A deep dive into pedal compression possibilities.
Rich, authentic, and plentiful sounds on tap. Easy to use basic functions. Deep, flexible programmability.
Getting the most from the Atlas likely requires more work than some analog purists or traditional-pedal seekers might want to put in.
Source Audio Atlas
The divide between pedal compressors and professional studio stuff has always been pretty wide. More recently, though, crafty digital builders have wrangled sound closer to studio-grade in stompboxes—Origin Effects’ Cali76 line or Strymon’s Compadre, for instance. The new Atlas Compressor from Source Audio takes that effort to new heights. It’s a simple 4-knob comp when you want it to be, or an almost limitlessly adjustable compression utility tool when you need more control. And, as we’ve experienced in many clever Source Audio releases, there’s lots more lurking behind the streamlined face of the pedal.
It’s helpful to think of the Atlas as an amalgam of guitar pedal, studio compressor, and software plug-in. And the fact that it moves between the three worlds is cool, because while you don’t have to obsessively pore over every feature and possibility to make great sounds, you can take a very deep dive into its impressive under-the-hood capabilities. Those capabilities are too extensive to cover completely here. But the ability to move between simplicity and complexity is a big part of what makes the Atlas so fun and capable.
The Atlas comes with six basic compressor modes, which you access via the 3-way toggle. Studio 76 (an 1176-style comp), optical rack (an LA-2A), and dual band are available in standard mode. Studio snap (an aggressive VCA comp emulation), cubic zirconia (a more textured LED optical compression), and dual jangle are accessed via the “alt” button. Those six modes alone provide a wealth of tone massaging options, but additional programmability extends the possibilities of those modes significantly.
The ability to move between simplicity and complexity is a big part of what makes the Atlas so fun and capable.
The Atlas comes in Source Audio’s more compact One Series enclosure, an extruded-aluminum box that measures 4.5" x 2.75" x 2"—knobs and all. The four knobs control threshold, ratio, blend, and output, but also function as gain, tone, attack, and release when you press the alt button. The same button enables the 1/8" TRS control input, which can be connected to a dual expression pedal (not included) and other features. Additionally, the footswitch can be configured for analog-buffered output or relay-based true bypass.
Inputs 1 and 2 and outputs 1 and 2 mean the Atlas can be used in true stereo with the dual comp engine set appropriately. There’s also a USB port for MIDI functionality and connection to Android and iOS devices or Source Audio’s powerful Neuro Editor, which is where the lion’s share of the pedal’s extended capabilities lie. Neuro enables detailed and comprehensive preset editing and facilitates loading sounds into the pedal itself. And the potential for control via mobile devices makes live access and on-the-fly changes possible at a gig. Have I mentioned the bass optimization mode, 128 user presets, Neuro preset sharing, and look-ahead mode? Again, there’s little room to cover those in detail here, but Atlas is rich with sounds that you’ll miss if you just plug in and play.
I tested the Atlas with a tweed Fender and Marshall-style amps as well as a Les Paul and Rickenbacker 365, and these very simple rigs yielded a dizzying number of possibilities. Fundamentally, the Atlas sounds good—as in really good. If you’ve done the rounds with all the great compressor pedals currently available and never found the example that nails the sound you’re looking for, the Atlas’ expansive, minutiae-level controllability could make it the one that does the trick. I turned most often to variations of the optical mode—perhaps because it offered a compressor template most familiar to my ears. But within just that one style of comp, the Atlas offered what felt like near-infinite adjustability—everything from singing, sustaining, squash-and-swell sounds to detailed, harmonic-rich, and muscular jangle.
Digital compression is not easy to execute at this level of detail. So, the quality and number of sounds here is genuinely impressive. The core sounds would probably fool a lot of analog studio hounds. It’s impressively quiet, too. And while the Atlas’s basic sounds are compelling, its editability and preset capabilities can lead to unexpected discoveries and cool performance possibilities. You’ll need to spend some time with the manual, but the Atlas pays major dividends to those willing to study up
Source Audio Atlas Compressor Demo | First Look
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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.