An affordable, well-made reverb pedal that nails vintage tones and dips into the ethereal.
Well built. Easy-to-use controls. Wide variety of classic to modern ’verbs.
Extreme effect settings could be more radical.
Ease of Use:
Fender defined the bedrock sound of guitar reverb with its now-iconic tube amps and the standalone Fender Reverb unit that debuted in 1961. But apart from its FRV-1 collaboration with Boss, the company steered clear of the reverb stompbox field—until the new Marine Layer Reverb. It’s been worth the wait. The digital Marine Layer is a solid performer that should satisfy fans of contemporary reverb textures, Fender’s classic spring sounds, and the chamber sounds ladled into great records from the ’50s and early ’60s.
Ectoplasmic Audio Machine
The Marine Layer is a very smartly designed and well-built pedal. Its green, anodized-aluminum case is 5" x 3 3/4", and 2 1/2" tall to the top of its dials. There’s a convenient, front-mounted battery compartment with a magnetic door (you can also power the unit via a 9V DC power adaptor—not included). And each dial has a built-in LED, so it’s easy to see where they’re set on a dark stage. The four dials control pre-delay, reverb time, damping (which removes high end as the reverbed signal fades), and reverb level. The effectiveness of each control is clearly audible and immediate to the touch. There are three toggles: type (to switch between hall, room, and “special” settings), variation (to switch between versions of a given reverb type), and a filter switch that reduces treble content in the decays—making them sound warmer, more organic, and less metallic if need be. It can be used with the damping knob to easily dial in very specific amounts of warmth or brightness in a given reverb voice. There’s a dry kill switch near the pedal’s power input that removes your guitar’s original, dry signal from the output. That’s for use with guitar amps that have a parallel effects loop, so you can keep the reverb and original signal discreet for greater clarity. You’ll need to keep this switch off for pedalboard use, however, or you’ll get no sound. Finally, there’s an on/off switch for the cool-looking LEDs on the dials, to conserve battery power.
It’s not surprising that the Marine Layer has vintage-style reverbs covered. (Curiously, there is no designated spring reverb emulation). But the eye-opener is the special setting, which delivers the sonic vapor trails typically identified as “shimmer.” It mixes a dab of octave-up pitch shifted signal with post-reverb delay that feeds back into the signal, creating notes that swell as they recede. And with the pedal’s 2-way variation switch, the effect can be tight and focused, or fat and modulated, like an aural fogbank spreading its gossamer ectoplasm. The Marine Layer doesn’t get as extreme as, say, the Strymon Flint or EarthQuaker Devices’ Avalanche Run, but it’s significantly cheaper than either and a splendid gateway to Ouija board-level ghostly reverb.
I had a blast switching between single-coils and humbuckers in all settings. In hall mode, with the variation toggle on 2 (a more resonant hall setting designed to emulate plate reverb), I got snappy reverb tones that rang crisply with single-coils and barked like a Rottweiler with humbuckers. In room mode, I dug turning the level up, rolling back the damping, and reveling in variation 1’s hugeness. The slappier variation 2 of room mode put me in the Wayback Machine again. Dig out your blue suede shoes, cats! (Did I really just write that?).
I had but one lone quibble with the Marine Layer: the level control, when maxed, is only 50/50, so I couldn’t drown the original signal in its own swells. But I love playing with this box, and at a very affordable $149, you might, too.
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Flare is a dual-function pedal with a tube-like booster and a 1970s-style ring modulator effect that can be played separately or together.
Flare’s ring modulator is based on the iconic tone of the original Dan Armstrong Green Ringer. This vintage classic was made famous by Frank Zappa who loved the unusual modulations created by generating a harmonic octave over notes. Messiah’s version offers two control knobs: a “Sparkle” tone attenuator and output Level control. Its taupe-gold body, purple and green knobs and stick-figure rock ’n’ roller holding up a flame convey an appropriately rockin’70s vibe.
In a unique twist, Messiah’s Flare pairs the ringer with a warm tube-style boost instead of a fuzz. Flare feeds the booster into the ringer for an extra punch, while preserving the Green Ringerspirit. The ringer side also turns any fuzz into an octafuzz, and it has the ability to quiet signal background noise fed through it.
The booster side features a single Boost knob to control the MOSFET circuit, making it very tube-amp-friendly with a warm, organic boost and gain of up to 32dB.
The pedal is a distinct improvement over the 1970s pedal that inspired it. “Most ringer pedals don’t track well,” Tom Hejda, owner of Messiah Guitars. “The player can’t rely on repeating the same effect even with the most consistently played notes. We carefully matched the components, so our ringer follows your every move, producing that slightly dirty octave you expect on demand.”
Messiah developed this vintage octave pedal with flexible features so that people who love that messy, dirty Zappa-esque sound can get there with ease but there’s also something for those who have not fallen in love with fuzz or the Green Ringer alone. Flare offers an array of sonic options while retaining simplicity in the controls.
Each Flair Pedal Includes:
- 3 control knobs: Boost, Sparkle, and Level
- Two effects – Ring Modulator and Boost – can be used together or separately
- Space-saving top side jacks
- Durable, cast aluminum alloy 125B enclosure with fun artwork
- Easy to see, illuminated True-bypass foot switch
- Standard 9V pedal power input
Flare Pedal Demo
Messiah Guitars pedals are designed with an explorative player in mind. Like their custom guitars and amplifiers, Messiah’s pedals are hand-crafted in Los Angeles for a long life with guaranteed quality.
Flare retails for $199.00 and can be purchased directly at Messiah Guitars or you can hear it in person at Impulse Music Co. in Canyon Country, CA.
For more information, please visit messiahguitars.com.
This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal.
If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and QUACKS like a duck, then it must be a duck. That's how we came up with the name for our new envelope filter. This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal. Trevor explains how this is possible in the launch video, as well as gives a demo on Le Canard’s operation.
The attack control determines how quickly the filter responds to the envelope, and the decay sets how quickly the filter releases afterward. The range controls which frequency spectrum the filter does its magic on. Add to this relay-based full-bypass switching with failsafe, and you've got one crazy little quacky beast. It is so expressive that you'll want to give up on your rocker-wah forever.
The MayFly Le Canard envelope filter features:
- Super fast responding envelope follower. Touch it and it jumps!
- Range control to dial in the character of the filter
- Attack control to control how fast the filter moves on that first touch
- Release control to control how slowly the filter slides back to baseline
- Full bypass using relays with Fail SafeTM (automatically switches to bypass if the pedal loses power)
- Cast aluminum enclosure with groovy artwork
- MSRP $149 USD ($199 CAD)
Introducing the MayFly Le Canard Envelope Filter
All MayFly pedals are hand-made in Canada.
For more information, please visit mayflyaudio.com.
Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more.
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.