Pittsburgh, PA (August 28, 2018) -- On the heavier side of RPS Effects' four pedal launch line-up, we've got a couple of fuzzy sonic manglers.
The Bit Reactor is an all-hardware bit crusher and downsampler, digitizing whatever signal you feed into it without any programming involved, resulting in a unique lo-fi monster that can get some out-of-this-world sounds.
The control interface is simple with only three knobs, but within their ranges you'll find plenty of tonal variety. The two principal controls are crush and sample, allowing you to vary the bit depth and sampling frequency, respectively. That's all rounded off with a simple level adjustment to compensate for differences in perceived volume based on the settings of the other two knobs.
The bit depth varies from 1 to 8 with one LED representing each bit, so that they light up as the knob is turned clockwise. The less bits, the more distortion you'll get – at 8 bits, only low signal levels will be distorted, while at 1 bit the output signal is transformed completely into a square wave. Based on the number of bits, you can get a whole variety of sounds, from almost infinite sustains to a super-gated fuzz.
Sampling rate is a little trickier to explain, but basically as it's reduced less and less high-frequency content can be reproduced in the output. Instead of those high-frequencies disappearing, though, they reappear at a lower frequency due to a phenomenon called 'aliasing'. The result isn't far off from a ring modulator, but it's more complex than that. Like a ring modulator, the sampling rate can be 'tuned' in a sense to different notes, resulting in really interesting and hard-to-explain effects. Top all that off with an expression pedal input to take over the sample knob, giving you access to whammy-like frequency sweeps while keeping your hands free to play.
This pedal can be used subtly once understood, but if noise is your thing, look no further. Meanwhile, the Red Sun is a face-melting fuzz / distortion providing plenty of classic heavy tones. Again we've got three controls here: gain, tone, and level.
The tone knob controls a filter that shapes the frequency content of the distortion, giving a smoother, darker sound at its lowest settings and a crisp crunch at the highest.
Controlling a pre-distortion amplifier, an interesting feature of the gain knob is that you can actually use it to get a clearer signal over the distortion floor. At the higher settings, you can play chords for example and still have them stand out in the mix. At the lower settings you've basically got a fuzz box.
- Die-cast aluminum case
- True bypass on/off switch
- 9-volt operation and standard DC input
The Bit Reactor and Red Sun pedals carry street prices of $180 and $150, respectively.
Watch the Bit Reactor video demo:
Watch the Red Sun video demo:
For more information: