Stompbox effects represent one of the few things where guitarists will brag about how small they are. Pedalboard real estate is at an all-time premium and players take the “cool sounds per square inch” equation very seriously. That’s part of what made the Seven Sisters series of pedals from Red Witch (reviewed in the May 2012 GP) so exciting. They sound and look great and—just as importantly—they are tiny. Well, now Red Witch has added a new family member, the first of the “Original Chrome Series,” and she is a knockout. Meet Violetta ($119 street), a gorgeous digital delay with an analog personality.
I loved this little box at first sight, because Violetta’s chrome housing is simply stunning. The mini-knobs take up almost no space but are still simple to twist with a thumb and forefinger. They provide control over everything you need to create great echo sounds: Delay time, Mix, Modulation, and Repeats. Violetta also comes with a cute little Expression Pedal jack and a stereo 1/8” to 1/4” adaptor for controlling the number of repeats in real time.
I plugged in, and with a heavily modified super Strat I got a killer, Setzerized slapback, and by that I mean not just a short, single repeat. The tone of the repeat is what really makes it rockabillyiscious. Red Witch has given Violetta a warm, sultry voice, with none of the shrill high end that will ruin a good slapback. (Full disclosure: The echoes are so dang analog sounding that I erroneously called Violetta an analog delay in my sneak peek video. She fooled me!)
You get a full 1,000ms of delay, so I dialed it up about half way, added a bunch of repeats, and basked in Violetta’s dreamy ambience. Extended chord voicings, gently manipulated with a floating whammy, produced hypnotic soundscapes, and because the repeats are so warm I find that I can dial them in a lot louder than on many delays without them getting overbearing—especially on the pick attacks.
Violetta packs a modulation circuit as well, and that can add anything from a subtle shimmer to a full-on Echoplex-on-acid detuned freakout. And speaking of freaking, maxing the Repeat knob will send Violetta into a convulsing, self-oscillating tailspin that is just plain awesome. What’s even cooler is that you can control how and when she freaks with an expression pedal. I used my trusty old Roland EV-5 to go from a single repeat to infinity, or anywhere in between.
This delay possesses so many great features, intuitively laid out, in a super-compact, attractive package. And, despite her undeniable elegance, Violetta is an incredibly cheap date. It’s tough to imagine a pedalboard that wouldn’t benefit tremendously from giving this gal the miniscule amount of space she’s asking for. She would earn her keep simply as a dedicated slapback, a long, Gilmour-style solo delay, or an end-of-the-world special effect. I think I love her!
Kudos Gorgeous, warm tone. Ultra-compact size. Incredible deal.