THERE COMES A TIME IN EVERY STOMPBOX user’s life where having the ability to activate multiple effects with the push of a button seems like the greatest thing on earth. Switchers come in different styles, but they all follow a similar format of having several (usually at least four) send-and-return loops that connect to your pedals, and a means of programming the buttons on the switcher to activate the pedals individually or in groups.
Decibel Eleven’s Pedal Palette ($399 street) is a relay controlled, true-bypass, fourloop switcher that performs those basic functions and has a number of advanced features. Housed in a thick, anodized-aluminum enclosure, the unit sports an analog signal path, a bypassable class A input buffer, 128 memory slots, a tuner out, and the ability to send and receive MIDI program changes. Power is supplied by a 12v adapter (included), which even comes with plugs for overseas use.
Pedal Palette has seven footswitches. The top three swap the order of the pedals: the right switch (doubles as Bank Up) swaps pedals 1 and 2, the left switch (doubles as Bank down) swaps pedals 3 and 4, and the middle switch flips the order of the two 2-pedal loops. All this makes it easy to audition the sound of your pedals in different order, which is pretty hip!
Each pedal loop can also be set for series or parallel operation. There are some advantages to running delays and reverbs in parallel. For example, your dry signal is kept away from the effect’s circuitry, and decay echoes aren’t cut off when the effect is bypassed. When Parallel mode is selected, the pedal’s output is sent to a dedicated mix bus that routes the effected signal around the other series effects and mixes it back in at the output. A small Level control by each Series/Parallel switch adjusts the ratio of the dry and effected signals in Parallel mode, and a Phase switch corrects for any phase inversion between the input and output that some effects pedals create.
The Pedal Palette’s Tails control lets you program each loop to allow the echo and/or reverb tails to ring on when the effect is bypassed, or have them cut off completely in the case of modulation and distortion effects. There’s even a master Tails switch that configures the setup either way when at least one loop is in parallel mode.
I connected four stompboxes to the Pedal Palette (a Boss OD-1 distortion, Whirlwind Orange Box phaser, Fulltone Supa-Trem 2, AnalogMan ARDX20 delay) and found it easy to set things up for “direct” use—where the four footswitches simply activate the pedals—or “preset” mode, where you use the footswitches to recall stored pedal configurations.
Overall, the Pedal Palette is quiet, doesn’t muck with your straight tone, and it looks cool. As with all switchers it consumes a significant amount of pedalboard real estate—adding 3.68 lbs in the process—but if you want a high level of control over your effects, the Pedal Palette is absolutely worth consideration.
Kudos Tons of features in a compact format.
Concerns Weighs almost 4 lbs, which may or may not be a concern.
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