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December 2014
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Lovepedal Echo Baby, Babyface Tremolo, Pickle Vibe, and Amp 50 Pedal Reviews

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Lovepedal Echo Baby, Babyface Tremolo, Pickle Vibe, and Amp 50 Pedal Reviews
Chances are good that, like many guitarists, you suffer from Gear Acquisition Syndrome and lust after every cool new stompbox that hits the market or appears on the forums. A side effect of this disease is a pedalboard that looks like an overflowing bowl of M&Ms, with brightly colored effects spilling out over the edges and onto the floor. If this describes your plight (it certainly does mine), you’ll welcome the new line of ultra-compact effects designed by Lovepedal’s Sean Michael.



Each stompbox comes in a rugged, diecast aluminum case that measures 1 1/2" x 3 5/8" x 1 1/4". Yeah, you read it right— that’s roughly half the size of an MXR Dyna Comp. Of course, this leaves room for only one knob per pedal—along with audio input and output, a 9-volt DC input, one or two LEDs, and the odd mini toggle. Michael has come up with a variety of approaches to the control issue, while continuing to focus on the stellar sound that has helped establish his reputation in the stompbox community.

We checked out four flavors of these little morsels, so read on as we throw down the lowdown. I tested these pedals with a 1965 Stratocaster loaded with DiMarzio Virtual Vintage pickups and a Reverend Reeves Gabrels model played through an Orange Tiny Terror and an Egnater Rebel 30.

Echo Baby

Download Example 1
The bright blue Echo Baby offers up 760ms of delay. Delay effects usually come with a host of controls, including blend, time, feedback, modulation depth and speed, and tap tempo, so how do you make a delay pedal with only one knob? Lovepedal has assigned that knob to control the length of the delay time, adding two trim pots accessible with a small screwdriver through holes on the bottom of the pedal for adjusting the feedback and dry/wet blend.

In addition to delay, the Echo Baby offers modulation. To set the amount of modulation, you hold down the footswitch switch for two seconds and then twist the pedal’s chicken-head knob. Once you’ve set the modulation amount, the pedal automatically adjusts the modulation speed and depth according to the chosen “time” setting—that is, as you decrease the delay time, the modulation speed and depth increase slightly.

Unless I wanted a sick warble at longer delay times, I found a relatively low modulation amount suited my tastes. At this minimal setting, the pitch waver adds a simulated analog-tape flutter to the echoes in both long and short delay settings. If you don’t want modulation, you can shut it off by holding the footswitch for two seconds and turning the knob all the way down.

The Final Mojo
I didn’t plan on getting out my little screwdriver in the middle of a gig to change the delay amount or feedback, so I set the unit for just a couple of repeats occurring well below the original signal. With the delay set on the short side, the Echo Baby created a reverb simulation that added warm depth to my Strat through the reverb-less Tiny Terror. Longer delay settings added a subtle sustaining tail to the notes. For me, this setting offers the maximum bang for the buck. It also allows you to dedicate another more-programmable or fully controllable delay to ambient or heavier slapback effects. However you choose to set up and use the Echo Baby, it will deliver gorgeous sounding, studio-quality delay.
Buy if...
you want a small-footprint delay that offers great analog-style sound.
Skip if...
you need full control at your fingertips.
Rating...


Street $219 - Lovepedal Custom Effects - lovepedal.com


Babyface Tremolo

Download Example 1
Tremolo replaced chorus as my modulator of choice quite a while ago—sorry, maybe it’s my roots-music upbringing or the fact that something about chorus screams “last millennium” to me. The lone knob on this tremolo pedal controls the rate—from extremely slow to near-ring-modulation ping. A mini toggle lets you choose between the opto sound (sine wave) of a blackface amplifier, a sawtooth wave that recalls the tremolo of an Ampeg amp, and a full square wave, which is suitable for stutter and chopper effects.

To access the Babyface’s depth and volume trim pots, you need to remove four screws and the back panel. Though Michael says he is considering drilling a hole to allow quicker depth adjustment, ultimately you’ll probably find yourself sticking to one setting. I chose to set the depth for a subtle tremolo level and pretty much stayed with the sine and sawtooth waves, as the square wave cried out for increased depth settings. However, I could easily see myself cranking the depth and turning the Babyface into a dedicated chopper pedal. Whether you go for subtle, amp-like trem or more extreme sounds, once the pedal is attached to your board, you’re not likely to be adjusting the depth very often. It might make sense to add a second mini-toggle that offered three depth options.

The Final Mojo
Depth adjustments aside, at all settings the Babyface sounded warm, analog, and chock full of low end. The internal level trim ensured that I didn’t suffer from the psycho-acoustic volume drop that happens with some tremolos. If you need just one trem-type modulation, be it vintage opto or modern chop, this could be your pedal.
Buy if...
You’re looking for that one greatsounding volume-modulation effect.
Skip if...
you need a number of different trem tones quickly.
Rating...


Street $139 - Lovepedal Custom Effects - lovepedal.com

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