Nux Flanger Core Review

I brought this pedal during the Spring of 2016: I was walking through a store and saw it at a reasonable price (about 30 euros). Now, there are three things to know before reading this review: a) I’m not a big fan of flangers in general; b) this pedal is more subtle than your average flanger FX (compared, for example with the Flangers in the MiniKP2, this one is very, very shy); and c) I think NUX stopped making these pedals during the summer of 2016, although you can still find it on amazon and other retailers. As usual, I recommend you to complement this reading by watching the demo on my YouTube Channel (see bellow).

Ok, so let’s start with the obvious: this pedal is white with a purple background in the control area. It is a metal case with the same dimensions and overall Feel of the NUX Time Core (reviewed here). I must say the NUX Time Core has been with me for about a year now and is my main delay pedal. I don’t use it as a stomp box (i.e. I don’t have it on the floor and use my feet on it), so I cannot state it was built like a tank. Nevertheless, if you’re not going to take it to some physical mistreatment, the built quality is fine (specially considering the price). Thus, I’m expecting the NUX Flanger Core to be at around the same build quality, which is not bad,  and it is perfectly adequate for my usage.

Now, regarding the sound effects: there is a small switch to select between NORMAL and TAPE modes. The first should be a normal digital flanger effect, while the other should emulate a classical tape Flanger. However, apart from a small boost in the low end when in TAPE mode, there isn’t much difference between the two modes, and both sound much more discrete and subtle than, for example, the ones on the Mini-KP2 and the KP3. Between the TAPE and NORMAL positions, there is an additional mode called TONE LOCK. Tone lock essentially stores the current configuration of the device so that you can turn it off, transport it and still get the same tone when powering it back on. When Tone Lock is engaged, the control knobs have no effect on the sound.

As with other NUX pedals of the Core Series, the FX engine is controlled by four knobs on the front panel. These are labelled (from top-left to bottom-right): RATE, DEPTH, WIDTH and FEEDBACK. As we will later see, two of these names are a little bit misleading. The RATE knob controls the rate of the triangular-shaped LFO that modulates the effect. The DEPTH knob should, according to the manual, determine the depth of the effect. When reading this I though it should behave more-or-less as a Wet/Dry knob, but I was wrong. What this knob does is to determine the intensity of the LFO modulation in the effect. Setting this knob to zero still gives you some flangering, it is just the LFO modulation that disappears.

The third knob is called WIDTH, and you would think this regulates the intensity of the LFO modulation, but no: that function was covered by the previous knob. So, what does the WIDTH knob does? It sets the centre frequency of the Flanger effect. What is more, turning the knob to the left appears to increase the centre frequency, which is a little bit counter-intuitive, at least for me. Despite this, I was quite pleased with the range of the centre frequency: the lowest centre frequency can affect the fundamental of the Volca Bass playing on a low register, so I reckon it minimum should be at about 150 Hz.

Finally, the FEEDBACK knob adjusts the amount of feedback of the very short delays that used to make the vintage delays. In modern implementations, I believe Flangers are created using all pass filters, so FEEDBACK is likely to be connected to the resonance of these filters.

Using this pedal with synthesizers is a breeze. It has two inputs and two outputs, so it will support stereo synths without any problem. In my demo I used a stereo to mono converter for connecting the Volca Bass to the pedal using only the left channel (the volca bass has the same output on both L and R channels), but recorded both outputs from the pedal. Much to my surprise there is some stereo movement of the treated sound, with was a pleasant surprise. Using the three VCO’s of the Volca Bass,  might have been a little too much drive going into the pedal, and I was able to pick up some distortion, but not much. This is solved by lowering the output volume of the synth.

So, in general, I’d say this is a gentle flanger, that has a few quirks. It may not be the most usefull stomp box I own, but it is capable of a few tones that are pleasing to my ears. As I said in the beginning of this review, NUX apparently stopped making these, but they can still be found on amazon, or amazon UK (although sold by a 3rd party), and there are still plenty of retailers on e-bay selling these pedals.