Speed Rating September 2013: Four Mini-Reviews

January 30, 2014

$119 street

The full-featured Volume (X) doubles as an expression pedal and features a tuner out and a smooth feeling rocker that can be easily tensioned to taste via a rear-mounted screw. An internal trim-pot lets you adjust the minimum setting for the parameter you are controlling with the EXP out, and you can even reverse the functions of the heel- or toe-down positions when using it as an expression pedal. The rubber-covered bottom plate has recessed screws for easy mounting to a pedalboard, and the Volume (X) looks fit for duty with its die-cast aluminum housing, ultra-strong rocker pivot, and patented Band Drive system that provides super-precise coupling of the rocker to the heavy-duty enclosed pot. A sweet deal for all that it offers! jimdunlop.com —ART THOMPSON

$259 street

For Phil Brown’s new signature pedal, Rockett added a boost section with its own Volume and Tone controls. The Drive knob provides significant gain, while a Tone knob for the boost section allowed me to tame some of the high-end emphasis that occurs when the boost is engaged. Even if you are not seeking the “Brown” sound, however, the Drive section’s wide ranging Treble and Bass controls combined with the Tone control on the Boost, allow you to sculpt a cool array of British inflected overdrive tones, from vintage to modern. rockettpedals.com —MICHAEL ROSS

($45-$65 direct)

Substituting shell from red-eared slider turtles for that of the endangered Hawksbill sea turtle, Tortoise Tone offers a legal alternative to traditional “tortoise shell” picks, prized for their almost magical depth, warmth, and sparkle (and fetching astronomical prices on the black market). While they differed somewhat in sound and feel from the two traditional turtle shell picks we compared them to, the Tortoise Tone plectra—with sharp, medium, broad, and extra-broad tips—nonetheless produced very pleasing tones, with a distinctive magic of their own. The moderately thick picks generally yielded full, round, and nicely balanced sounds, with the different points altering the attack, bite, brightness, and overall articulation. Money refunded if you aren’t satisfied. tortoisetone.com. —BARRY CLEVELAND

$195 street

A compact digital reverb pedal with pure-analog dry signal path, true-bypass switching, and controls for Time, Tone, and Reverb (depth), the Silver Spring proved a sparkling little performer in a range of settings. It ably subbed for a tube Fender Reverb Unit in front of a tweed-like combo for some surfy instrumentals, and worked equally well replacing a Bogner Goldfinger’s builtin spring reverb in the amp’s parallel FX loop. It doesn’t go splash when you kick it, and you might detect just a hair of pulsing in the wash of the effect’s decay, but all in all it’s a stellar sounding unit. mpamp.com —DAVE HUNTER

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