We met three of these cute
little Red Witches back in our distortion
pedal roundup in the February issue.
The remaining siblings share the family
resemblance that sparked the initial
infatuation: compact footprints, sexy
graphics, sweet tone, and—perhaps
coolest of all—power courtesy of lithium
ion batteries, which are not only
rechargeable, but also cheaper and more
eco-friendly in the long run. Although
they do need to be unplugged when not
in use (to preserve battery life), lining
up these gals with low-profile patch
cables and no power-adaptor spaghetti
makes for the cleanest, neatest pedalboard
I’ve ever seen. I auditioned these
little minxes through a Rivera M-100
and a 65Amps London Pro with a Fender
Strat and a Dean Cadillac (to impress
Eve ($129 street) is nice and classy with
her simple Speed and Depth controls. She
has no problem providing a range of classic
tremolo effects, from pulsations to deep
throbs. I got great swimmy surf tones on
clean parts and psychedelic oscillations when
driving a dirty amp. Eve is more sine than
square wave, so even at the most extreme
depth setting she doesn’t get into a stuttering,
on/off trem sound. She definitely has a
couple surprises in store, however. For starters,
the Speed and Depth controls operate
in reverse of what you might expect. Fully
counterclockwise will give you the fastest
and deepest effects. When queried on
this, Red Witch CEO Ben Fulton replied,
“That’s in keeping with several of our premium
pedals. Dare to be different, I say.”
Eve’s final little trick is only revealed if you
look inside. She has a little trimpot to adjust
overall gain on the right side of the circuit
board. This is a key feature. Since trem is
a subtractive effect by its nature, it’s easy
to perceive a drop in level when you kick
it in. I find tremolo to be cooler and simply
more effective when it’s accompanied by a
slight boost. I love Eve’s throatiness when
she’s raising her voice a few dB, which is
how the test unit arrived. It’s especially cool
in front an overdriven amp.
Kudos Rich, sweet-sounding trem with
When asked about the birth of Grace ($129
street), Mr. Fulton had this to say: “Compressors
are a bit of a dark art for a lot of
guitarists, so the idea was a super simple circuit
that delivered lovely squish right out of
the box.” Well, he has accomplished that in
fine fashion, because we were all quite smitten
with Grace right away. The controls are
totally straightforward—Vol and Comp—
and the gratification is instant. Light settings
provide a gentle thickening without
sounding too, well, compressed. This was
particularly nice on the Strat’s single-coils.
Nudging the Volume control up shows how
much output this pedal packs. She’s capable
of a good boost even at low Comp settings.
Running the Comp knob up pours on
the sustain, but not at the expense of attack.
As with any compressor, Grace can be noisy
when maxed out, but this is a very quiet compressor.
I’m generally not a compressor guy,
but I could definitely envision a rig where I
left Grace on all the time. Well played!
Kudos Musical, quiet compression with
impressive attack, sustain, and noise specs.
The lovely little Lily Boost ($129 street)
is marketed as a clean boost. This is true,
because Lily can add a nice level bump to
your guitar sound without overly coloring
the tone, and she also converts the guitar’s
signal from high impedance to low impedance,
making signal degradation and highend
loss from long cable runs a thing of
the past. But Lily is also capable of getting
dirty in a couple of different ways. First,
she’s got both Pre and Post controls, with
the Pre knob governing the actual gain of
the FET—how much it’s amplifying the
signal—and the Post determining how much
of this boosted signal exits the pedal. The
Pre control needs to be up fairly high to get
above unity, even with Post cranked. The
greatest amount of level boost—and it is
substantial—comes in the last 10% of the
Pre knob’s rotation. There is a pronounced
crackle that occurs in this range when you
turn the knob, which is due to the potentiometer
adjusting DC bias and is normal.
(“No need to reach for the contact cleaner,”
says Fulton.) Maxing out the Pre knob definitely
creates some distortion and grind,
regardless of where the Post knob is set.
When you couple that with additional amp
gain from clobbering the front end, you
can have tons of crunch at your disposal
through pretty much any amp.
Kudos Lots of output on tap.
Our final sister, Violet ($129 street), is a
woman of mystery. How can a delay pedal
only have two knobs? With just Repeat and
Delay, how can I adjust my mix? Fear not.
Violet has a trimpot nestled in her nether
regions that allows the user to adjust the
wet/dry mix. Violet comes from the factory
set at 40% wet/60% dry, which is a very
musical blend. The overall tone of the pedal
is full and satisfying, adding shimmer and
depth to arpeggios and a singing quality
to lead lines. According to Red Witch, the
repeats go through an analog treble rolloff
circuit but to my ears this is a very accurate
delay; the echoes don’t have a dark, lo-fi
quality. Curiously, the minimum number
of repeats at the factory mix is about six.
In order to get a single repeat you have to
turn down the wet/dry ratio so you can’t
hear the subsequent repeats. That won’t
give you a Setzer-approved slapback, so if
that’s your game, Violet isn’t your dame.
For any other echo effects, including a great
space-age, self-oscillating infinite repeat,
she’s a beauty.
Kudos Sweet delay textures.
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