Quick Hit: Red Panda Bitmap Review

Pedestrian meets provocative in this flexibly glitchy box with expression-pedal control.

Touted as a vintage-voiced, “fractional” bit-rate reducer and sample-rate modulator, the oversized, single-stomp Bitmap features mix, crush/rate, freq(uency), and level knobs mated to two switches—a toggle for selecting bit-reduction or modulation, and a 3-position switch for choosing triangle, square, or random waveforms (the latter only in mod mode).

With all these controls, it’s no wonder the Bitmap avails a variety of strangeness—from corpulent digital fuzz to ’80s-ish synth sounds and glitching, blarging, and bleeping bizarreness of the sort you’d expect if you plugged your 6-string into the Wachowskis’ Matrix. Of particularly cool inclusion is the ability to control sample rate via expression pedal. The only significant limitation is that those inclined to mete out maximum weirdness with a 100-percent wet mix will find that the closest they can get is a roughly 50:50 ratio.

Test gear: Squier Jazzmaster w/ Duncan Antiquity IIs, Squier Tele Custom w/ Curtis Novaks, Jaguar HC50, Subdecay Super Spring Theory, Catalinbread Topanga


Clip 1: Mode - Mod, Waveforms - All, Mix - Max, Crush - Rate - Max, Freq - 11 O'clock, Level - 3 Oclock
Clip 2: Mode - Crush, Waveforms - All, Mix - Max, Crush - Rate - 10 O'clock, Freq - Noon, Level - 3 O'clock

Ratings

Pros:
Cool waveform selector. Expression-pedal control of sample rate.

Cons:
Pricey. Wet-to-dry ratio can’t go beyond 50:50. Upper half of freq-knob range inaudible.

Street:
$239

Red Panda Bitmap
redpandalab.com

Tones:

Ease of Use:

Build/Design:

Value:

A compact pedal format preamp designed to offer classic, natural bass tone with increased tonal control and extended headroom.

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Fig. 1

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Welcome to another Dojo. Last month I explained in detail how to set up and use sidechain compression techniques to get that classic pop/EDM pumping sound on your rhythm guitar parts and other instruments in your mix. This time, we’ll use the same setup techniques but, instead of sidechaining a compressor, I’m going to show you the benefits of using a gate.

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In high cotton: Charlie Musselwhite is thoroughly content with his return to the Delta. “We love living here,” he says. “It just makes sense, and it feels like the blues is alive and well in the Delta and you can just feel it rising up from the earth, it’s so present.”

Photo by Rory Doyle

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For Charlie Musselwhite, the blues isn’t just a style of music. It’s a sacrament. And Musselwhite is one of its high priests. With a palmful of bent notes on the harmonica—the instrument on which he’s been an acknowledged master for more than a half-century—or the fat snap of a guitar string, he has the power to summon not only the blues’ great spirits, but the places they rose from. If you listen closely, you can envision the Mississippi Delta’s plantation lands, where the summer sun forms a shimmering belt on the low horizon and even a slight breeze can paint your face red with clay dust. It’s a place both old and eternal—full of mystery and history and magic. And the music from that place, as Musselwhite sings in his new song “Blues Gave Me a Ride,” “tells the truth in a world full of lies.”

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