10 new pedals and effects units: February 2021

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

Universal Audio UAFX

Image: Universal Audio

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

Free The Tone Motion Loop

Free The Tone's Motion Loop
Images: Free The Tone

Free The Tone’s Motion Loop is a compact looping pedal with onboard pitch effects, filters, a reverse function and more.

To get the most out of the Motion Loop, the brand recommends pairing it with an expression pedal, which can be assigned to its different effects parameters. There’s also some soft clipping that helps loops stay smooth and not artificial or jumpy. You also get 128 user presets to store your favorite sounds and 35 factory presets to get started with.

The pedal lists for $350.

Hughes And Kettner Ampman

Hughes and Kettner's AmpMan Classic and Modern
Image: Hughes & Kettner

Hughes And Kettner is back with its latest pedalboard amplifiers. The Ampman series features two flavours: Classic and Modern. The former is vintage-voiced and offers classic rock drive tones, while Modern offers ‘pristine’ super cleans and high-gain drive tones.

Both models operate with the brand’s Spirit Tone Generator – also featured in the brand’s miniscule Spirit Nano Heads – which recreates the behaviour of tube amplifiers.

The AmpMan Modern and Classic are priced at €349.

Old Blood Noise Endeavors Split / Meld

Old Blood Noise Endeavors Split Meld
Image: Old Blood Noise Endeavors

If you’re already sitting on a trove of pedals and have only ever run them in series – meaning one after another – Old Blood’s latest utility pedal could be up your alley. The Split/Meld is a compact and very affordable passive router that opens up your rig to parallel processing.

It features interchangeable stereo and dual mono inputs and operates without power. This can be used a number of different ways. For example, you could run two fuzz pedals side by side, or even send your signal to an external board or amplifier.

The Split/Meld is available now at $29.

RJM Music Overture Overdrive

RJM Music's Overture
Image: RJM Music

RJM’s latest overdrive pedal, Overture, boasts a fully analogue signal path and a digital architecture. You get six discrete overdrive modes: Clean Boost, Crunch, Classic, Boutique, Versatile and Smooth. The latter four are based on classic and oft-cloned pedals.

The left side of the pedal is dedicated to a pre-boost circuit that goes all the way up to 12dB. Meanwhile, you can store up to eight presets onboard the pedal. You might have also noticed a USB-C port – that’s for connecting with PCs or a phone for power or installing firmware updates.

Reverb’s Pedal Movie: Limited-edition stompboxes

Way Huge Effect Pedal
Image: Reverb.com

Chase Bliss, Zvex, Walrus Audio and Way Huge announced some very special pedals for Reverb’s highly anticipated Pedal Movie. These limited-edition stompers are expected to sell out fast (if they haven’t already) – so best to keep an eye out if you’re aiming to pick one up.

Chase Bliss and Zvex renewed their collaboration on a second run of Bliss Factory fuzzes – this time sporting in a black anodised look. Meanwhile, Walrus Audio combined two of its popular OD units into the Warhorn/Ages. Finally, Way Huge reskinned two of its dirt pedals, the Saucy Box and Swollen Pickle, as the Beer and Effect Pedal, respectively.

Universal Audio UAFX

Universal Audio UAFX
Image: Universal Audio

Although technically announced at the end of January, we would be remiss to leave Universal Audio’s first-ever guitar pedals off our list. The UAFX pedals are a set of three vintage-minded effects: the Golden Reverberator, Starlight Echo Station and Astra Modulation Machine.

Each offers three different modes based on hardware from various eras of guitar effects and runs on UA’s own dual-processor UAFX engine. In the future, the brand also teased that we’ll be able to load in additional effects via USB.

See a demo of the Starlight Echo Station below:

The UAFX pedals will be available in Spring 2021 with a price tag of $399 each.

Wampler Ratsbane

Wampler's Ratsbane
Image: Wampler

Wampler’s Ratsbane offers a range of classic drive tones in an (appropriately) small enclosure. Its circuits and three-knob controls are based on a 1980s ProCo Rat, but there are also two mini-toggle switches for different gain and voicing modes.

Hear it out below:

The Ratsbane lists for $149.97.

BilT Revelator w/ Chase Bliss Blooper

BilT Revelator with Chase Bliss Blooper
Image: BilT Guitars via Instagram

This custom Revelator electric from BilT Guitars took the internet by storm, as it fits a Chase Bliss Blooper right into its body for colourful looping on-the-fly. The Blooper first released in 2019 to acclaim from guitarists and electronic music producers alike. It offered a unique take on layered looping that involves modifiers that affect pitch, speed and tone, as well as onboard effects.

El Diablo HEQ 1.2

El Diablo HEQ1.2
Image: El Diablo

El Diablo’s HEQ1.2 is an updated version of the Harmonic Equalizer that launched back in 2017. This new version is just as tweakable as its predecessor, featuring two sides: a harmonic distortion and a Baxandall EQ section.

Distortion is handled uniquely through two knobs, Edges and Expanse. The former shapes the envelope behaviour, saturation and gating, while the latter adjusts harmonic complexity, treble response and compression. This lets you achieve a rich and harmonically rich fuzz sound.

The pedal lists for $215.

Benson Amps Germanium Fuzz

Benson's Germanium Fuzz
Image: Benson Amps

This pedal gets its name from – you guessed it – its particular germanium transistors, which Benson Amps says can be tricky to source, thus they’re only building these when parts are available.

The Germanium Fuzz offers a smooth, ‘open’ fuzz sound and a special temperature regulator that keeps it operating consistently from zero °C to 38°C. Why the need for this? Germanium fuzzes can react finicky and sound different based on environmental conditions. In fact, this is one of the reasons fuzz patrons divide into silicon and germanium camps.

Boss TB-2W

Boss Tone Bender
Image: Boss

The hotly-anticipated Boss Wazacraft Tonebender was made available for pre-order last month – it’s priced at $349.99 and is available in a limited production run. This fuzz features rare germanium transistors “carefully tested for optimum tone” and sonic authenticity to its inspirer: the Sola Sound Tone Bender.

The Mk II Tone Bender is the same pedal Jimmy Page used across early Led Zeppelin records, as such, it is understandably sought after by tone hounds looking to own a piece of history.

For more buyer’s guides, click here.


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