A tiny and terrifically inexpensive ticket to spacious places.
Rugged, versatile, and easy to use. Super compact. Impressively affordable. Useful tone control.
Deeper settings can wash out the dry signal pretty quickly.
TC Electronic Skysurfer Mini Reverb
On the heels of its full-sized Skysurfer reverb pedal, TC Electronic has introduced the smaller and even more affordable Skysurfer Mini. TC, of course has a well-established and solid foundation in studio reverbs as well as a proven ability to miniaturize effects. And this tiny 3.9" x 2.2" x 2.2" metal box might just pack the most reverb value per-square-inch of any pedal out there.
The Little One
Though it's small, the Skysurfer Mini's control set matches that of its bigger sibling. That means knobs for reverb, mix, and tone (the latter of which alters the EQ profile of the reverb's decay, but not the dry signal). Just as on the bigger Skysurfer, there's a mini-toggle switch to select spring, plate, or hall reverb.
The footswitch is non-latching, there are mono input and output jacks, power comes from a 9V center-negative jack on the crown, and the pedal draws 100 mA. The enclosure itself feels impressively rugged. And perhaps my only hesitation with embracing such a conveniently small pedal is that my ham-footed size 11s might be just as likely to stomp the knobs as the switch on a dark stage. Such are the risks with most mini-pedals, but your level of care—or klutziness—may make such complications less of a factor.
I situated the Skysurfer Mini in front of a tweed Deluxe-style 1x12 combo and in the loop of a Friedman Mini Dirty Shirley 1x10 combo, using a Les Paul and a K-Line Springfield S-style. It didn't take me long to find several favorite settings.
Each reverb mode, including the spring, has personality and can be extremely effective and offer cool creative options when used right.
The unit's overall tonality is bright and lively, which lends the feel of hard-surface reflections to most settings, rather than the soft, hazy edges you hear in some room or well-aged plate or spring reverbs. But you can easily dial in warmer reverb tones with careful use of the tone knob. Reverb snobs may quibble with the reality of some vintage-style settings. The spring setting, for example, probably won't fool old pros into thinking they're running through a '63 Fender Reverb. Yet each reverb mode, including the spring, has ample personality and can offer cool creative options when used right. For atmospheric reverbs, I found the hall with reverb and mix around 11 o'clock spacious, lush, and appealingly dimensional. When it came to the spring mode, however, I liked more aggressive settings with everything set around 1 o'clock, which is a blast for surf-punk riff mongering.
While the perception of depth and delay varies in the spring, plate, and hall modes, the taper in each control seems to favor wet settings rather than a range of subtle wet/dry blends. Given that deeper settings audibly dull the impact of the dry signal, it's often wise to start from modest reverb settings and ease into deeper territory, where the fun is. That said, some of the bias toward wet signals is made possible by the flexible tone control, which can lend clarity to transients and enables exploration of much more deep and drenched reverb settings without creating a wash of harsh overtones in the reflections.
The Skysurfer Mini may not always deliver the same lushness or depth you get from complex and expensive digital reverbs, but it's ideal for compact grab 'n' go rigs. At $45, this relatively versatile digital reverb is a fantastic bargain. It sounds reasonably realistic to expansive in all modes, and while more traditional players might want to rein in the depth in most instances, more experimental players can take the Skysurfer Mini to very lush and huge-sounding spaces. If you're on a strict budget, the Skysurfer Mini Reverb is very hard to beat.
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Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Flare is a dual-function pedal with a tube-like booster and a 1970s-style ring modulator effect that can be played separately or together.
Flare’s ring modulator is based on the iconic tone of the original Dan Armstrong Green Ringer. This vintage classic was made famous by Frank Zappa who loved the unusual modulations created by generating a harmonic octave over notes. Messiah’s version offers two control knobs: a “Sparkle” tone attenuator and output Level control. Its taupe-gold body, purple and green knobs and stick-figure rock ’n’ roller holding up a flame convey an appropriately rockin’70s vibe.
In a unique twist, Messiah’s Flare pairs the ringer with a warm tube-style boost instead of a fuzz. Flare feeds the booster into the ringer for an extra punch, while preserving the Green Ringerspirit. The ringer side also turns any fuzz into an octafuzz, and it has the ability to quiet signal background noise fed through it.
The booster side features a single Boost knob to control the MOSFET circuit, making it very tube-amp-friendly with a warm, organic boost and gain of up to 32dB.
The pedal is a distinct improvement over the 1970s pedal that inspired it. “Most ringer pedals don’t track well,” Tom Hejda, owner of Messiah Guitars. “The player can’t rely on repeating the same effect even with the most consistently played notes. We carefully matched the components, so our ringer follows your every move, producing that slightly dirty octave you expect on demand.”
Messiah developed this vintage octave pedal with flexible features so that people who love that messy, dirty Zappa-esque sound can get there with ease but there’s also something for those who have not fallen in love with fuzz or the Green Ringer alone. Flare offers an array of sonic options while retaining simplicity in the controls.
Each Flair Pedal Includes:
- 3 control knobs: Boost, Sparkle, and Level
- Two effects – Ring Modulator and Boost – can be used together or separately
- Space-saving top side jacks
- Durable, cast aluminum alloy 125B enclosure with fun artwork
- Easy to see, illuminated True-bypass foot switch
- Standard 9V pedal power input
Flare Pedal Demo
Messiah Guitars pedals are designed with an explorative player in mind. Like their custom guitars and amplifiers, Messiah’s pedals are hand-crafted in Los Angeles for a long life with guaranteed quality.
Flare retails for $199.00 and can be purchased directly at Messiah Guitars or you can hear it in person at Impulse Music Co. in Canyon Country, CA.
For more information, please visit messiahguitars.com.
This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal.
If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and QUACKS like a duck, then it must be a duck. That's how we came up with the name for our new envelope filter. This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal. Trevor explains how this is possible in the launch video, as well as gives a demo on Le Canard’s operation.
The attack control determines how quickly the filter responds to the envelope, and the decay sets how quickly the filter releases afterward. The range controls which frequency spectrum the filter does its magic on. Add to this relay-based full-bypass switching with failsafe, and you've got one crazy little quacky beast. It is so expressive that you'll want to give up on your rocker-wah forever.
The MayFly Le Canard envelope filter features:
- Super fast responding envelope follower. Touch it and it jumps!
- Range control to dial in the character of the filter
- Attack control to control how fast the filter moves on that first touch
- Release control to control how slowly the filter slides back to baseline
- Full bypass using relays with Fail SafeTM (automatically switches to bypass if the pedal loses power)
- Cast aluminum enclosure with groovy artwork
- MSRP $149 USD ($199 CAD)
Introducing the MayFly Le Canard Envelope Filter
All MayFly pedals are hand-made in Canada.
For more information, please visit mayflyaudio.com.
Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more.
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.