The Levana''s circuit is digital, but it’s designed to emulate the warmth of older, tape delays with a 3-way switch that brings in two degrees of leftover digital distortion and applies it to the delayed signal.
One of the most useful tools in a seasoned- player’s arsenal is a good, simple, delay unit. These days, a lot of delay pedals offer a smorgasbord of features, with dazzling arrays of controls and knobs to shape and sculpt the delayed tone, and even loop it. You can almost forget how many cool tones can be coaxed from a conventional, 3-knob delay as the new Mellow-D by Studio Blue’s Levana Audio demonstrates handily.
More Than Meets the Eye
Anyone used to old, 3-knob analog-delay units like the Boss DM-2 and Ibanez AD-9 can use the Mellow-D blindfolded. There are familiar controls for Time, Feedback, and Level (which acts as a volume control for the wet signal). The circuit is digital, but it’s designed to emulate the warmth of older, tape delays. And the digital circuit enables the Levana pedal to significantly increase the available delay time, to a maximum of 1000 ms.
Familiar as it looks on the surface, the Levana has one very unique trick up its powder-blue sleeve. There’s a 3-way switch on the top of the unit that brings in two degrees of leftover digital distortion and applies it to the delayed signal. In the top position, the repeats come back with a higher frequency range. And in the bottom position, they kick back with a lower set of frequencies and a slight drop in fidelity that can help you radicalize your repeats.
Nothing Yellow about This Mellow
The pristine sounds of a Fender 60th Anniversary Telecaster and a Fender ’65 Twin Reverb combo were a perfect canvas for the Mellow-D to show off its warm, granulated, vintage-styled tones. The short delay-times are delightfully sputtery and perfect for bathtub-delayed, single-note country riffing. In this context, the pedal is super-responsive to pick attack, and the delay repeats distorted ever so slightly as I started in with a harder, more-defined pick attack.
Longer delay times are a treat as well, and reveal how well the Mellow-D really cops the tone of a well-worn, vintage tape delay. The dirtiness and lower fidelity of the repeats was much more noticeable when I had the Time control set above 10 o’clock— each repeat had a great, decaying quality that, at times, made me wish I could sustain each repeat. They sound that cool.
Some of the coolest tones within the Mellow-D exist thanks to the 3-way switch on the top of the unit. As I flicked the switch to the up position, a really abrasive white-noise rang from the Twin’s speakers. After dropping the Feedback control to just slightly a hair above the off position, I was able to hear the effect’s extremely eerie, digitally distorted repeats ringing in the upper registers of the highs. Bringing the Feedback control up made the effect more intense, and when I brought it up to around 9 o’clock, the signal bled into a glorious, self-oscillating feedback that stopped immediately when I started playing again— perfect for soundscape work, à la Robert Fripp and Brian Eno.
Levana managed to build a really great-sounding tape delay emulator, but the real treat is the pedal’s digital repeat distortion switch. I’m hard-pressed to think of any effect I’ve come across that sounds and reacts quite like it, which is a definite plus in terms of adding a new spin on an old idea. And if you’re often left wondering how to indulge your inner traditionalist and experimentalist with the same pedal, the Levana Mellow-D may be the key.
you need a great tape-delay simulator with extended delay-time and extra kooky-sounding uniqueness.
you need more control over the delay tone, and digitally clean repeats.
Street $259 - Levana Audio - studiobluellc.com
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Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
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.