Review: Source Audio Soundblox 2 Stingray Multi-Filter

Anyone who has tried a Source Audio effect knows two things: the pedals sound amazing and they pack more sounds and features into a neat little box than should be humanly possible.
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Anyone who has tried a Source Audio effect knows two things: the pedals sound amazing and they pack more sounds and features into a neat little box than should be humanly possible. So it will come as a shock to exactly no one that the Stingray Multi-Filter you see here has a zillion tones that all sound great. It would be impossible to list everything that this box can do, but here’s a small sampling of what you can expect if you stomp on the Stingray.

First off, you will get incredibly funky and musical filter and auto wah sounds. You access them with the Effect knob in the middle of the pedal and you can select between various Low Pass, Single Peak, Multi-Peak, and High-Pass settings. If you don’t understand exactly what all those terms mean, don’t worry. You’ll know them when you hear them. You can modify them all with the Depth and Speed knobs, and those do pretty much what you think they do. Where things get super interesting is with the Mod Source knob. Source Audio has always given players a variety of ways to modulate the signal of their effects: by picking dynamics (either Slow or Fast Attack Envelope Follower), Sine Wave LFO, Square Wave LFO, Random Sample and Hold, and Sawtooth Wave LFO. Each of these produces trippy, inspiring sounds on all of the effect settings (Low Pass, Single Peak, etc.). The Envelope Followers give you the “Yow, Yow,” the Sine Wave is dreamy, the Square Wave is choppy, and the Random Sample and Hold is like an instant dance groove on top of every chord you hit.

Then there are the phasers. Yes, this pedal that has already given you so much throws in a couple of delicious, chewy phase shifters that you can tweak and modify with all of the controls listed above. Yowsa! It’s an embarrassment of filter riches, but the Source guys are not finished.

You can add gain and distortion to any of these sounds. With the Option knob you can dial in as much grind as you want on any of these tones. The distortion circuit itself is very warm and sweet, and a touch of it can give some of these swirly textures a little bit of that old-school Leslie grit. Source didn’t have to do this, but you’ll be glad they did. The multi-function Option knob also lets you control five other parameters: Mix, Volume, Frequency, Resonance, and Tone.

There is a Tap Tempo mode. All the groovy square wave and random-sample-and-hold pulsations can be synced to your drummer on the fly. This has huge potential for a bunch of styles of music.

Want to get nuts? You can also control how the Stingray flies through the musical waters through MIDI, with an expression pedal, or with Source’s Hot Hand ring controller. Any of those will take effects that already sound great and bring them into the mind-blowing realm. Tweak Speed or Depth in real time, adjust your mix, add distortion, fly to the rainbow… Your imagination is the only limit.

For those of you who are terrified right now by the use of terms like LFO, expression pedal, and tap tempo, fear not. The coolest thing about Source Audio is that their stuff sounds awesome no matter where you set the controls. If you want to go deep, they will go there with you. But if you just want to plug in and play, you can do that with spectacular results. And you only need to create a killer sound once and you can store it as one of two onboard presets. Set it and forget it until you want to start experimenting again. It’s tough to imagine an effects pedal that could deliver more features and flexibility while at the same time providing so much instant gratification and vibe. Quite exciting. Anyone who is interested in autowah, filter, or phasing sounds owes it to themself to plug into the Stingray right away.