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Speed Rating August 2013: Four Mini-Reviews

January 30, 2014
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WAY HUGE
ECHO-PUSS ANALOG DELAY
$169 street

Designed by Jeorge Tripps, the Echo-Puss uses two bucket brigade chips to produce up to 600ms of juicy sounding delay. The main controls are Delay and Feedback, which are bolstered by mini Blend and Tone knobs. There’s also an LFO circuit with mini Depth and Speed controls that can be used to put some chewy chorusing on the repeats—a cool effect. The Echo-Puss serves up everything from slapback effects to ambient delays (with as many repeats as you like) to “spaceship”-type sounds when you modulate the Delay control at low settings with the Feedback cranked. The pedal is also amazingly quiet regardless of the delay setting. Other features include a compact metal enclosure, an LED that’s bright even in full sun, and a convenient flip-open battery hatch on the front. All in all, an excellent delay with hipper features than are found on most compact units. wayhuge.com —ART THOMPSON

STONEWALL
SIGNATURE P-90 SET
$199 street (per pair)

Stonewall Pickups has been making a name for itself in the Northeast in recent years, and the Signature P-90 is proprietor Scott Miller’s shot at an enduring favorite: classic fat single- coil tone, yet with improvements for sonic balance and versatility. Loaded into a Fano JM6, this set quickly proved all that and more. It revealed plenty of the characteristic grit and bite that have made the P-90 legendary, with added musicality and smoothness, thanks in part to Miller’s mix-and match use of alnico II and V for the bridge unit and alnico II and III for the neck. The under-wound neck pickup also aided clarity, while the hot bridge unit wailed and roared, with no microphonic squeals thanks to the careful wax potting. stonewallpickups.com —DAVE HUNTER

RADIAL ENGINEERING
PZ-DI PIEZO OPTIMIZED
ACTIVE DIRECT BOX
$219 street

Besides being a rugged, fully featured, built-for-business DI device in the Radial tradition, the PZ-DI’s input impedance may be switched to 10MΩ, optimizing it for use with piezo pickups. We got great results with Breedlove C20/SMYe and Babicz Identity acoustics—though they also sounded good using the magnetic and traditional input settings. The piezo tones were fuller and less brittle and quacky sounding than is typically the case, and the PZ-DI’s variable Lo Cut control and Hi Cut, Pad, Phase Invert, and Ground Lift switches provided additional flexibility. The unit requires 48-volt phantom power. radialeng.com. —BARRY CLEVELAND

EARTHQUAKER DEVICES
THE WARDEN COMPRESSOR
$195 street

The pedals that guitarists call “compressors” and the studio units of the same name are usually very different beasts. However, by adding knobs for Tone, Attack, Release, Level, Sustain and Ratio—and keeping it all in a compact box—EarthQuaker Devices brings studiostyle control to the Warden. Nevertheless, the opticalbased circuit at the center of it all still achieves the classic thickening, sustaining tone that most guitarists are looking for in a compressor. If you want to keep it simple, pointing all the knobs to high-noon provides plug-and-play vintage comp tone. If you’d rather craft your compression characteristics more precisely, the Warden has enough variable parameters to do just that. earthquakerdevices.com —DAVE HUNTER

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