Old Blood Noise Endeavors BL-82 Review
Variable clock control makes a unique mashup of modulation and delay.
Easy to use for trad’ sounds and experimentation. Unique LFO modulation. Cool delay capabilities.
No expression pedal capability. Lacks stereo output. Side-mount ¼” and DC jacks
Old Blood Noise Endeavors BL-82
Old Blood Noise Endeavors’ unique pedals tend to push back at stompbox convention. That’s certainly the case with the BL-82 Chorus Variable Clock Effector. It’s built around a Spin FV-1 digital reverb processor with two delay lines that are modulated by LFOs in opposing cycles. In this configuration, one delay line increases in pitch as the other decreases. And despite lacking stereo output, this novel modulation approach creates very complex chorus sounds in the BL-82. Chorus isn’t the only effect color on tap either. Because the delay lines each reach a maximum time of around 600 milliseconds, they permit various doubling, slapback, and long-delay effects too.
What’s Hiding in the Box?
Housed in a 1590B enclosure, the BL-82 sports a unique control set, including a diagonally mounted 35 mm slider for clock adjustments and three knobs, including mix, volume, and feedback. The clock slider adjusts delay time, modulation speed, and modulation depth simultaneously, while the feedback knob sets the intensity of the chorus, and, at high clock settings, the number of delay repeats. The utility of a wet/dry mix control is a welcome addition to almost any pedal, in my book—especially modulators where the wet/dry balance can recast the texture of the modulation significantly. Having that capacity pays off in a big way here. The output volume doesn’t generate tons of gain. It maxes out with what amounts to a slight boost—adding another gain staging point in multi-pedal setups and ensuring that there’s a minimum of perceived volume loss when the modulation is intense. While the pedal lacks stereo outputs and an expression input, those omissions are understandable when considering the pedal’s small footprint and affordable price.
Changing Times, Changing Clocks
The BL-82’s dual LFOs create evolving movement in relation to each other that, to my ears, is more immersive than a typical mono chorus. Increasing feedback takes the pedal from classic chorus sounds to heavier flange environments. Here, the LFO motion starts to fold back on itself, adding dimension and stretching the sound image. More than 50 percent feedback introduces hollow, metallic, and ringing flanger tones. At maximum it has the phasing resonance of a Boss BF-2 or Electric Mistress at their most extreme. But regardless of where you situate the pedal in the feedback range, the modulation speed and depth remain conservative, lending the hypnotic oscillation of a subtle phasing sweep to the interwoven flow of a multi-voice micro pitch shift.
Echoes and High Strangeness
Just shy of halfway on the clock slider, the delay time crosses over from creating chorusing effects to generating doubling and slapback sounds. Modulation speed gets faster, but the resulting warble is never overbearing. There are many useful sounds in this range. Low feedback mimics an echo-y rotary speaker, while high feedback transforms the signal to trippy pitch shifting spring reverb.
“When you push the clock slider beyond halfway, the BL-82 crosses into stranger territory.”
When you push the clock slider beyond halfway, the BL-82 crosses into stranger territory. As the delay lines modulate against each other in more peculiar ways, the repeats drift from predictable rhythmic patterns. Echo tails pitch up and down to dissonant notes, while a hint of lo-fi bit-crusher-like noise rides on the signal, adding to the weirdness. At high feedback and paired with a fuzz, the echoing walls of sound resemble the dreamy float of My Bloody Valentine’s stacked guitars.
While the BL-82 possesses brain-twisting modulation and an expansive delay, this pedal really shines when dialed back to milder settings. Despite simple controls, there’s an unexpected versatility thanks to the multi-parameter adjustment capabilities and the clock slider design. And overall, the BL-82 is an exceptional, unique effect, whether you’re looking for rich, traditional chorus or modulations with an experimental edge. It’s tough to be original in this day and age, but Old Blood Noise accomplished that in this fun-to-play modulator
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