Deconstruct your tone—or evoke vintage keys—with this sonic wrecking ball.

Bummed your band can’t find a keyboardist with vintage tonal sensibilities? Want to inject your tunes with 1980s Atari or Nintendo bleep-bloop-bloop action? The LoFi Machine puts both at your disposal in a space the size of a roll of quarters.

Operation is ridiculously simple: The further you turn the bit knob, the more it imbues your signal with a digital character by reducing sampling depth (5–16 bits), while the tiny mix and sample knobs govern dry/wet ratio and sample-rate reduction (60–31,250 Hz), respectively, and a 3-way toggle optimizes EQ response for synth, guitar, or bass. Subtlety is kinda antithetical to the Machine’s being, so I preferred max-ing mix, though turning sample all the way down helped fundamentals cut through without too much digital background clutter. Set the bit knob between noon and 3 o’clock, then fingerpick moderately overdriven chords for deliciously vibey Wurlitzer 200 or Rhodes electric-piano sounds. Or, summon ominous Metroid vibes or whimsical Super Mario Bros. sounds with bit settings past 3.

Test Gear: Danelectro ’56 Baritone reissue, Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster Custom with Curtis Novak pickups, Schecter Ultra III with TV Jones Magna’Tron bridge pickup, Jaguar HC50 and Goodsell Valpreaux 21 amps.

Ratings

Pros:
Awesome sounds in a shockingly convenient and simple package.

Cons:
Mix and sample knobs lack visible setting indicator. Moderate to high sample-reduction settings add difficult-to-manage noise.

Street:
$98

Company
mooeraudio.com

Tones:

Ease of Use:

Build/Design:

Value:

A chambered body and enhanced switching make this affordable Revstar light and loaded with tones.

Scads of cool tone combinations. Articulate pickups. Relatively light. Balanced and comfortable. Well built.

Some P-90 players might miss the extra grit the Revstar trades for articulation.

Yamaha Revstar Standard RSS02T
usa.yamaha.com

4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5

While the Yamaha name is famous in circles beyond the guitar world, they’ve made first-class guitars since the 1960s. And while they don’t unleash new releases with the frequency of some larger guitar brands, every now and then they come down the mountain with a new axe that reminds us of their capacity to build great electric 6-strings. In 2015, Yamaha introduced the first generation Revstar. With a handsome aesthetic inspired by the company’s motorcycle racing heritage, the Revstar combined sweet playability and vintage style touchstones. This year, Yamaha gave the Revstar an overhaul—including body chambering, updated pickups, and new switching. What’s impressive is how these alterations enhance the already impressive playability and versatility of the original.

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