Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

Cusack Effects Pedal Board Tamer Review

Cusack Effects Pedal Board Tamer Review

Make presets of your effects to manage your pedal switching

Performing with multiple pedals can be a tricky dance. You may find yourself doing things like turning off a compressor and a flanger while turning on a fuzz and delay, all before a verse turns into the chorus—a move that can make you look as if you’re desperately stomping out a fire and fending off a swarm of bees. If that weren’t bad enough, a whole board full of pedals can also suck the life out of your tone. The Cusack Pedal Board Tamer, which helps you program a series of presets from your effects, helps bring these beastly problems under control.

Row of Options
Housed in a 24" x 4 1/4" x 1 3/4" metal casing, the Tamer fits neatly on a Pedaltrain 2 or Pro pedalboard. It has switches for nine presets and effect loops—the last three loops are stereo—a switchable, mutable tuner output, and a tap-tempo switch that sends information to RCA outputs on three of the presets.

Both input and outputs can be buffered or set for true bypass. There is only a single input and main output, but you can play into two amps by using stereo cables. Switching amps involves running a mono cable out of the amp output to one amp, while routing Effect Loop 9’s send to the other. When you choose Loop 9, the Tamer sends your signal to its designated amp, effectively shutting off signal to the regular output amplifier.

In Mech Mode, each loop brings any effect (or effects) in that loop into the signal path, while in “Preset Mode,” each of the nine switches is assigned to a combination of loops. Setting up presets was super simple: I stepped on and held the Tuner switch and the All Off switch simultaneously, then chose a numbered switch and the loops I wanted that number to engage. (Dipswitches inside the board let you program any of the loops to remain in Mech mode even when you are using presets.)

Preset Simplicity
I plugged a Moolon Lotus Octa Fuzz, an Electro-Harmonix Ring Thing, a Maxon OD-9, and a Guyatone Micro Delay into their respective loops. I kept the Tamer’s output buffer on and turned off the input buffer, as the Moolon doesn’t like a buffered signal. The Tamer worked beautifully, first engaging and disengaging individual effects, then, in Preset mode, combining them in my chosen combinations.

With the effects off, I checked the tone through the Tamer against a straight-into-the-amp signal. With the input buffer off, I detected a slight loss of low end and a harder feel to the playing response. With the buffer on, the difference was negligible—but what to do about the fuzz? The solution was to put a Fuchs Plush Pure Gain pedal in Loop 4 and leave it on. Then I could shut off the input buffer, making the fuzz happy, yet regain my full bandwidth and playing feel—a simple solution facilitated by the flexibility of the Tamer.

The Verdict
The Cusack Pedal Board Tamer is an affordable and effective solution to the issue of pedal-switching acrobatics, as well as a way to maintain your guitar and amp tone. Of course, it won’t to anything to curb your stompbox habit, if you have one. But for players who can’t get enough pedal power in their chain, the Pedal Tamer is the cure for a hundred headaches.

Buy if...
you need a collection of multi-pedal sonic concoctions at the stomp of a single switch.
Skip if...
you don't mind a little tap dancing to get your multi-pedal recipes.

Street $500 - Cusack Effects -

Tone Games 2010: 30 Stompboxes Reviewed
Next in PEDALBOARD EXTRAS: Sanyo KBC-9V3U Pedal Juice