A flanger with a few tricks up its sleeve.
New take on an old effect. Realtime control. Fun tilt mode.
Not warm-sounding. Audible digital artifacts.
Old Blood Noise Endeavors Flat Light
Ease of Use:
The latest release from Old Blood Noise Endeavors is the Flat Light, a flanger with cool and trippy extras. It’s a digital effect—the popular Spin FV-1 chip generates the pedal’s pitch shifting and delay. The Flat Light resides in a standard 125B-sized enclosure and runs on the usual 9V power supplies. There is no battery compartment.
It’s easiest to understand the Flat Light’s expanded take on flanging if you know how the basic effect works. (Skip ahead if you know this stuff.) Flangers mix your dry signal with a very slightly delayed duplicate of the signal. This offset creates phase conflicts between the two signals, often resulting in hollow-sounding and/or clangorous tones. That signal is then pitch shifted, which produces rich chorus-like sounds at modest settings and mad whoops and screeches at high settings. A flanger’s feedback control makes the delayed signal repeat (though it happens so quickly that you don’t hear individual echoes). High feedback settings yield the jet-engine whooshes we associate with flangers.
The Flat Light has the usual flanger controls: depth and rate (of the pitch shift) plus mix (the wet/dry balance). In the Flat Light’s traditional flanger mode (called “resonate”), the shift knob controls feedback. Here you get all the usual flanger effects, from subtle choral thickening to otherworldly clanks and drones.
They Put a Twist on It!
So far, so good—but the Flat Light’s toggle switch provides two additional modes. In detune mode, the delay is pitch-shifted. Not in the usual small increments, but as much as an octave up or down. Here, the shift knob controls the amount of transposition rather than feedback. At some settings this mode behaves like an octave pedal, with clear up/down shifts. Other settings produce intriguingly chaotic noises you couldn’t coax from a conventional flanger.
The third mode, echo, adds longer delays to the wet signal. This unlocks a raft of quasi-reverb effects—an eerie alternative to traditional delay and reverb. Here, the shift knob regulates delay time. The flanger depth is fixed, and the depth knob controls resonance instead.
Quality and Coloration
The Flat Light definitely sounds digital, without the distortion and coloration of vintage flangers with their bucket-brigade delay chips. That’s not necessarily bad—it’s just a different flavor. Still, tones are far from pristine. The pitch shifts are decidedly lo-fi, with perceptible bleating. The Flat Light might not be a great choice if you seek a retro flanger’s warmth, but the lo-res transpositions have a unique color that noise-oriented players may dig. Meanwhile, the dry signal isn’t perfectly transparent. Even with modulation turned off and a 100 percent dry setting, tones acquire a midrange bump at around 250 Hz. This low-mid boost can make the high end seem dimmer, though again, it has its own character.
Two more cool features: There’s an expression pedal jack (pedal not included) to pilot the multi-mode shift knob by foot. And a dedicated tilt footswitch momentarily maxes out the shift knob for as long as you keep your foot down. It’s handy for unleashing momentary shrieks and clangs, which might sound bitchin’ while building up to a big downbeat.
For better or worse, the Flat Light is no old-school flanger. Its tones are more icy than warm. On the other hand, its three modes venture well beyond the usual flanger vocabulary, and often to fine effect. Chances are this is a better choice for naughty noisemakers than for retro cork sniffers.
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.