Premier Guitar

Jam Pedals Custom Multi-Pedal Review

November 12, 2010


Download Example 1
Dyna-ssor
Download Example 2
Delay Llama
Download Example 3
TubeDreamer+ Rhythm
Download Example 4
TubeDreamer+ Lead
Download Example 5
TubeDreamer+ and Dyna-ssor
Download Example 6
TubeDreamer+ and Delay Llama
Clips recorded with a 1991 Ibanez Sabre on bridge humbucker through Marshall JMD:1 on JVM410H preamp model.
Though the company calls Greece home, Jam Pedals has made quite a name for itself well beyond Mediterranean shores. The beautiful, and fantastic sounding work from Jam Pedals has grabbed the attention of players including John Abercrombie and Nels Cline. Some of the most interesting products from Jam’s line are the company’s multi pedals, which are pretty much what they sound like—a player-specified set of Jam pedals in a single box. We reviewed a custom Multi-Pedal, though several more standard versions exist.

Packed For Action
The Multi-Pedal features a compressor, overdrive, and analog delay. It has six jacks laid out on three different sides, and eight knobs and five footswitches on the front panel—none of which are labeled.

Instead, Jam Pedals went for an artful, vintage-gift-wrap finish that incorporates yellowed sheet music and a reproduction of a woman who may have been a ‘50s B-movie queen. It looks cool, to be sure, but makes some obvious sacrifices in terms of functionality. Clearly, Jam has enough faith in the intelligence of their customer to believe that labels, call outs, and standard UI elements are not a requirement to get maximum function out of a device. For the most part, that is probably true. In the case of the compressor, once I learned which knob is for sustain and which is for level it was easy to remember. Since these are custom units, guitar players who tend to party when they play might opt to ask Jam to label their controls.

The Multi-Pedal features (from right to left): a Dyna-ssor compressor inspired in part by the MXR DynaComp and Ross Compressor, a Tube Screamer 808-flavored TubeDreamer+, and the Delay Llama, a BBD style analog delay. The Dyna-ssor and Delay Llama each have a single footswitch, while the TubeDreamer+ has an on/off footswitch and a High Gain switch which adds a healthy dose of high mids and fatness to the overdrive—something original Tube Screamers lacked. The pedal can only be driven by a 9V DC power supply, which is not included.

On the left side of the unit are two output jacks, an A and a B. Top rear has an expression pedal out (for controlling delay time) and Send/Return jacks for an FX Loop. There is also a footswitch about an inch from the Delay Llama's Time knob. This footswitch toggles output between the A and B jacks, making the second out suitable for a tuner or mute. The placement of this switch was an issue for me—when I hit it with my big stupid foot, I often bumped the delay time knob.

Jam Pedals takes great pride in the quality of their devices that extends beyond outward appearances. They use high grade, sometimes hard-to-find components. And as you can imagine, they are not cheap. The unit we tested retails for just over $500 dollars.



Sound Selections
All of the Jam's Multi-Pedal effects sound exceptional.The Dyna-ssor was especially good with a humbucker and a little distortion The manual states it can be used as a typical squash-type compressor or as a sustainer. I preferred it for the latter and it worked exceedingly well with the exception of having a somewhat limited boost capability.

The TubeDreamer+ overdrive is next in line and of the handful of Tube Screamer inspired pedals I have played through, it was the best by far. The effect is controlled by three knobs—Level, Tone, and Gain. As mentioned previously, this stomper also has an additional High Gain footswitch that kicks in some beef and fuzz. This overdrive effect gave me great sustain that faded out well at higher Gain settings, and I found the tone richer overall and more harmonically complex than the pedal that inspired it. Used with a humbucker, it was super-crunchy with plenty of bite. And it is a great effect for players who need a tone that punches through thick mixes. The highs can border on brittle, but could also be tamed by the Tone knob. And there was no discernable addition or subtraction to my guitar’s bottom end.

Used in conjunction with the Dyna-ssor, this pedal gave a really aggressive tuneful overdriven sound that worked great for lead and rhythm. The High Gain switch is a nice addition on the Tube Screamer theme, and it took the pedal into creamy distortion zones beyond what typical overdrive pedals deliver.

The Delay Llama is third in line. The control set is a familiar and easy-to-navigate set of knobs for repeats, time, and level or mix. With a max delay time of 600ms, repeats range from slapback to sci-fi sound regeneration. If you remove the bottom plate of the unit you can access an internal pot that allows you to adjust the max delay repeats—a very useful addition. The Delay Llama uses faithful reproductions of the classic Panasonic MN3205 IC chip. And indeed, the pedal sounded like a vintage BBD-style delay that was mint-in-the-box and not beat to crap from decades on the road. Like the TubeDreamer+ and the Dyna-ssor, the Delay Llama was quiet and about as noise free as you can get from an analog stomper. The Verdict

The Verdict
All in all, the Multi-Pedal provides extremely faithful reproductions of classic delays, overdrives, and compressors. Like all Jam Pedals, it’s very well crafted. At $500, it is reasonably priced for a boutique handmade multi-effect pedal. It provides excellent takes on vintage circuits that could fetch that much or more if purchased individually, with the bonus that if these three aren't the effects you're looking for, can have Jam tailor one more specifically to your needs. For the player that knows what they like and prefers vintage over digital, the Jam Multi-Pedal concept is one that, in terms of ease and tone, really works.
Buy if...
you want faithful but improved replication of vintage stompbox delay, overdrive and compression, and you demand style.
Skip if...
you like the ability to swap pedals in and out and don't really care about one-of-kind graphics.
Rating...


Street $500 - Jam Pedals - jampedals.com




Sound Selections
All of the Jam's Multi-Pedal effects sound exceptional.The Dyna-ssor was especially good with a humbucker and a little distortion The manual states it can be used as a typical squash-type compressor or as a sustainer. I preferred it for the latter and it worked exceedingly well with the exception of having a somewhat limited boost capability.

The TubeDreamer+ overdrive is next in line and of the handful of Tube Screamer inspired pedals I have played through, it was the best by far. The effect is controlled by three knobs—Level, Tone, and Gain. As mentioned previously, this stomper also has an additional High Gain footswitch that kicks in some beef and fuzz. This overdrive effect gave me great sustain that faded out well at higher Gain settings, and I found the tone richer overall and more harmonically complex than the pedal that inspired it. Used with a humbucker, it was super-crunchy with plenty of bite. And it is a great effect for players who need a tone that punches through thick mixes. The highs can border on brittle, but could also be tamed by the Tone knob. And there was no discernable addition or subtraction to my guitar’s bottom end.

Used in conjunction with the Dyna-ssor, this pedal gave a really aggressive tuneful overdriven sound that worked great for lead and rhythm. The High Gain switch is a nice addition on the Tube Screamer theme, and it took the pedal into creamy distortion zones beyond what typical overdrive pedals deliver.

The Delay Llama is third in line. The control set is a familiar and easy-to-navigate set of knobs for repeats, time, and level or mix. With a max delay time of 600ms, repeats range from slapback to sci-fi sound regeneration. If you remove the bottom plate of the unit you can access an internal pot that allows you to adjust the max delay repeats—a very useful addition. The Delay Llama uses faithful reproductions of the classic Panasonic MN3205 IC chip. And indeed, the pedal sounded like a vintage BBD-style delay that was mint-in-the-box and not beat to crap from decades on the road. Like the TubeDreamer+ and the Dyna-ssor, the Delay Llama was quiet and about as noise free as you can get from an analog stomper. The Verdict

The Verdict
All in all, the Multi-Pedal provides extremely faithful reproductions of classic delays, overdrives, and compressors. Like all Jam Pedals, it’s very well crafted. At $500, it is reasonably priced for a boutique handmade multi-effect pedal. It provides excellent takes on vintage circuits that could fetch that much or more if purchased individually, with the bonus that if these three aren't the effects you're looking for, can have Jam tailor one more specifically to your needs. For the player that knows what they like and prefers vintage over digital, the Jam Multi-Pedal concept is one that, in terms of ease and tone, really works.
Buy if...
you want faithful but improved replication of vintage stompbox delay, overdrive and compression, and you demand style.
Skip if...
you like the ability to swap pedals in and out and don't really care about one-of-kind graphics.
Rating...


Street $500 - Jam Pedals - jampedals.com