes, the feeling’s gone, no feedback. So sad.
The DigiTech FreqOut saves you from this tragic emotional letdown by making it possible to punch in a natural onset of feedback at any volume or gain. In short, that sweet spot that can be tough to find on the fly or elusive in quieter playing environments is always a mere click away on the FreqOut. With controls to set the time of the onset (from immediate to latent), the frequency of the feedback generated, and a nob to select from seven different feedback types, the FreqOut offers up a spectrum of warm, harmonic rings.
As Mick commented, the FreqOut can create eerie sounds that are almost reminiscent of the E-Bow, which could make the pedal a new choice for players and creators of spacey, ambient sounds. Arguably, the FreqOut’s most natural domain, however, is in genres and styles imbibed with more gain and a dose of reverb where the feedback can sing out. Yet it is exactly that context that almost always demands high volume. As Mick demonstrated, even at a volume where you could talk over the amplified guitar, the FreqOut gave the impression and feel of arena-sized feedback. Following a few ringing-riffs with the FreqOut whining away at low volume, Dan noted “I mean, that’s practicing with your wife sleeping next to you!”
Any time a segment starts this way, you know you’re in for a good stompbox demo and description. Dan: “We’ve been talking about this for a long time, having delay and reverb in the same package.” Mick: “Why doesn’t every manufacturer on the planet do a delay and reverb in one pedal? It’s seems like the most obvious thing to do.” Yet, as always, the creations emerging out of Brian Wampler’s shed of mysteries are a blend of forward-thinking and brilliantly simple designs.
The Ethereal comes loaded with tandem reverb and delay sides, which can be tailored to taste with a mix nob and tone control that works on both effects, allowing for a range of airy lightness to tone fit for the dark side. The added bonus of subdivisions on the delay side also means that you're not locked in to a single type of repeat. As Mick noted, this can be quickly dialed in for “really rhythmic, kind of vintage-type [delays].” On the other end of the spectrum, with delay and reverb being the bread and butter of ambient players, the Ethereal is a clear win for its ease-of-use in quickly creating epic soundscapes. As Mick concluded, “for me that sits very nicely between your, you know, [Boss] DD-3…a very simple delay, and something that blows your head off, like a [Strymon] Timeline or a [Boss] DD-500 or something…In terms of delay, [the Ethereal] offers a bunch of inspiration…Add that massive reverb in on top and I can see that being very popular.”
TPS Random Factoid of the Week:
This week’s top editorial aside of the episode included an item drawn deep from Dan’s history as a player: “I used to play in a band in the Hard Rock Cafe in Beijing.” Cue up to 26:12 for the full story.
To check out the sounds of the Killing Floor, FreqOut, and Ethereal for yourself stop in over at Riff City and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates on all product announcements and blog content.
Guitars: Dan: 1963 Closet Classic Fender Telecaster (ca. 2000). Mick: 1962 American Vintage Fender Stratocaster (ca. 2000); Collings 290 DC S.
Amps: Victory V40 Deluxe; Hamstead Artist 20+ RTPedals: Wampler Ethereal Delay/Reverb; NRG Purrer Dual Gain Overdrive; Digitech FreqOut Natural Feedback Creator Pedal; CKK Electronic Q Cat Envelope Filter; Big Foot Engineering Octo Puss; Seymour Duncan Killing Floor Gain Boost Pedal.