A lush, lively stereo chorus with tasteful, varied presets and controls that range from the classic to the crazed.
Excellent presets and reactive controls produce a lush variety of lovely classic and crazed sounds. Solid construction.
Pricey. Black divot dial marking are hard to read.
VS Alchemy MkIII
Love it or hate it, the chorus pedal became an important part of rock’s soundscape in the ’80s. Happily, there’s a lot to love about VS Audio’s new Alchemy MkII, an analog stereo chorus with a half-dozen useful presets and a 4-dial setup that opens up plenty of modulation-shaping range.
With graphics that conjure a medium with her hands surrounding a crystal ball (which doubles as the bypass LED), the updated Alchemy pedal is handsome and sturdy. It’s got two smooth switches. The leftmost, labeled bypass, is on/off; the rightmost activates and shuttles between the device’s six presets and works as a tap tempo for the low frequency oscillator (LFO) that governs the pedal’s sweep. Tap tempo is a new feature in the MkII, along with smoother and more natural sounding modulation and an expanded delay range. Also, VS says the effect’s output is brighter, smoother, and warmer than in the first iteration. The input and stereo outs are solid, and a barrel adaptor feeds the Alchemy 9-volt power. Under the hood, there’s a tidy circuit board with a reissue 3207 BBD delay chip that helps produce everything from warm modulation to queasy detuned noise. Together it’s a rugged, appealing package.
The Alchemy MkII comes with six factory presets that sound so good and varied that players who aren’t interested in exploring outer reaches might be satisfied with them alone. By holding the bypass and preset switches down simultaneously, it’s also easy to edit those presets.
Six factory presets sound so good and varied that players who aren’t interested in exploring outer reaches might be satisfied with them alone.
I explored the Alchemy MkII with a two-amp setup featuring a Carr Vincent and Carr Telstar so I could enjoy the stereo spectrum. And exploring the presets in this configuration was a joy. The box’s lower LED changes color according to preset. Here’s what I heard for each color-coded setting. I also describe some of the virtual knob settings as they are described in the manual:
- Blue: Subtle speed with medium depth and zero delay, and an even split between the effect and guitar tone. Great for funky, crisp chords and licks, à la Jimmy Nolen and Al McKay.
- Green: Still subtle and funky, but with more depth and less speed.
- Red: Full-on speed with depth past the midpoint, zero delay, and the mix at 3 o’clock. It seems to thin the midrange when I play chords. But single notes take on a cool oscillating effect between amps and adding an overdrive generates compelling lead tones.
- Yellow: Entering Leslie territory, with fast oscillations just shy of SRV’s Vibratone sounds. The delay is cranked, the speed and mix are at about 3 o’clock, and the depth is off.
- White: Full-on Leslie-style tones. Lush with vibrato. My favorite. The mix is up all the way, delay half-way, speed at 3 o’clock, and depth at 1 o’clock. Playing chords and bending notes is a blast. Gorgeous oscillations!
In live mode, sans presets, the chorus options feel pretty endless. I explored a few go-to settings, like setting speed and depth at 3 o’clock for Nirvana or “Enter Sandman” tones, and slowly increasing the delay until it produced a sick, detuned quality. Elsewhere, with the speed at 11 o’clock, depth at noonish, and delay at 9 to 11 o’clock, I could approximate 12-string sounds.
At 300 bucks the Alchemy Mk II is pricey. But it is a well-built, rangeful stereo chorus with varied and thoughtful preset options that might be enough for many players. Controllability on the fly can be tricky. Dial positions are indicated by divots, rather than a contrasting white line, so it’s hard to see them in low light. Apart from that design oversight, the Alchemy is feast of rich, analog modulation sounds.
MG-400 houses 2 powerful DSP chips for high-definition White-Box Amp Modeling algorithm (TS/AC-HD) and Core-Image post-effects.
The Nu-X MG-400 is a value-packed modeler akin to his little brother, the MG-300. MG-400 houses 2 powerful DSP chips for high-definition White-Box Amp Modeling algorithm (TS/AC-HD) and Core-Image post-effects. Since releasing the MG-300, people have been blown away by the sound and playability, not to mention the ease-of-use tone tweaking and intuitive interface. And now, the MG-400builds upon the MG-300 feature set moveable signal blocks, extra 12 IR COLLECTION slots, flexible P.L block with MIN & MAX parameter setup, send/return fx loop, abundant SYSTEM MENU, and physical master volume knob, MG-400 is now the best value modeler for the money.
The white-box algorithm offers realistic playability and analog-chaos response. The concept of "Chaos makes the muse" perfectly applies to the analog circuit. When you tweak the knob, it affects itself as well as other parameters. For a linear digital system, the parameter is independent. The white-box algorithm offers real-time feedback, increment-by-increment. Nu-X TS/AC-HD replicates the same playability most guitarists crave in a real tube amplifier.
MG-400 offers 512 samples of IR, you can also load 3rd party IR files through the editor software. The included 25 guitar cab IRs combine 4 classic microphones with 3 mic positions to allow beginners an easy way to jump into the multi-effects experience. Also included are 8 bass cab IRs and 3 acoustic guitar IRs, giving you the ability to play bass on MG-400 or use an electric guitar to simulate acoustic guitar sound.
NUX MG-400 highlights include:
- 2.8” 320*240 color LCD with intuitive UI.
- NG, CMP, EFX, AMP, IR, EQ, MOD, DLY, RVB, P.L | 10 independent moveable signal blocks.
- White-box Amp Modeling & Pre-efx algorithm.
- 512 samples IR resolution and USER slot with each patch. (additional 12 IR COLLECTION slots).
- Input trim under SYSTEM MENU.
- Scene and Jam functionality.
- 5 output modes with global 3-band EQ for quick tone tweaking.
- USB recording interface, firmware update, QuickTone™ edit software.
NUX MG 400: how it compares vs the MG 300 and the MG 30
Nu-X MG-400 carries a street price of $219.
For more information, please visit nuxefx.com.
Music Nomad introduces a patent pending Grip One, alongside the Humitar One, an all-in-one humidifier and hygrometer.
No feature is overlooked, starting with the precision bearing design they invented in 2016 that makes turning the handle effortless, silent & super fast. The innovative rubber-lined head smoothly & silently slips over your tuning pegs for a scratch-free & clank-free operation compared to traditional plastic peg winders. The contoured head design fits virtually all tuning pegs both big & small, & its narrow profile keeps you from hitting close-fitted pegs on electric guitars. The ergonomic & non-slip rubber grip handle gives you total control & comfort. Cutting strings is a cinch! Whether big or small, use the high-quality carbon steel String Cutter to effortlessly cut through all string types. Ready to pull pins? The Bridge PinPuller's innovative universal design allows you to pull acoustic guitar bridge pins easily. Simply slide under the pin & pull straight up. Grip One is perfect for electric & acoustic guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, ukulele & orchestral strings. Don't lose it or loan it, you'll look forward to the next time you change your strings.
MusicNomad has developed an easy-to-use, no mess, low maintenance guitar humidifier and a humidity and temperature monitor that is simple, accurate, and reliable. The Humitar One safely releases moisture evenly to eliminate potential problems such as warping, shrinking and, worse yet, cracking. The Humid-i-Bar reusable sponge holds a lot more water than the competition. This means less monitoring on your end while, resting assured, your fine guitar is cared for.
To ensure your guitar is in the safe zone, the Humitar One accurate sensor monitors your string instrument's environment every 20 seconds and gives you the humidity and temperature readings on its LCD display. It also gives you the maximum and minimum range over the period you are measuring and can be reset at any time. The Humitar One comes with many cool features such as a reminder of the humidity and temperature safe zone at which you want to keep your string instrument, a long-lasting AG 13 battery, and Fahrenheit or Celsius readings.
Grip One: Available October 24, 2022 - Suggested Retail $16.99 - $19.99 USD
Humitar One: Available October 24, 2022 - Suggested Retail $29.99 - $34.99 USD
For more information, please visit musicnomadcare.com.
Using high-speed signal processing with a dedicated DSP and analog & digital audio circuits we perfected over time, this compact unit attains high sound quality.
A compact, but epoch-making digital delay with multiple filter functions. Using high-speed signal processing with a dedicated DSP and analog & digital audio circuits we perfected over time, this compact unit attains high sound quality. This unit’s tone filter can process the delay sound to have a rich tone or conversely adjust it to be far from the original sound. The proprietary COSMIC filter creates an effect sound reminiscent of outer space, adding a new color to your delay sounds. Utilizing a new method, the newly developed reverse delay succeeds in producing a smoother, more musical reverse sound. In addition, we added a new function to adjust the number of output bits of the delay sound in 1-bit units, from smooth and high-quality 24-bit to rough 8-bit sound that contains distorted noise when the volume is lowered. You can reproduce the nuances of the delay sound used in the 1980s and 90s, and even the delay sound with the bit crusher effect applied.
- *Built-in multiple filter effects including equalizer function. It is possible to apply multiple filters at the same time (Cosmic Filter, Bandpass Filter, 3-Band EQ, Tone).
- Equipped with a newly developed reverse delay and output bit number adjustment function(8–24 bits).
- Combination of high-speed arithmetic processing with 32-bit fixed-point arithmetic and high-precision arithmetic processing with 32-bit floating-point arithmetic achieves both high-quality sound and high processing speed and provides the best performance.
COSMIC WAVE carries a suggested retail price of $318.18, and is available now through their North American dealers. For more information, please visit freethetone.com.