Paradox Effects Carmesí Review

A phaser that delivers lo-fi grit and warm glitches but keeps you in your comfort zone.

Easy to achieve classic phaser sounds. Envelope controlled settings are interactive and fun. Intuitive controls.

Some settings can become overwhelming in 8-stage mode.


Paradox Effects Carmesí


I'll admit to being a luddite when it comes to phasers, and I know I'm not the only one. All the great vintage models have only one or two knobs and great players have managed to do so much with so little for so long. Why change now? Isn't it kind of nice, when so many pedals have so many options, to have one effect that leaves us with little to think about?

When the Paradox Effects Carmesí arrived, I looked at its six knobs and two buttons and wondered if I wanted this much control. Why couldn't the folks at Paradox have made all of the decisions for me, wrapped up its functionality in one or two sleek knobs, and let me go on enjoying my willful ignorance? In the spirit of adventure, I took the metaphorical red pill, and I am happy to report that my eyes have been opened.

Recorded with G&L Legacy into Fender tweed Deluxe miked with a Shure SM57 running into an SSL 2+ and into Logic Pro with no EQ or effects. All clips recorded using 4-stage setting then 8-stage setting.
Clip 1: Velocidad and resonancia at 11 o'clock, intensidad at 1 o'clock, enfoque at 2 o'clock, both outputs at 11 o'clock.
Clip 2: Velocidad at 10 o'clock, resonancia at 3 o'clock, intensidad at 3 o'clock, enfoque at 2 o'clock, both outputs at 3 o'clock.
Clip 3: Sendero on. Alternating velocidad from slow to fast. Resonancia at 5 o'clock, intensidad at 3 o'clock, enfoque at 2 o'clock, both outputs at 11 o'clock.
Clip 4: Sendero on. Velocidad at 5 o'clock, resonancia at 12 o'clock, intensidad at 3 o'clock, enfoque at 2 o'clock, both outputs at 11 o'clock.

​Quick Translation

Paradox Effects are a Tijuana-based company whose pedals usually offer a tweaked take on traditional effects. Before I could dig into this pedal, I headed over to the Paradox site to translate the control names, which are in Spanish, before I could wrap my head around the controls.

Although the sight of all these knobs induced option anxiety, the controls are actually quite simple. The phaser has a vintage-like voice that is controlled by resonance, intensity, and velocity (rate) controls. These controls are all intuitive to use. There's also an "enfoque" knob, which controls a low-pass filter. I found this useful for tone sculpting, but a little subtle for my taste.

There are separate level controls for wet and dry output, so it's easy to dial-in very precise blends. Both of these knobs have heaps of gain on tap too, which is one of my favorite features of the Carmesí. This gives the pedal the flexibility to deliver thick synth-y modulations as well as heavily boosted lo-fi grit, which had my amp delivering irresistibly dirty, hypnotic desert blues phase sounds.

At high resonance levels, the pedal can sound almost like a synth as it begins to self-oscillate.

Subtle Sounds and Interactive Glitchiness

An LED-illuminated push-button control enables selection of 4- or 8-stage phasing. In 4-stage mode the signal is a little cleaner and attack is more even. In 8-stage mode the sound blossoms throughout the frequency range, which makes attack a little less precise, but makes the phase thicker. At high rate settings, the 8-stage setting can overwhelm the organic signal—which is cool if that's the goal. The 4-stage setting is easier to wrangle, so it's nice to have both settings at the push of a button.

The "sendero" button completely changes the character of the Carmesí by activating an envelope-controlled sample and hold function. With "sendero" on, the pedal is capable of glitchy unpredictability and interactive weirdness, though it impressively retains the warm, classic character found in other settings. At high resonance levels, the pedal can sound almost like a synth as it begins to self-oscillate. At more conservative levels, it offers a responsive, vocal-like modulation that I returned to again and again.

The Verdict

Carmesí is full of classic tones, lo-fi dirt, glitchy oddities, and everything in between. The controls are easy to understand and quick to navigate. There a plenty of phaser purists out there, but I'd encourage them to jump in and give the Carmesí a shot. This pedal has plenty of outlandish tones to offer, but it won't push you too far outside of your comfort zone when you want to stay traditional when you want to keep it simple.

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