guitar pedal review

So many varied ways to phase for days.

Sweet, distinct phase voice. Resonance, mix, range, and volume controls expand tone-shaping possibilities significantly. High quality.

Expensive.

$279

Spaceman Explorer
spacemaneffects.com

4.5
4.5
4.5
4

Spaceman effects tend to be cherished, treasured, and, in some cases, driven to insane resale market prices because they reliably sound fantastic. But Spaceman pedals are also rare creatures. And even its most popular pedals tend to come and go—often disappearing before real players can beat collectors to the punch. The analog, 6-stage optical Explorer phaser, however, is the unusual Spaceman pedal that is reappearing in the wild after a hiatus. It returns in a more compact enclosure. But this time out the Explorer offers access to six additional waveforms that build on an already expansive modulation vocabulary.

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This compact box is a monster tone generator, with a dozen analog-synth-based core sounds and 171 variable presets, plus expansive tweakability.

A staggering amount of classic and otherworldly sounds that are easy to shape. Compact enclosure. Easy to use.

Really? There’s 171 preset voices and they’re not listed in the manual?

$299

Boss SY-200
boss.info

4
5
4.5
5

Roland produced the first guitar synthesizer, the GR-500, in 1977. It was cumbersome—requiring multiple rack spaces or a tabletop stand, and a special guitar outfitted with hexaphonic pickups. Problems with latency and tracking were all too real, as anyone who tried bending a note learned. But, with the right coddling, they sounded heavenly. Check out David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes” to hear the GR-500 at its best.

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The king of bucket brigade echoes downsizes and brightens its voice.

Impressive ability to replicate big-box DMM functionality in a compact stomp. Extra toppiness sounds great in slapback settings.

Modulation controls can feel vague. Might be too bright for some DMM traditionalists. Modulation features may not justify extra expense over comparable BBD delays.

$203

Electro-Harmonix Nano Deluxe Memory Man
ehx.com

4.5
4
4
3.5

Any time I go anywhere to record anything, I bring along an old Deluxe Memory Man as insurance. I’m not sure I can say that about any other instrument, pedal, or amplifier. As anyone who has used one knows, it’s a beautifully moody sounding echo. It’s also a brilliant design: an ergonomic, interactive, and handsome pedal that, at times, feels almost alive.

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