Your ticket to riding waves of trad-to-freaky modulations on the cheap.
Immersive modulation sounds that range from smooth to warped. Stereo functionality. Useful volume control
Controls can feel twitchy and elusive in the get-to-know-you phase. No tap tempo.
Electro-Harmonix Nano Pulsar
I loved the first few iterations of the EHX Pulsar tremolo—particularly the stereo version that appeared in the early 2000s. Two decades ago, there weren’t that many pedal-tremolo options. But the Pulsar didn’t just stand out for lack of competition. I thought it sounded ace and not a million light years away from the optical tremolo in the black-panel Tremolux that I used most at the time. If it didn’t quite nail the sound of real amp tremolo, it sounded mighty fine in a band context and with other effects. And the fact that the tremolo on the old Tremolux worked as irregularly as it did meant I got pretty well acquainted with the Pulsar. I came to love the way it sounded, its name, and the way it looked hooked up with my Big Muff and Small Stone. (Note to self: Revisit that chain at the earliest possible opportunity!)
The new Nano Pulsar is the latest old-guard EHX pedal to receive the shrink-ray treatment. And while I miss the look of that big enclosure, the Nano’s small size and volume control arguably make it a pedal of much greater utility.
Mass Reduction Plan
Over the years, original Pulsars (along with quite a few other pedal tremolos) have been criticized—unfairly in most cases—for what users perceive as volume loss. I never experienced the phenomenon in my own 2000s Pulsar. But to make sure they don’t hear any such beefs going forward, EHX has included an output-volume control that ensures users don’t mistake the volume attenuation intrinsic to tremolo as signal loss. The amount of available extra volume isn’t huge, but it’s considerable. And if you set your tube amp at the verge of its distortion threshold, it’s enough the make the amp perceptibly dirtier. There’s a lot of range for reducing the output volume of the tremolo’d signal as well. That may not sound very useful at first, but as I checked out these volume-attenuated settings, a little ditty based on tremolo’d quiet verses and un-effected louder choruses practically wrote itself. No matter how you use the volume effect, it definitely extends the dynamic potential of the Nano Pulsar.
As I checked out these volume-attenuated settings, a little ditty based on tremolo’d quiet verses and un-effected louder choruses practically wrote itself.
The controls elsewhere are pretty sensitive, which means it can be hard to dial in a just-right depth or rate setting at times (this will almost certainly stoke the ire of tap-tempo addicts—there is no such option here). But though it’s trickier to find given depth and rate recipes on the Pulsar than it is on the Fender Vibrolux I used for comparison, practice made perfect. After a few go-rounds with the Nano Pulsar, I was able to intuitively find the settings I wanted or used regularly. Remember, too, that some of the sensitivity in the rate and depth controls is attributable to their greater range. There are things you can do with the Nano Pulsar that you can’t do with amplifier tremolo. The rate control, for instance, ranges from a preposterously slow 20-seconds-per-cycle (which sounds super cool with amp feedback) to super-fast sounds that sound like ring-modulated robot gibberish.
The depth control, too, is much quirkier than the depth control on an amp. Much of its lower range generates pulses that verge on imperceptible. And the most traditional sounds generally reside within the 10 o’clock to 1 o’clock range. Beyond that point, the pulses modulate between positive and negative phase, which gives the waveforms a twitchier personality. To my ear, these sounds are especially effective at advanced rate settings, which highlight the hanging-in-the-flying-saucer-engine-room sensations you can produce here. They are even cooler when you work the wave-shape knob, which shifts the wave peak from center to form asymmetric rise and fall rates. As with many facets of the Pulsar’s performance envelope, finding the wave shape that precisely suits your needs and musical vision might take patience, but the search can yield bountiful surprises.
Though I’m pretty familiar with the quirks of the old Pulsar, the Nano reminded me that the controls can feel pretty unconventional compared to amp tremolo controls or those on more straight-ahead tremolo pedals. That shouldn’t be a deterrent to exploring what the Pulsar has to offer though. The trad sounds are rich and satisfying, while the weirder fare is fun, sparks musical ideas, and can be utilized in subtle or freaky and intense settings. The simple stereo capabilities yield big payoffs when you introduce a second amp, and even if this isn’t a practical move in performance, it’s a blast to use in recording situations. At just a click more than 100 bucks, it’s a very inexpensive way to enrich your library of modulated tones in a big way.
Electro-Harmonix Nano Pulsar Stereo Tremolo Demo | First Look
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Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.
The new finish, according to Lava Music, is “inspired by the beauty of the golden hour,” a shining time just before sunset and after sunrise when photographers covet to capture stunning pictures.
With bright and warm golden hues, the new finish adds a brilliant metallic glow to the surface of Lava ME 3, complementing its AirSonic 2 carbon fiber unibody which features L3 Preamp with FreeBoost 2.0, delivers industry-leading sounds by breakthrough acoustic technologies, and houses a multi-touch display powered by Lava-developed HILAVA system.
Speaking of the HILAVA system, Lava Music also added four new effects: Nebula, Desert Rose, Cassette, and Edge of Breakup. As unique as their names sound, they are very much different from what we normally know about effects. Programmed into the HILAVA system, each of the four is powered by the company’s latest ArctanDrive algorithm and incorporates effects like Pitch Shift, Delay, and Reverb. And every one of those incorporated sub-effects comes with various parameters that players can adjust to design unique, overdriven sounds by just tapping on the multi-touch display. That said, those effects enable users to play with overdriven tone on an acoustic-electric guitar without even plugging in any external gear.
LAVA ME 3 | Now in Golden Hour | LAVA MUSIC
Lava Me 3 in Golden Hour is now available starting from $999 on LAVA MUSIC, Amazon, and local guitar dealerships near you.
For more information, please visit store.lavamusic.com.