I spent some time this past summer looking around for a good Leslie-type effect for my stage rig—not a Uni-Vibe or something like that (although there are plenty of

DLS Effects RotoSIM
I spent some time this past summer looking around for a good Leslie-type effect for my stage rig—not a Uni-Vibe or something like that (although there are plenty of good ones out there), but something that would get me close to real rotary speaker sound, without me having to lug around another heavy cabinet. I wanted a unit that offered fine control over all the different aspects of an authentic Leslie speaker unit, and could give me stereo output, but didn’t sound canned. I found some good-sounding gear, but nothing really enticed me.

Then the DLS RotoSIM came across my desk, and I have to say that while it didn’t light me on fire, it does have everything I was looking for—and a real shot at finding a spot on my pedalboard. For starters, it’s got individual horn intensity controls for Bass and Tweeter, independent rotation speed knobs, ramp time control and a footswitch to toggle between fast and slow settings—all necessary features in my book. In addition, there is a built-in overdrive with an On/Off switch and gain control. At high gain, the overdrive clipping is a little harsh for my taste, but it’s quite good if you just want to throw a bit of dirt in there.

Stereo output is also a must-have option for truly convincing Leslie swirl. The DLS’s stereo output feature goes even further, as it provides two separate inputs. Use the stereo input and get a lush, even spread from the dual outputs; or, use the other input and the two outputs then offer slightly different tonalities for you to choose from. In this setup, Output A is more transparent, as advertised. Output B is thicker sounding, and seems to have greater presence. If these or any of the other tonal elements don’t suit your liking, there are seven internal trim pots for extra-tweakable volume, gain, blend, response—everything. I played this unit through several different guitar/amp combinations, mono and stereo, and I was very pleased with the way it handled everything I did. – CB
Buy If...
you’re looking for a versatile, authentic-sounding rotary effect with stereo output
Skip If...

you’ve got the roadies to haul your vintage Leslie cabs.
MSRP $299 - DLS Effects - dlseffects.com

A faithful recreation of the Germanium Mosrite Fuzzrite with a modern twist.

Read MoreShow less

Presets extend the flexibility of an already expansive and easy-to-use reverb.

Intuitive. Great range in all controls. Well-built.

Some digital artifacts at long decay times.


Walrus Audio Slötvå


Walrus Audio is a prolific builder, but, as the five reverb pedals in their lineup suggest, they have a real affinity for manipulating time and space. The beauty of the Slötvå reverb (which is derived from the company’s very similar Spin FV-1 chip-based Slö reverb) is how satisfying and simple it makes dramatic shifts between time/space textures.

Read MoreShow less

With such a flashy flame top, the Silvertone 1445 was built to catch the eyes of department store shoppers.

I don’t know what’s going on lately, but I’m breaking down all over and my shoulder is the latest to crumble. When I was a kid I would practice guitar in my bedroom near a radiator with an ungrounded amp plug and I’d get a zap right through my guitar and into my hands. Well, my shoulder pain is like that now, only without the cool story of rock ’n’ roll survival. I simply woke up one day like this. After a few weeks of discomfort, I figured I’d try out a new pillow, since mine are flattened like a wafer. I ventured out to the mall and, much to my sadness, saw the local Sears store shuttered, with weeds growing up from the sidewalks and concrete barriers blocking the large glass doors. I know I don’t get out much, but, man, was I sad to see the Sears store I’d known since childhood closed-up like that. My wife was laughing at me because apparently it had been closed for some time. But since I seem to exist on a separate timeline than most folks, it was all news to me.

Read MoreShow less