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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A pedal that forces you to rage and riff.

Excellent Marshall-style tones. Very interactive EQ section.

Available gain may fall short for some metal players. Presence control is subtle.

$189

MXR Tom Morello Power 50 Overdrive
jimdunlop.com

4.5
5
4.5
4.5

One of the great joys of any guitar journey is stumbling on happy accidents. Tom Morello has made an entire career of turning those accidents into timeless riffs and signature “non-guitar” sounds. So it’s no surprise that Morello’s signature MXR Power 50 Overdrive, which is ostensibly built for Marshall-in-a-box tones, delivers those sounds with a twist.

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A classic brand’s colorful return to the stompbox fray is marked by equally vibrant sounds.

The resurrection of Maestro as a stompbox-building concern has been a real breath of fresh air. With their colorful, substantial enclosures and illuminated bugle logos, Maestro’s five new stomps recall an era when effects pedals were still, thrillingly, working through their infancy. Call them retro if you want, but they look awesome, offer practical functionality, and sound great by just about any measure.

The beauty of Maestro’s stomps runs deeper than cool, colorful enclosures. There are a lot of compelling and often distinctive sounds in these effects. And with the promise of even more new releases before the end of 2022, it’s hard to not be excited about what oddities and original sounds might lie in wait. But for now, these new cornerstone introductions suggest that Maestro is embracing the creative possibilities of an new all-analog pedal line and aiming for sounds and functionality that offer real alternatives on the more accessible side of the cost spectrum.

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