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Speed Rating April 2013: Four mini-reviews

March 21, 2013
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EARTHQUAKER DEVICES
RAINBOW MACHINE POLYPHONIC MODULATING HARMONIZER
$225 street
If Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters had a Rainbow Machine they wouldn’t have needed the bus. This whacked-out pedal zaps us further—from 21st century experimental to psychedelic ’60s splendors—via a DSP engine that apes analog pitch-shifting and octave filter functions to generate freakish intervals or atonal chorusing with rock-steady tracking. You can also stomp on the “Magic” footswitch and twist its related knob to add robotic-pixie-style trailing weirdness. Loads of fun! earthquakerdevices.com
—DAVE HUNTER

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ORANGE
ADVANCED STUDIO QUALITY INSTRUMENT CABLE
$43-$58 street
Available in 10-, 20-, and 30-foot lengths (and in black or orange), these high-grade cables feature Neutrik plugs, pure copper wire, and a thick braided shield to reduce noise and RF interference. The 10-footer I tested sounded crisp, balanced, and well defined, and its PVC jacket and rugged, woven-nylon outer sleeve feel nimble and resistant to tangling, and transmitted no discernible handling noise even through a high-gain amp. You really get your money’s worth here, and be sure to check out Orange’s speaker cables too. orangeamps.com

 
 
 
 
 

TC ELECTRONIC
DITTO LOOPER
$129 retail

The diminutive Ditto Looper boasts five minutes of looping time, Undo/Redo capabilities, and “unlimited overdubs.” The combination of true-bypass switching, an analog-dry- through signal path (the dry signal bypasses the converters), and 24-bit uncompressed audio result in pristine sound quality all around. And while having the record, playback, overdub, undo, redo, stop, and erase functions all operated from a single footswitch may appear daunting, in practice it’s a breeze—and you really can overdub indefinitely without the pedal freaking out. Wow! (Watch my video demo on guitarplayer.com/video.) tcelectronic.com
—BARRY CLEVELAND

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

XOTIC EFFECTS
SP COMPRESSOR
$132 street

The U.S.-made SP features a 3-way Compression/Sustain switch with Hi, Low, and Mid settings. There are also four internal DIP switches for adjusting attack and release times, activating a high-cut filter, and “padding” the input to control unwanted distortion and keep the lows in check when using high-output humbuckers. Quiet and smooth sounding, the SP is ideal for juicing- up slide parts or making fingerpicked lines snap and pop à la Jerry Reed. The Blend control makes it easy to quickly dial in subtle or more “effecty” textures, and the wide-ranging Volume knob ensures there is plenty of output available at even the most compressed settings. Well done! xotic.us/effects

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