5 stompboxes reviewed

Analog Alien Rumble Seat

This snazzy stompbox which combines overdrive, delay, and reverb was designed with rockabilly players in mind, but it can take you from there to just this side of metal with stops in classic, psychedelic, and hard rock along the way. The overdrive sounds fantastic and is very versatile. There’s tons of output on tap, Tone sweeps from super-dark to ultra-crispy with a luscious sweet spot in the middle, and Gain goes from subtle amp-like breakup to smoothly saturated sustain. The sounds are tight, clear, fat, dynamic, and there’s relatively little noise. The Delay has an old-school echo vibe (and hash to match on longer settings) with delay times from 25ms to 650ms. The Reverb was designed to emulate the tube-driven spring reverb in blackface Fender amps, and while that is a challenging standard, it does capture some of that flavor, and sounds wonderful in any case. The Rumble Seat comes with a VisualSound One Spot power adapter and a bright orange cooler bag carrying case, analogalien.com

Coldcraft EchoVerberator Parallel Ambience Machine

Running reverb and echo in parallel avoids muddiness by not repeating the reverb tails or reverberating the echo repeats–and that’s just what the EchoVerberator does. The seriously springy reverb sounds most realistic when used subtly, but also creates wild spaces when cranked. The echo generates fab slap-backs, as well as warm-sounding longer repeats of up to nearly a second in length. Independent Reverb and Echo level controls let you dial in whatever blend suits your fancy, and an internal switch engages Reverb Always On Mode for additional flexibility. A second internal switch adds slight modulation to the repeats, and Momentary Mode triggers the effects (or only echo when in Reverb Always On Mode) only while the footswitch is held down. Rockabilly heaven, coldcrafteffects.net

Catalinbread Topanga Spring Reverb

Based on the legendary Fender 6G15 outboard spring reverb, this pedal sports the original’s Dwell knob, which here controls how hard the guitar signal hits the virtual springs. A Tone knob darkens just the reverb to get it out of the way of your original signal. A Volume knob adds clean boost if you want it. Internal switching either keeps the buffer on in bypass, retaining the decay and boost when you shut the effect off, or kicks the level up only when you turn the effect on and kills the decay when turned off. This might be the best reverb guitar pedal, sounded gorgeous in every setting. Warm, subtle spring ambience was one option, as was splashy, realistic springiness. The Topanga twangs so well you may want to use it instead of your internal spring reverb, catalinbread.com

Diamond Blaze

The blazing-red Blaze is a germanium-based fuzz that visually resembles its silicon-based cousin the Fireburst. It features active Baxandall Bass and Treble controls and a high-end op amp in addition to other fancy components, as well as true-bypass switching. An Alternative footswitch activates a bass boost (the Fireburst has a mid boost), providing two de facto presets. Basically an atypically stout old-school-sounding fuzz, the Blaze does its Job really well, dishing up everything from convincing Jimi sounds to very dark and very bright sculpted tones–all with amazingly little noise, even when maxed out. The bass boost is voiced perfectly, adding just the right amount of oomph, and there’s plenty of sustain with the Gain turned up. Nice, diamondpedals.com

Diamond Quantum Leap

Concealed within this modest-looking “short-delay toolbox” are five distinct and powerful effects: flanger, chorus, filter, tap-delay, and pitch-ramp-delay. Engineered to emulate vintage analog BBD devices (with up to 600ms of delay time), the Leap’s analog-digital-hybrid technology results in luscious-sounding repeats and modulation sweeps. A small switch cycles through the five effects types, and the Speed, Width, and Regeneration controls change function on each setting, as does the Tap/Fx footswitch. But navigate these and the pedal’s other complexities, and you are rewarded with a huge range of fantastic sounds. The Flange and Chorus are thick and clear, the dual/toggling Filter is effective (oscillating like a Theramin on extreme settings), and the delays are to die for. Besides oozing vibe on standard settings, in Harmonic Mode they approach Eventide Crystal coolness, the pitch-ramp sounds are seriously sick, and the ambient washes and runaway regeneration effects are superb, diamondpedals.com