Lovepedal Gen 5 Echo and Amp Eleven & Electro-Harmonix Ravish Sitar

February 16, 2012

Gen 5 Echo

The past couple of years have seen a glut of tiny echo boxes boasting tape-like sonic properties. Lovepedal’s Gen 5 Echo ($149 retail/street N/A) is one such creature, offering a fat feature set that includes Delay, Mix, Feedback, Modulation, and Boost controls. I ran the Gen 5 through various Fender Telecasters and Gibson SGs into Fender, Marshall, and Victoria amps.

For subtle textures and thickening, the Gen 5 is killer. With the Modulation all the way off, the repeats are hazy and sublime with a nice burnished quality as they fade out. For a quick rockabilly slap, the Gen 5 (which has around 700ms of delay time) yields a tight, worn-in repeat that indeed cops the vibe of classic tape echo. Bumping up the Modulation results very quickly in heavily modulated—even detuned— repeats, which were fun for trippier sounds and effects, and volume-swelled chords. The Boost control is extremely handy, making sure nothing gets lost when the effect is on. In fact, the Boost can even push the front end of your amp for a little extra grind. With its natural-sounding delays, small size, and well-implemented features, the Gen 5 Echo will satisfy both hardcore delay users and those just wading into the realm of the warm echo. —— DARRIN FOX

KUDOS Juicy, tape-like repeats. Small, well made. Easy to use.
CONCERNS Modulation can be over the top.

Amp Eleven

Sporting Level, Drive, Bass, and Tone controls, as well as a separate footswitchable Boost function, Amp Eleven ($169 retail/ street price N/A) is a pint-sized overdrive/ booster with many tone-tailoring options. Jacked through a variety of amps (Fender Deluxe Reverb, Twin Reverb, and Princeton Reverb; Victoria Regal combo; mid-’70s Marshall 50-watt driving a 4x12 Marshall cab loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s), my first impression of the Amp Eleven was, “Damn, this thing is smooth!” Tested with a Fender American Standard Strat, Gibson SG, and Fender Telecaster, the tones always bore a thick midrange and sweetly compressed top end, no matter which amplifier I was running through. The Amp Eleven’s Tone control allows you to add some extra chirp to humbuckers or darker amp/cab setups, but it’s never overly bright. The pedal’s overdrive section offers a decent amount of output, but my favorite tones were with the Boost engaged all the time, making the Amp Eleven insanely touch sensitive, dynamic, and natural sounding. The Boost only works if the overdrive section of the pedal is engaged, however.

The Amp Eleven responds well to your touch and the guitar’s volume, and even at high Drive settings, the tones never get messy or undefined. I was able to get the pedal to clean up well, but retaining the sparkle was not always possible due to the pedal’s inherent smoothness. If you’re seeking manicured, ultra-slick overdrive with smooth midrange character and sweet topend response, the Amp Eleven will class up your act in a hurry. — Darrin Fox

Kudos Silky-smooth overdrive. Separate Boost function.
Concerns May not be aggressive enough for some players.

Ravish Sitar

Custom made for fans of ’60s psychedelia and Bollywood soundtracks comes the Ravish Sitar, a compact pedal that evokes the droning of sympathetic strings that we associate with Ravi Shankar and the classic sounds of India. But the Ravish goes far beyond the limited applications of a sitar or a guitar/sitar hybrid like the ’60s-era Coral.

Housed in a sturdy metal casing with Hindu-esque graphics, the Ravish Sitar features a Dry control for adjusting the mix between guitar and sitar tones, and a pair each of Level and Timbre controls for the Lead and Sympathetic (drone) sounds. The white knob on the right steps through or saves programs, and also selects the programming modes. These various modes let you pick the key and modulation speed of the drone “strings,” as well as the decay length and Q (or resonant peak) of the lead sound.

It all appears more complex than it is; a short time with the well-written manual and I was happily conjuring up classic electric sitar inflected pop tunes, from the Boxtops’ “Cry Like a Baby,” to Joe South’s “Games People Play.” Adding some dry signal fattens the sitar effect while also masking the latency that inevitably accompanies the intense processing required to create this cool effect.

The Ravish Sitar offers drones in all 12 keys, be they major, minor or “exotic,” which refers to the Bhairava scale in classical Hindustani music: a major scale with a flat second and flat sixth. If you are not up on your scales, the manual helpfully supplies sheet music for them in all keys. If you want to show off a knowledge of other Hindustani scales or any other scale or mode, you can customize your own scale by holding down the Preset footswitch and entering up to 17 notes sequentially—you can even transpose scales without having to re-enter the notes.

Running my 1965 Fender Stratocaster through the Ravish into a Fender Blues Junior amp, I found that by adjusting the Q and Decay settings I could get closer to the very different sitar sounds on the two tunes mentioned above, as well as Stevie Wonder’s “Signed Sealed and Delivered.” Having exhausted my knowledge of pop songs featuring electric sitar, I discovered the fun had just started.

Stepping on and holding down the Preset footswitch froze the droning sympathetic strings to create a tanpura (or tambura) type pad. I could accompany myself playing endless pseudo-psychedelic riffs for a soundtrack that would make Austin Powers plotz. I could also use an expression pedal (not included) to fade the drone in and out, or use the pedal to shift the lead pitch up from a semitone to an octave for Indo-whammy effects.

The Ravish Sitar is far from a one-trickpony. By combining octave-up sounds with a muted drone, I got an effect that was more electronica than exotica. The solo sounds and sympathetic drones can also be sent to separate outputs for individual processing, opening a universe of tone creation.

For its surprising versatility and sheer offthe- wall inventiveness, the Ravish Sitar earns an Editors’ Pick Award. —Michael Ross

KUDOS Creates amazing sitar, tanpura, and synth-like sounds.
CONTACT Electro-Harmonix, (718) 937-8300;

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