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September 2014
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Providence Effects Sonic Drive, Heat Blaster, Stampede Overdrive, Velvet Comp, Final Boost, Phase Force, and Anadime Chorus Pedal Reviews

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Providence Effects Sonic Drive, Heat Blaster, Stampede Overdrive, Velvet Comp, Final Boost, Phase Force, and Anadime Chorus Pedal Reviews

Stampede Overdrive

Download Example 1
Drive 5 o'clock
Download Example 2
Drive 9 o'clock
Clips recorded with 1988 Ibanez S540 with Seymour Duncan SH5 pickup in humbucker mode into a Blackstar HT Club 40 head on the clean channel. Speaker emulated line out to E-MU USB0404 interface into Cubase 5.
Providence's Stampede Overdrive is aimed at the natural overdrive pedal market. Like the Heat Blaster and Sonic Drive, it has three knobs—Level, Drive, and Tone. Unlike the Sonic Drive, the Stampede OD stays well within the realm of overdrive no matter how hard you crank it. The Stampede's overdrive was slightly crispy on single-coils and P-90s, but not on humbuckers. Of Providence's three distortion/overdrive pedals, this was the only one where I reached for the tone knob more than once. That's not a knock, mind you—tone knobs are there for a reason. It is also the most pedal-sounding of the three OD/Distortion pedals.

I liked this pedal with the Drive knob anywhere from 3 o'clock to WFO. In this range, the pedal ranges from indie rock guitar a la Wilco to classic AC/DC blues-rock. It is definitely hotter than a Tube Screamer or Boss Overdrive, and its overdrive tone is boutique all the way—in fact, I've never played an overdrive pedal like it. With that said, it may be an acquired taste for some used to more traditional overdrives. I think players well on their way in their search for the perfect tone will enjoy test-driving the Stampede OD.

According to Providence, the pedal uses a bipolar polar power supply that pumps ± 15 volts to its overdrive circuit. That is more than three times the traditional power on most overdrive stompboxes. It also means 9-volt batteries get sucked dry faster than a can of beer in a heat wave. Providence does warn users about the Stampede OD's battery consumption in the manual.
Buy if...
a truly classy overdrive on a clean-sounding pedal belongs in your rig.
Skip if...
your aim is classic, well-known overdrive pedal tone.
Rating...


Street $249 - Providence Effects - godlyke.com


Velvet Comp

Download Example 1
Clean
Clips recorded with 1988 Ibanez S540 with Seymour Duncan SH5 pickup in humbucker mode into a Blackstar HT Club 40 head on the clean channel. Speaker emulated line out to E-MU USB0404 interface into Cubase 5.
When I first started playing, I had an old MXR DynaComp. I hated it until someone took the time to show me how to use it. Now, I miss it for certain applications, like smoothing out arpeggiations, and getting maximum slap out of funky chord progressions. Providence's Velvet Comp reminds me of that old red compressor in that it takes a bit of time to get it set just right, but when you do, it can be a very complimentary effect to your playing style.

Like most guitar compressor stompboxes, the compression is an effect and not designed to be transparent—something it took me awhile to figure out back with my old MXR. The three-knob design (Level, Attack and Sustain) should be a clue that this is an effect to be heard, and goes one-step beyond the two knob DynaComp. At any setting I dialed in, the Velvet Comp definitely flattened out my dynamic range—no surprise there. I was impressed with the sustain when playing both distorted and clean tones, and I got used to the effect quickly. I even found myself leaving it on after solos because I liked what it did for the more subtle fundamentals in my chord voicings.

The Velvet Comp can also be used as a limiter. It is okay as a sustainer, though it lacks the boost associated with dedicated sustainer pedals. There really is no magic setting as it is entirely dependent on your rig and how hot your signal is going into the pedal. I did tend to keep the Level knob jacked pretty high, as I felt the pedal lacked the gain required to recover from ample compression.
Buy if...
you need a classic sounding guitar compressor stompbox that is obvious.
Skip if...
you expect a fair amount of boost from your compressor, or you need more transparency in compression.
Rating...


Street $249 - Providence Effects - godlyke.com

Hit page 3 for the Final Boost, Phase Force, and Anadime Chorus...
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