All Reviews

Paul Reed Smith may hate pedals, but his first foray into the realm delivers nothing but gems.

Inside each box containing a brand new PRS pedal, there’s a little fold-out card with a picture of Paul Reed Smith and a simple caption: “I hate pedals.” It’s not hard to imagine Smith’s indifference to stompboxes. PRS guitars are immaculately executed, ultra-playable instruments that reflect a focus on elemental interactions between fingers, strings, and fretboard. Indeed, for much of Paul Reed Smith’s career, stompboxes were probably held in the same regard as a broken toaster—a needless impediment to the communication of unadulterated tone.

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Excellent value. Plenty of analog authenticity.

No tap tempo. Could benefit from a tone control.

$99

Fender Hammertone Space Delay
fender.com

4
4.5
4
4.5

An extremely affordable digital take on analog echoes.

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Weird becomes wonderful in a heady, ambitious modulation pedal that somehow always sounds organic.

Super diverse and versatile modulation sounds with uncanny musicality.

Discerning and predicting some knob functions can be confusing.

$199

Catalinbread Many Worlds
catalinbread.com

4.5
5
3.5
4.5

Named after physicist Hugh Everett III’s quantum-mechanics theory of the multiverse, the Catalinbread’s Many Worlds phaser takes a tonal trajectory arcing back to the mid-’70s Phase 90 and fractures it, Schrödinger’s cat-style, with eight stages and eight LFO modes. Five knobs govern up to eight parameters and five traditional LFO types—sine, square, sawtooth, reverse-sawtooth, and triangle—plus two envelope-dependent sine modes that trigger varying levels of phase sweep (one downward, one up) based on the intensity of your string attack. In “battle” mode, two sine waves with independently controllable speeds compete to dominate the phase output.

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A safe space for savage fuzz.

Absolutely ripping fuzz sounds that balance sustain and chaos. Cool low-gain and volume-attenuated textures. Sturdy construction. Cool control layout.

High gain sounds rob pedal of some of its nuance

$179

Pigtronix Star Eater
pigtronix.com

5
5
4.5
4

Though it feels sacrilegious to say, sometimes you need a break from fuzz—a chance to rest the ears, to bathe in the overtones of a little reverb, or just listen to the birds sing. That’s the place I was in when the Pigtronix Star Eater arrived. An hour later I wasn’t nearly as interested in the birds anymore.

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