pedal reviews

A maze of modulation and reverberations leads down many colorful tone vortices.

Deep clanging reverb tones. Unexpected reverb/modulation combinations.

Steep learning curve for a superficially simple pedal.

$209

SolidGoldFX Ether
solidgoldfx.com

4.5
4
4
4

A lot of cruel fates can befall a gig. But unless you’re a complete pedal addict or live in high-gain-only realms, doing a gig with just a reverb- and tremolo-equipped amp is not one of them. Usually a nice splash of reverb makes the lamest tone pretty okay. Add a little tremolo on top and you have to work to not be at least a little funky, surfy, or spacy. You see, reverb and modulation go together like beans and rice. That truth, it seems, extends even to maximalist expressions of that formula—like the SolidGold FX Ether.

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It’s the ’80s in a box—just add hair spray.

A portable, user-friendly path to tri-stereo chorus sounds. Presets make it easy to find ’80s guitar tones. Good analog BBD-style chorus tones. Sensitive controls allow for refined tweaking.

Dual-control knobs make it difficult to visualize settings.

$299

Eventide TriceraChorus
eventideaudio.com

5
4
4
4

The 1980s were a decade of big hair, big amps, and big guitar tones. But while those stacks of cabinets certainly made things louder, behind-the-scenes rackmount chorus and in particular, the tri-stereo chorus units available under various names such as Dyno-My-Piano, Dynotronics, and Songbird, did a lot to make ’80s guitar sound bigger still. Once these rackmount units reached the rigs of guitarists such as Michael Landau and Steve Lukather, pop radio didn’t stand a chance.

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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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