20 new pedals and effects units: September 2020

Our favourite new stompbox announcements, releases and rumours of the past month.

Every month, we compile a few lists of gear that’s fresh out of the oven. Here’s one devoted to new guitar pedals.

September 2020 was a rather huge month for guitar pedals, so let’s get into it.

Third Man x Coppersound Triplegraph

The Triplegraph
Image: Third Man

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First up is the Triplegraph, from Jack White’s Third Man, in conjunction with CopperSound Pedals. The digital octave unit features three morse-code telegraph keys, as well as an effects loop and a variety of operating modes.

The leftmost key triggers an octave down effect, while the rightmost key triggers an octave up sound. The middle key’s operation depends on the pedal’s mode – in Kill mode, the centre switch cuts off your dry sound – and when used in conjunction with the other switches, still lets your octave up or down sound come through.

In Auxiliary mode, the centre switch sends you signal through the pedal’s effects loop as its held down. The octave sounds boast zero-latency tracking, and can work in either momentary or latching modes. The keys themselves are made from aluminium and stainless steel, so should stand the test of time – and repeated stamping.

Thanks to its unique operation, the pedal can create some wild, distorted and glitchy and very Jack White sounds.

Hilbish Design Night Destroyer

Hilbish Design Night Destroyer Pedal
Image: Hilbish Design

Hilbish Design teamed with stoner rockers Red Fang to launch the limited-edition Night Destroyer, a preamp pedal based on the iconic Sunn Beta Lead – an amp that’s the basis for the band’s sound.

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The Night Destroyer features two independent channels. Each has level and gain controls, as well as a three-band EQ. There’s also a master volume output which both channels pass through. The only knobs missing from the original are independent reverb controls.

Footswitches on the Night Destroyer add much versatility to the original’s input manners. Formerly, users could plug into either channel, or both at the same time, whereas now they can stomp on a footswitch to toggle between channels or engage both together.

The Night Destroyer also features some rather extensive IO. The Line output can be used to drive a power amp directly, while the TRS balanced output can send signals directly to a mixing board. Plus, each channel features its own output, and Hilbish suggests could be used to send your low-end to one cabinet, and highs to another.

Red Witch Fuzz God IV

Red Witch Fuzz God IV
Image: Red Witch Pedals

The fourth iteration of Red Witch’s Fuzz God pedal has arrived, and this time, the New Zealand pedal maker says that the Fuzz God IV is the “most dial-able fuzz on the planet”.

The Fuzz God IV returns to a horizontal design, akin to the Fuzz God II. Its controls include three footswitches, three knobs and two mini-toggles.

From left to right, foot switches engage the effect, an Octavia circuit, and a Wrath Oscillation mode. To quickly find out what mode you’re in, you can refer to the tri-colour LED located in the top. Red indicates that the fuzz is engaged; blue means it’s in Octavia mode; violet corresponds to fuzz with Octavia; Cyan denotes fuzz with Wrath oscillation, and White means that the fuzz, Octavia and Wrath are all engaged.

Knobs include a master volume, a fuzz knob, and ‘Wrath’ and ‘Sputter’ controls. Turning the ‘Sputter’ knob clockwise produces a more smooth signal, while going counterclockwise introduces more sputtery, squelchy fuzz goodness.

Located internally is an eight-way dip switch which offers even more in terms of tonal variety. These make changes to the tone and gain of the Fuzz God IV, and a total of 264 combinations are available.

Strymon NightSky

Strymon Nightsky
Image: Strymon

Strymon has announced the NightSky, the latest and most experimental member to join its ‘Sky’ line of reverb pedals.

NightSky combines a reverb core with deep pitch-shifting, modulation, filtering and even step sequencing capabilities. It encourages sonic exploration and, because of its analogue synth-like talents, Strymon has taken to calling the pedal a “reverberant synthesis workstation”.

To start, you get three reverb textures in the decay section. Sparse mode spaces out reflections so that each is audibly distinct, Dense mode is immediate and similar to a plate reverb, and Diffuse mode lets you achieve slow-rising, ambient swells.

The mod section gives you six waveforms to apply onto three selectable targets: the reverb core, the pitch-shifter or the filter for especially synth-like sounds.

On NightSky, Strymon has also expanded the beloved shimmer function from the BigSky and BlueSky. In addition to the octave up interval, you can now also set shimmers to 2nd, 4th and 5th intervals – both upwards and downwards.

Giving you even more control over the reverb’s character, you can set the Glimmer to either high or low to accentuate upper and lower frequency harmonics. Plus, the Drive switch lets you introduce harmonic saturation at either the input or output of the NightSky.

One of the NightSky’s most exciting features is the eight-step sequencer. This lets you cycle between different intervals either manually or to a tap tempo. The manner in which notes transition between one another can also be set to smooth (portamento), by half-steps or even to a particular scale.

Infinite mode is the NightSky’s hold function, which freezes your guitar signal indefinitely. Meanwhile, Morph lets you transition smoothly between two presets for dramatic shifts in texture. Up to 16 presets can be stored and accessed on the NightSky itself, while connecting an external controller gives you access to 300 presets in total.

As for connectivity, the pedal has a huge amount: stereo/mono inputs and outputs; an expression input; a USB jack for MIDI control and for receiving firmware updates, and MIDI in and out.

Boss OC-5

The Boss OC-5
Image: Boss

Boss has announced The OC-5, a new octave pedal that puts a modern spin on the OC-2 from 1982.

The pedal uses up-to-date tracking technology to offer speedy octavisation of your tone, with separate controls for blending dry, octave up, octave down and two octaves down.

A mode switch on the face of the pedal allows you to switch to ‘vintage’ mode, a monophonic faithful recreation of the OC-2’s original sound. Flicking it over to Poly mode, and the pedal happily tracks full chords. In this mode, there’s a ‘lowest range’ setting to apply the octave effect only to the lowest note in a chord for a bassline-esque accompaniment. A direct-out also lets you use it as a wet-dry tool.

MXR’s FOD Drive

MXR FOD Drive
Image: Dunlop

MXR has announced the FOD Drive, a drive pedal that lets you blend two powerful ‘amp stack’ circuits in a single compact enclosure.

Both drives were modelled closely after a pair of modified guitar amplifiers of a ‘legendary’ make. One, MXR says, offers a highly scooped high-gain tone, while the other emphasises on punchy midrange character.

For each circuit, there are independent gain and volume controls. When you’ve crafted your ideal version of each, the blend knob then lets you mix the two signals together. There’s also a tone knob, which affects the EQ of the overall blended signal. Meanwhile, a scoop switch lets you choose between flat, scooped, or boosted mid-range voices.

According to MXR, the basis of the pedal was to recreate the experience of playing through two amp stacks at once.

“Pros and tone chasers have been combining amplifiers on stage and in the studio for years, blending their sounds together and opening up new tonal palettes for exploration,” the brand said. “Thanks to MXR’s award-winning team of engineers, you can recreate that experience right from your pedalboard.”

The FOD Drive is priced at $242.84 and will be available ‘soon’.

Dunlop x Tom Morello Cry Baby Wah

Dunlop Tom Morello Cry Baby Wah
Image: Dunlop

Dunlop has announced a limited edition Cry Baby Wah for Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello.

The Tom Morello Cry Baby Wah sports a custom red enclosure, wrapped in quotes selected by the guitarist himself.

The pedal specs are identical to that of the stalwart Cry Baby GCB95 – which Morello has used on “every album and every tour through his career”, according to Dunlop. The GCB95 is best known as the modern incarnation of the original Cry Baby Wah, first introduced in 1966.

Compared to the original, the GCB95 has a more focused high-end and more aggressive wah characteristics. It’s also known to be especially hardy, thanks to a heavy-duty die-cast housing and a Hot Potz Potentiometer tested to a million cycles.

The Tom Morello Cry Baby Wah features two quotes on its sides: “You don’t need a weapon when you were born one” and “Sometimes history needs a push”. According to the brand, these were chosen specifically to “highlight the battle for justice that [Morello has] dedicated his craft and career to”.

Eventide Blackhole

Eventide Blackhole
Image: Eventide Audio

Eventide has launched the Blackhole pedal, a stompbox edition of its famed reverb algorithm.

The effect has been a regular inclusion on Eventide multi-effects processors since its introduction on the classic DSP4000. This standalone edition offers the depth of the original effect in a user-friendly package, with no more screens to contend with.

Like the original, you get to tailor-make your own reverb sound through a host of powerful controls.

The Size and Gravity knobs used together is an especially potent combination. The former lets you control the effect’s dimensions, while the latter sets the amount of normal or inverse decay on reverb tails. When used together, reverbs can go from ‘cartoonishly small’ to ‘limitless’.

Onboard are also two distinct ‘infinite reverb’ modes which you can trigger via footswitch. Freeze lets you hold the effect indefinitely, and jam over an everlasting tail. Meanwhile, Infinite Mode lets you cascade effects atop each other for increasingly dreamy results.

The Blackhole pedal gives you five presets to play with, but with a MIDI controller, you can access a total of 127 on the fly. While in a preset, Catch-Up mode also be switched on to avoid abrupt changes in sound when tweaking parameters.

Connecting an external expression controller opens the Blackhole to greater performance options. You can assign a foot expression to the Mix control for mid-performance blending, or even to the Feedback knob for sudden bursts of self-oscillation.

Big Ear Albie

Big Ear Pedals Albie
Image: Big Ear Pedals

Nashville-based pedal maker Big Ear has launched the Albie, a multi-effects stompbox which it described as an ‘ambient modulator’.

The digital pedal offers eight ‘settings’ – each inspired by “the jangly, shimmering, modulated sounds associated with the new wave and post-punk music of the 70s and 80s.”

In actuality, each ‘setting’ is a carefully curated chain of effects (or stack, as Big Ear calls them).

Albie features just two knobs: Effect and Blend. The former lets you cycle between chains (stacks), while the latter acts as a wet/dry control.

There’s a single footswitch on the Albie, but it has two functions. Stepping once engages or bypasses the pedal, while holding down activates a secondary effect setting for each stack.

Big Ear named these secondary settings ‘Neil Modes’ after Neil Graham of Dr. Scientist. According to the brand, Graham programmed the Albie’s code and secondary settings.

Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork+

Electro Harmonix Pitchfork Plus
Image: Electro Harmonix

Electro-Harmonix has launched the Pitch Fork+, a feature-packed update to their classic pitch-shifter/harmony pedal.

At the core of the Pitch Fork+ are a pair of independent pitch-shifting engines. Each is able to raise or lower signals by three octaves. And for finer adjustments, there’s also the ability to detune upwards or downwards by 99 cents.

In addition to a dry input level knob, there are volume controls for each pitch-shifting engine. You also get two outputs, Main and Aux, with multiple routing options. There are also eight operating modes, which include X-Mod, where you can create ring mod-type sounds and an improved Momentary mode.

The user footswitch is assignable to a host of parameters. You can use it to trigger a mute, make quick pitch shifts or even cycle between presets on the fly.

For even more control, you can hook up an external expression or CV controller to the pedal. This lets you assign out an array of parameters such as frequency, glissando and volume.

Each Pitch Fork+ comes preloaded with 10 unique presets, and you can store up to 100 in total.

Mojo Hand FX Little Wonder

Mojo Hand FX Little Wonder
Image: Mojo Hand FX

Mojo Hand FX has introduced the Little Wonder stompbox, a sized-down version of its Wonder Filter pedal. The pedal is the Texas-based brand’s take on the coveted Mu-Tron filter pedal from the 70s.

The Little Wonder simplifies the control section of its bigger brother, making it more straightforward to dial in envelope filter tones. A two-way switch lets you choose between low- or band-pass filtering modes. The former dials back on high frequencies, while the latter slopes off the highs and lows, akin to a wah effect.

You can fine-tune the ‘sharpness’ of the filter with the peak control, which shapes signals to go from a smooth roll-off, to a full-on quack attack at the extremes.

The gain knob on the other hand helps the pedal adapt to your instrument and playing dynamics. It tweaks the input sensitivity of the envelope without introducing colouration to the overall signal.

Finally, the blend pot lets you set the right balance between your instrument’s dry signal and the effect’s. This could be especially handy for bass players looking to add a touch of filtered character to a carefully crafted bass tone.

The Little Wonder is set to release 25 September 2020 at $149.

Neunaber Wet Reverb, Seraphim Shimmer and Echelon Echo

Neunaber Pedals
Image: Neunaber

Neunaber has launched updated versions of its Wet Reverb, Seraphim Shimmer and Echelon Echo stompboxes. Each now features two selectable algorithms, top mounted jacks, a clean black look and more.

The Wet Reverb v5 pedal gains a new W3T reverb algorithm culled from the Immerse MK II pedal and plug-in.

The Seraphim Shimmer v2 – which combines a reverb and a shimmer layer – adds the shimmer algorithm from the Immerse Mk II pedal and plug-in, in addition to the original.

Echelon Echo v2 now features two effects, adding on a Lo-Fi delay for vintage, crackly flavour, in addition to the original’s Hi-Fi Tape Echo – which gives you the high-frequency saturation of magnetic tape, and modulation for richness and colour.

Each pedal also offers a simplified control layout with just three knobs, including a mix knob that lets you blend the effect with your dry signal. There’s also the ability to decide how trails are handled: whether they fade off naturally, or cut off when bypassing the effect.

Walrus Audio Julianna

The Walrus Julianna
Image: Walrus Audio

Walrus Audio has announced the Julianna, a chorus/vibrato pedal that iterates on its popular Julia.

The pedal sports a few similar takeaways to the Julia, namely the rate, depth and lag controls – as well as the dry-chorus-vibrato blend knob. The d-c-v knob, as it’s labelled, allows you to gradually change between a fully dry signal, to a mix of dry and modulated, to just the modulated signal. The depth control, according to Walrus, ranges from smooth, subtle chorus to completely seasick pitch drifting.

Like the Julia, there’s a toggle switch to select wave shape, with the familiar sine and saw waves present. The Julianna, however, makes the addition of a third ‘random’ wave shape for a more chaotic modulation of your pitch.

The Julianna also features stereo in/out jacks, as well as a secondary momentary footswitch for tap tempo, or a quarter-inch jack on the side for external tap tempo usage. A toggle switch located next to the waveform switch no selects between quarter note, triplet or eighth note tempo division of the tempo set with this function.

One of the most dramatic additions to the Julia formula is the secondary LFO speed function – you can now ramp up or down gradually to another rate from the primary speed as you press and hold the pedal’s momentary switch. For feet-free LFO speed modulation, there’s also the new ‘Drift’ mode, which gently speeds up and slows down the pedal’s rate over time.

Skreddy Pedals Super 100

Skreddy Pedals Super 100
Image: Skreddy Pedals

Skreddy Pedals has launched the Super 100, an amp emulator based on the 100-watt Marshall Super Lead, promising the “grunt and power” of a very loud British-voiced tube amp.

According to Marc Ahlfs, Skreddy Pedals owner and designer, the Super 100 was conceived to “do justice to the cranked-amp live tones of Hendrix and Page”.

The pedal largely stays true to the original Super Lead, especially in how it plays with other gain pedals. Pushing the circuit with an additional booster, overdrive, distortion or fuzz pedal will get it going “over the top” – although, on its own, the Super 100 will still distort with the round, almost chunky characteristics of the original.

For controls, there’s a master volume pot, a drive control, a three-band EQ and a sag knob, which is routed to control an optical compressor/limiter circuit to either tighten or open up the pedal’s overall output.

The Super 100 comes as the latest of amp emulation stompboxes from Skreddy Pedals. The brand’s two previous pedals, the Twangophile and Rubber Soul, model a classic American tube combo and small British tube combo, respectively.

Mateus Asato x Jackson Audio El Guapo Overdrive/Distortion

Jackson Audio El Guapo
Image: Jackson Audio

Mateus Asato – who will be making an appearance at Guitar.com Live later this October – has teamed up with Jackson Audio on a brand new dual-drive pedal, the El Guapo Overdrive/Distortion.

The El Guapo features two independent drive circuits. The overdrive section is modelled after the classic Marshall Plexi, while the high-gain distortion draws from the iconic JCM800. According to Jackson Audio, this combination promises to deliver the “soulful overdriven tones” and “liquid high-gain tones” which Asato often uses.

Each circuit also offers four clipping options, which are cycleable by holding down on its corresponding footswitch.

The distortion circuit’s clipping options include a Marshall Guv’nor style; ProCo Rat Style, and two Suhr Riot Style. Meanwhile, the overdrive circuit offers players a choice between a vintage Marshall style; Tube Screamer style, as well as both asymmetrical and symmetrical clipping options.

Both drive circuits share an active three-band Baxandall-style EQ, but feature independent controls for gain, tone and volume.

For an even more versatile performance, there’s also a Gain Cycle feature, which lets players jump between gain stages on the fly. This divides the user-set gain by four equal parts and lets players jump between each by pressing down both footswitches simultaneously.

Dusky Electronics Augustus

The Augustus
Image: Dusky Electronics

Dusky Electronics has announced the Augustus, a new octave fuzz pedal in the spirit of the late-60s Octavia pedal.

The small octopus-adorned unit achieves its octave fuzz sound by folding your signal into itself, doubling its frequency and according to Dusky Electronics, “severely mangling the waveform in the process.”

The controls’ unique names are Meat (bass response), Light (treble character), More (volume) and finally a much larger Heat knob – which controls the gain.

The pedal features MOSFET input and output amps, as well as a high-impedance input buffer to allow for consistent operation wherever the pedal is in a chain. Dusky electronics also notes that the pedal’s wide frequency range means it’s happy working with bass and synth signals as well as guitar.

Poppy Dual Boost

Flower Pedals Poppy Dual Boost
Image: Flower Pedals

Flower Pedals has announced the Poppy Dual Boost, a pedal that packs two slightly different clean boost pedals into a single enclosure: The white and red poppies.

The two sides have slightly different controls and different circuit topologies. The Red Poppy is the same opamp based boost circuit from Flower Pedals’ mini Poppy pedal. It has three controls: Boost, Tone, and Bump. Boost and tone do what you’d expect, while the Bump introduces a hump in the EQ curve – boosting a certain area of frequency, which is set by the tone control.

The White Poppy is a newly-designed circuit, making use of JFET transistors and a Baxandall tone circuit for a more tube amp-like tonal quality. The White Poppy’s controls are the straightforward arrangement of Boost, Treble and Bass.

The pedal also notably features extra in and out jacks, allowing you to run pedals in between the two sides – for example, using one side to get more gain out of drive pedals, and the other as a clean volume boost for solos. And For maximum clean headroom, the pedal transforms its standard 9V power supply up to 18V

Electro Harmonix Mainframe

The EHX Mainframe
Image: EHX / Alamy

And finally, Electro-Harmonix has launched its Mainframe, a pedal that offers old-school digital sounds alongside some new additions to the bitcrusher format.

The pedal can reduce your signal’s sample rate from 48kHz all the way down to 110Hz – and reduce your bit depth down from 24-bit to 1-bit. At lower settings, your guitar signal less resembles a guitar and more resembles a ZX Spectrum that’s having a hard time reading a copy of Horace Goes Skiing. That’s not to say it’s only fully-glitched-out sounds on offer, as it can also achieve smoothly-tracked synth-esque lead lines.

Normally, when audio is processed digitally, it’s chopped up into samples. To get something resembling normal, organic audio, this has to be done incredibly quickly. Even retro formats like CDs use a whopping 44.1kHz, meaning the analogue source is being ‘sampled’ that many times in a second. The detail per sample is referred to as bit depth: for example, CDs use 16-bit bit-depth, meaning each of those tiny slices is represented by 16 bits (1s or 0s) of information.

The Mainframe, and other bit crushers, let you reduce the quality of that processing to introduce the audio artefacts associated with early digital sounds – squarewave-esque bleeps and bloops.

The pedal’s main section of controls sports knobs for volume, blend, bit-depth reduction and sample-rate reduction. A secondary section allows you to control a filter, switchable between a high-pass filter, a low-pass filter and a band-pass filter.

Expression pedal input also lets you ramp between two presets, sweeping multiple controls with your feet. This can be used, for example, to slowly glide down into glitchy chaos, or do stabs back into sonic clarity.

It can also operate in what EHX calls ‘Sample Rate Tuning Mode’, which can either match the sample rate to the key of a song or track your playing and adjust sample rate accordingly. Set to an interval above your signal, this can also introduce a unique, glitchy harmonisation.

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