Have you ever tried to recreate meals that your mother used to make, only to realize that it doesn’t really taste the same without those "secret ingredients" she would use? Musicians are no different from our culinary counterparts. While our instruments and amplifiers may get us close to the sound in our head that we’re looking for, smaller devices may provide that right spice to complete our sonic delights.
Daring Audio offers up one such ingredient with the Edge Activator, a pedal meant to add brightness and harmonic clarity to the low-end palate.
Know Your Knobs
Prior to using the Edge Activator, it is helpful to get familiar with the functions of its knobs and switches. The Pad switch engages a -9 dB cut for active pickups or hotter signals, and its LED doubles as a battery life indicator. The Edge knob determines the frequencies that will be enhanced and works in conjunction with a Gain pot that controls the level of boost to the selected frequencies. For bassists who like a scooped sound, the EQ knob cuts high mids, or boosts those frequencies to add presence. Balancing the output and blending the effect into the signal is achieved through the Volume and Mix controls.
The Full switch allows bassists the option to use either a full- or half-rectified signal, and an LED indicator displays the level of chosen rectification. When the LED is green, the signal is fully rectified, which provides a sharper-sounding edge. For a smoother tone using a half-rectified signal, the LED indicator will display red.
She Blinded Me With Harmonic Excitation
Plugging the true bypass Edge Activator into my signal chain (bass, Edge Activator, Glockenklang Soul head and Quattro 410 cabinet), I was pleased to hear little or no coloration when activating the pedal. The blue LED that indicates operation is super bright, so there was no question that the pedal was engaged.
As its name suggests, the Edge Activator succeeded in adding brightness and presence to my electric basses. Manipulating the Edge and Gain dials gave my P-bass-style Nash bass some extra bite, and provided some modern zing to a ’70s J bass reissue. When soloing the bridge pickup of a 1964 J bass, I was able to get some extra bark by boosting the EQ knob. Bassists who slap a lot will certainly enjoy how the Edge Activator removes the "honk" in some pickups, while it enhances the high frequencies for pleasing pop sounds. Working the Gain control, I found that it provided plenty of high-end boost. A little went a long way and there was no need to dial it past 12 o’clock, the point where some hiss became evident.
Daring Audio has created a very musical pedal that does a nice job enhancing the tone of the electric bass. The Edge Activator could be useful when slapping, or if you’re looking for a hi-fi tone. While its features may not appeal to bassists who prefer old-school sounds, the Edge Activator may be the right spice if you're trying to cook up a different tone with your bass.
you want to brighten your slap sound, or create a modern vibe to your bass tone.
you are satisfied with your onboard bass and amp EQ.