gurus amps

Another year, another dazzling parade of pedals, guitars, amps, modelers, and accessories that made our noggins spin.


Fractal Audio Systems AX8

Fractal Audio System’s rackmount Axe-Fx units awakened many players to the possibilities of digitally modeled amps, cabinets, and effects. The AX8 puts Fractal’s realistic modeling technology into the pedalboard format and provides plenty of juice for most applications. The ruggedly built unit sounds stellar, and if you invest the effort to get acquainted with this open-ended device, you’re likely to be inspired.

$1,299 street

Click here to read the full review

This year’s Premier Gear Award winners are, as usual, an eclectic set—full of old-school vintage homage, leading-edge digital developments, and imaginative meetings of those worlds. Dig in and dig it as we revisit the gear that fired the enthusiasm and wonder of our editors and contributors in 2017.

Versatile controls mean a multitude of sounds in this cool Italian OD.

As one of few Italian manufacturers making headway in the American effects market, Gurus has already generated buzz for tube-driven pedals like the 1959 Double Decker overdrive, the Echosex 2 Ltd. Echorec-style delay, and the Optivalve compressor. The Sexydrive MkII pedal isn’t tube driven, but it works beautifully with your tube amp to induce sweeter and earlier breakup for everything from textured crunch rhythms to singing lead tones.

The newest version of the Sexydrive is a medium-gain overdrive that cites no single inspiration, but delivers appealingly musical and richly saturated tone with a lot more versatility than the average OD. It also uses an interesting buffer system rather than going the popular true-bypass route, using three extremely transparent buffers—one on the input and two on the output—to keep your signal intact and help deliver it on through other pedals and long cable runs to your amp.

You can definitely hear elements of a modified Tube Screamer, except that it has a much more balanced voicing.

Six Pack
Keys to the Sexydrive MkII’s versatility can be found in the EQ section and band controls. In place of a standard single tone control, this pedal has a full three-knob EQ stage with bass, middle, and treble, while a balance control enables any desired ratio of dry-to-dirty signal.

This latter knob is worth paying attention to: It provides seemingly endless shades of gain from the Sexydrive MkII, plus the ability to keep your signal crisp and articulate. And some of the sounds have the dimension and definition artists achieve by using two-amp rigs in the studio.

Read MoreShow less

An updated version of their flagship pedal with a few added improvments.

Faenza, Italy (July 24, 2017) -- With the Echosex 2°, which will stay in production, Gurus wanted to recreate that kind of magic of the “old Italian Echo” units, but with more versatility, reproducing one of the most used and useful setting, the single head, and give the possibility to set the delay time as in a modern pedal, to bring that magic sound and extend its musical applications. Musicians like Steve Lukather who uses it for all of his soloing parts.

But now, Gurus wanted to raise the bar, and fixed two important goals for this new project:

Read MoreShow less