Mojo Hand FX Releases the Clarity Compressor
Mojo Hand FX has unveiled the Clarity Compressor pedal, their newest original design. Blending user-friendly simplicity with sonic versatility, this American made pedal utilizes DSP technology to deliver clean, quiet and transparent compression. You may never want to turn off!
Its straightforward control set makes it easy to adjust your tone onstage. In addition to its compression and level controls, the Clarity compressor includes a Mix knob for blending in the straight, uncompressed signal – a quick, effective way to fine-tune your guitar's attack.
The pedal also allows you to choose between a switchable pair of compression styles. The "Slope" option delivers a smooth, relatively subtle compression function. The "Envelope" option engages a more noticeable "hard knee" limiter effect.
- Controls for Mix, Compression, and Level
- Push button selection for Slope or Envelope compression options
- True-bypass switching
- 9v, center negative power supply – no battery compartmentBaked-on, extremely durable new "vein" finish
- Made in USA, limited lifetime warranty
The Clarity Compressor carries a $139 MAP / street price and can be purchased at mojohandfx.com.
Universal Audio UAFX Golden Reverberator Review
Superb Universal Audio effects, now available for all, in stompbox size.
Superb spring, plate, and digital reverb tones. Logical interface. Solid construction. Compact size. Good price.
No MIDI. Power supply not included.
Universal Audio Golden Reverberator
Universal Audio's new UAFX guitar pedal line is genuinely newsworthy. The company's software emulations of vintage analog gear earn near-unanimous praise from producers and engineers. But until recently, UA software ran only on UA interfaces, such as the Apollo line of interface/preamp/convertors. That changed two years ago, with the release of the $1,299 OX Amp Top Box, a load box and speaker emulator incorporating several fine UA effects. And now UA effects are available in a relatively inexpensive stompbox format, thanks to the Astra Modulation Machine, Starlight Echo Station, and Golden Reverberator. Here, we focus on the reverb pedal.
The Golden Reverberator and its siblings share the same dimensions and control layout. The 5 ½" x 3 ½" x 1½" enclosure is slightly larger than a standard B-sized box. It has two footswitches, six knobs, and three mini-toggles. The audio and 9V DC jacks are top-mounted.
The pedal ships with nine reverb algorithms: three Fender-style spring simulations, clones of three analog EMT plates, and room and hall sounds from Lexicon's 224 unit. You can unlock three additional 224 effects after registration. (My audio clips include all 12 tones.) A four-core ARM processor does the heavy digital lifting.
Many reverb stompboxes sound decent enough, but they betray digital artifacts during quiet passages or long, exposed decays. Sometimes they have unwanted resonant frequencies that prevent the wet signal from meshing harmoniously with the dry tone. That's never the case here. Even the longest, quietest reverb tails maintain immersive warmth and detail. These are tones you'll want to bathe in.
The EMT and 224 algorithms sound nearly identical to their UA predecessors—and that's saying something! (I've been using UA's Apollo system for the better part of a decade, and I know these plug-ins well.) UA did an astounding job capturing the warmth and depth of an EMT plate, a huge and expensive hardware beast. In fact, UA based their models on the plates from the old Record Plant studios in Sausalito, California. I worked on many projects using those very plates, and, yes, the Golden Reverberator sounds and feels like a great hardware plate.
The pedal also conjures the sparkle and transparency of the Lexicon unit that helped define the sound of the 1980s. Meanwhile, the spring settings are something new from UA. Some of their amp-model plug-ins incorporate reverb, but their only previous standalone spring plug-in is a clone of the AKG BX20—a vintage outboard spring unit that sounds a little like a vintage-style Fender tank. The Golden Reverberator also nails that bouncy, percussive, and relatively trashy Fender sound.
Just Easy Enough
The controls are identical for all 12 algorithms. There are no confusing secondary functions. You can specify reverb length, pre-delay time, and wet/dry mix. There's bass and treble shelving EQ, plus a pot that adds pitch modulation to the wet signal. You choose algorithms via two mini-toggles. A third toggle lets you store a single sound in memory. That means you always have access to two reverb tones: a stored setting, and one reflecting the current control settings.
For the demo clips, I recorded a clean-toned passage and then re-amped it through the 12 algorithms—twice. You hear each algorithm with the effect in front of the amp, pedalboard-style. You also hear each setting as an effect send within my DAW. Naturally, the post-amp clips are more hi-fi, with greater frequency and dynamic range, plus lovely stereo imaging. These reveal the sheer quality of UA's processing. But the reverbs sound great upstream from the amp as well.
I dialed in "conventional" settings: spring reverb with no predelay or modulation, plate reverb with 20 ms or so of predelay, and Lexicon reverb with predelay and a touch of pitch modulation. But you could also get more creative with these models by, say, adding a long predelay and woozy pitch modulation to a straight spring sound.
The UAFX Golden Reverberator's tones stand head and shoulders above those of lower-priced stompboxes that employ relatively inexpensive "brick"-style processors or Spin FV-1 chips. But the $350-$500 price range includes fine-sounding reverb pedals from the likes of Strymon, Eventide, and Source Audio. Deciding which effect is "best" can be a subjective exercise.
But as someone who loves EMT 140 plate reverb above all other options, I can declare that the Golden Reverberator is now my favorite reverb pedal. Your tastes may differ—some rival algorithm may be closer to your ideal. But you can't deny that this pedal faithfully replicates three beloved retro reverbs. Factor in a lucid interface, solid construction, and a competitive price, and the Golden Reverberator is a total triumph.
Six Square Waves and a Manglephone
Inspired by a cult favorite, this decadently deviant "harmonizer" makes it an absolute breeze to indulge anti-tonal tendencies. The PG RPS Effects Arcade Machine review.
Fabulously freaky possibilities. Expression-pedal control maximizes mayhem potential by letting you scroll through all 11 intervals in real time.
Not for the tame. Masks the voice of virtually every pedal running into it, making signal-chain placement key.
RPS Arcade Machine
Ask adventurous pedal builders to name the coolest weird pedal ever, and there's a good chance you'll hear something about the Schumann Electronics PLL. RPS Effects' aptly named new Arcade Machine is the latest of many available PLL homages. While others have shrunken and simplified the approach (EarthQuaker Devices' Data Corrupter and Mantic's Flex being perhaps the best known), the Arcade Machine remains on the large side, though it does manage to cut the number of controls from Schumann's 15 to 11—and to label their functions much more self-evidently.
What unites all the aforementioned eff-things-up boxes is their use of "phase-locked loop" circuitry—which sounds nothing like what those individual terms might mean to most guitarists. Arcade Machine is an analog monophonic harmonizer that converts your signal to a square wave and lets you add up to five other pitches—up to two octaves above and/or below the source, plus one of 11 intervals. Sonically speaking, "square wave" should be the operative term rather than "harmonizer," as it all adds up to sounds reminiscent of vintage video games and/or old-school synths gone haywire. There are independent volume controls for all six pitches, while a gate knob instills a modicum of predictability vis-à-vis attack control, a vibrato circuit's depth and rate knobs govern agitative throbbing, and an expression/CV input vastly expands your ability to bleep-bloop-bloop and digitally mangle the $#!% outta your sound in ways sonic anarchists will deem patently glorious.
Test Gear: Squier Classic Vibe '70s Jaguar with Curtis Novak pickups, '76 Fender Vibrolux Reverb