About a year ago, I managed to score a lot of pedals by not a lot a money. Most of them have had a comfortable life, in their boxes, in a shelf at home. Still, I remember I brought them, and decide to take one out of the box to test and see what they have to offer. Now, as many of you know, I have a thing for phasers (specially the Behringer VP-1), so it made perfect sense to add this pedal to my collection. The Behringer SP400 is a digital, monophonic phaser pedal made back in the day Behringer wasn’t too busy releasing spoof’s of possible future products. It might not sound as vintage and warm has the VP-1, but it has some interesting features I wanted to convey in the video demo bellow.
The build quality of the SP400 is similar to all other Behringer pedals of the 400 series: it has a blue plastic chassis with relatively firm knobs and the overall feel brings it closer to the 600 series than to the rather flimsy and fragile 200 and 300 series. Continue reading “Behringer SP400 Super Phase Shifter”
A few weeks ago I managed to score a rarity on e-bay: an almost new Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine. This is an old Behringer pedal (perhaps one of their earliest models) that is no longer in production, and hasn’t been for a long time. It is not an expensive pedal (usually it goes for less than 100€ on e-bay), but it is hard to come by. It is an analogue delay effects pedal, with some interesting features.
The first word that comes to mind when I think of this pedal is “Huge”. This pedal, like the VT999, is bigger than my volcas. It is also considerably heavy and can only be powered from a 9V power supply (center pin negative, like most pedals). In fact, the similarities with the VT999 Vintage Tube Monster are so many, I think the level knob on the VM1 is there only to accommodate the number of knob holes on the casing for the VT999. They were also made at about the same time and are fully analogue effects pedals. Both have a power switch on the back, but the effect is only engaged when you press the stomp switch on the front.
Taking a tour of the controls on the VM1, you’ll find the stomp switch and five knobs on the front panel: LEVEL, MIX, FEEDBACK, DELAY and CHORUS/VIBRATO. On the back panel, you have the power socket, an ON/OFF switch, one INPUT socket (6.5mm unbalanced TS mono), an EFFECT OUT socket and also a DIRECT OUT socket that send the unaffected dry signal. You also have a switch to select between CHORUS and VIBRATO as the modulation for the delay effect. This latter feature is a great addition I do not see very often on delay pedals at this price point, and greatly enhances the expressiveness of anything going through this pedal. There are also two LED indicators for POWER and for OVERLOAD. Continue reading “Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine”
Some time ago I got a deal on a pack of 10 behringer pedals on sale. Most of the pack was made by chorus pedals, such as the UC200, but there were also some other effects, such as this TP300 Ultra Tremolo/Pan, which I demo in the video bellow.
As you probably already know, Tremolo is an amplitude effect, in which the volume of the instrument varies in time in a periodic fashion. This can be easily achieved on most synths by modulation the output amplifier with a LFO. But the Volca Keys doesn’t have this routing available, or you may have already used all your LFO resources on other modulation. This is where a Tremolo Effect (either in hardware or software) can be useful when playing a synth. Similarly, the auto PAN feature of this pedal can also be done by routing an LFO to the PAN of the amplifier… provided your synth as a stereo output, and that routing is available.
Yesterday, a small box entered my home. It is the Stylophone Gen X-1. Apparently, this is an upgraded version of the original stylophone David Bowie plays in the Space Oddity video clip. As many of you know, I have a soft spot in my heart for small noisy machines, and this one promises to be much more than that, so for 60 euros, I went forward and brought the thing.
The first thing you notice when taking the stylophone out of the box is that it it light, but not so light that it feels like a toy. The box is solid and doesn’t appear to bend easily. The knobs on the front panel are very similar to the ones you find on the Volcas and the Monotrons: they to wobble a little bit, but are perfectly usable. On the left side you also have the ON/OFF switch and three toggle buttons labeled “X”, “-1” and “-2”. Continue reading “Stylophone Gen X-1: First Impressions”
This week all the attention has gone to the new VCV Rack. This is a virtual Modular synthesizer, which is free and open source, and (best of all) runs on Linux. I really had to check this one out!
This video was made without much musical intention, and I tried to use only the modules that come bundled with the program, before installing any additional modules (more on that later). There was not much of a big musical intention behind this video other than to see how this synth sounds, how stable it is and how easy it is to create something from scratch. Continue reading “VCV Rack Virtual Modular Synth for Linux”
Two things I must confess before starting this review. For once, I’m not a particular fan of chorus pedals. Not because I dislike the chorus effect (well… it is not among my favourites either), but because I find myself spending more and more time playing with reverbs and delays. These latter effects just seem more pleasing for me when sculpting sound and making music. Another confession I need to make is that I was quite reluctant about buying this pedal from a friend.
That being said, my friend convinced me on taking the pedal home earlier this year. A few weeks later, one of my gear suppliers was having a sale with a lot of pedals at 10, 15 or 20 euro. So I now I have quite a few chorus pedals. Indeed, the Behringer UC200 I reviewed last month came from that lot. As you may have read it, I was not impressed with the UC200, but the Ashton SF50CH is a whole different matter.
The first thing to notice about this pedal is that it is a solid (and heavy) metal case. It is smaller than my Berhinger pedals, yet it carries a substantial amount of weight (specially when compared against the X200 series). It is a mono pedal, with only one input and one output, so you won’t have those autopanning and stereo-widening effects you can do on other chorus pedals. Continue reading “Ashton SF50CH Chours Pedal: Review & Impressions”