Given the number of versatile classics in the company’s standard-sized lineup, Ibanez’s new Mini range has a lot to draw from and promises to be enormously popular given the current trend to conserve pedalboard space. As with all the series, these two pedals are ruggedly built and feature metal jacks, sturdy stomp-switches, and true-bypass switching.
Descending from a big brother conceived in an era still beloved for its lush analog modulation sounds, the Chorus Mini ($99 street) maintains an all-analog signal path and the essential controls of the format: Depth, Speed, and Level. Two of these have cleverly been fit to the diminutive casing with the use of mini-pots, although the knobs on these could really use better visual indicator lines for easy settings confirmation. Get out your white paint!
Tested with a range of guitars through a Reeves Space Cowboy amp and 2x12 cab and a custom AC15-like combo, the Chorus Mini proved an easy road to warm, lush, watery analog warble. The simple control set makes it virtually impossible to find a bad sound, and its size makes it all the more tempting to add a chorus to your board even if you’re one of those “only need it for a song or two” guys, like me. You might also consider putting one before and after your overdrive pedals, if you can never decide which way you prefer it. Definitely a tasty little modulation box.
KUDOS Warm, watery analog chorus effect that’s extremely easy to dial in.
CONCERNS It’s hard to see settings on the mini knobs. No internal battery option.
SUPER METAL MINI
With dual-concentric controls for Edge/Punch and Attack/Level, in addition to the full-sized Drive control, this tiny distortion pedal packs a lot of user interface for its size. The size of the legends associated with these meant I had to put on my reading glasses to read the functions on the Super Metal Mini ($99 street), but given the operative word in the name of this range it’s a compromise you might expect to make somewhere. I was delighted to see, though, that each knob has clear, white indicator lines—hooray!
Tested through the same rigs as above, the Super Metal Mini brought eviscerating distortion tones to my clean amp settings, proving a fast-track to everything from ’80s hair metal to gnarlier grunge tones to contemporary shred. The controls took some fine tuning—and can produce some less palatable voices at their extremes—but their usable range is decent, and there’s good body to the core tone and plenty of jagged bite available. I had fun copping rough approximations of everything from Radiohead’s chunky “Creep” guitar to Smashing Pumpkins’ razory “Cherub Rock” drone to (in my own feeble way) more liquid sounding early John Petrucci tones with Edge, Punch, and Attack dialed in carefully. All considered, it’s a worthy choice for rockers and metalheads who want to downsize their boards.
KUDOS A versatile compact distortion with roots firmly in ’80s metal.
CONCERNS Control legends are tricky to read. No internal battery option.
CONTA CT ibanez.com