Sonicake's new 2023 pedals
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Sonicake's new 2023 pedals
Tone Group is a true bypass 10-band EQ, ideal for any instrument, including bass (basic frequency range for bass is 40Hz-400Hz-4000Hz, whereas Tone Group ranges from 31.25Hz to 16kHz). Like other EQ pedals, this can be used to cut or boost specific frequencies; Tone Group’s cut or boost is up to 15dB (per frequency and the Volume slider). As a result, if you keep everything flat, the Volume slider can be used as a clean boost, and this works exceptionally well with the Tone Group as it is very clean and quiet; there is a hint more dirt if you crank the Volume, as it’s pushing the amp harder, but the added dirt is more noticeable with dirty channels. The amount of gain can increase or decrease, relative to whether any sliders are cutting or boosting, but while retaining the honesty of the amp.
Certainly, Tone Group helps to mold or craft your tone, to make it a bit darker, brighter, to increase or decrease mids, remove the bottom muddy end, etc. Usually, EQ pedals are used often to provide a fatter sound, to cut the mids for more of an 80’s metal sound, or to add darkness for more modern rock tones. I provided a few examples in the demo. Tone Group has an analog circuit design and it works well; it does its job.
Levitate combines a plate reverb with digital delay. This is a great sounding combination, but be aware that the delay is warm and has a slight modulation (warble) to the sound. Each side of the pedal works independently, with the reverb side having ‘mix’ and ‘decay’ knobs. The mix can be very deep, and to the point of being very acceptable for ambient-based music, although still very good for hints of room or studio reverb. The reverb is on the bright side, which teams up well with the decay (which is a bit dark). The Decay has a long schedulable time (10 seconds), which further supports the mix for ambient-style music. The Trail Function allows for the decay to be heard, even if the reverb is shut off.
The delay side of the pedal has the standard Time and Feedback options; time can extend up to 2000ms and the Feedback has many repeats, although not infinite.
What I like about this delay is that it has separate Wet and Dry knobs, which allows for more blending customization than just a ‘mix’ knob. The Dry does boost the signal a bit, but nothing excessive. The delay side also has a Tap Tempo option, accessible by holding the delay’s on-off footswitch for a few seconds (to get out of Tap Tempo, hold down the footswitch again).
Warped Dimension is a multi-effects true-bypass pedal, combining classic chorus, flanger, phaser and tremolo. There are a few multi-effects out there that also have vibrato, lo-fi, rotary, or other. Warped Dimension includes the more commonly selected effects, but what I really like about it is the dial selector. You do not have to ‘click’ directly on the option, but turn the dial within an effect’s range, making for quick and easy change.
Controls include Level, Depth, Rate and Tone. I like the Tone knob, as you can adjust for any ‘darkness’ or ‘brightness’ created by an effect (e.g., flanger becomes brighter as you increase its mix). And there’s a tap tempo, accessible by its own footswitch (no need to step on to engage as it remains active if on).
The quality of the effects is good, and remember that these are ‘classic’ reproductions, which means they are more subtle than modern counterparts, particularly with the flanger and phaser. They are tasteful without huge exaggeration (bearing in mind that I set this pedal at the front of the chain as opposed to in an amp’s FX Loop). Both the chorus and flanger work best with just a slight touch of the Rate knob, whereas a larger portion of the Rate is more applicable for both phaser and tremolo. Moreover, I find the last 25% of the Rate too sharp, unless you want a RingMod effect. Having said that, you can crank the rate for any of the effects and tame the beast with the Depth knob for interesting tonal textures that don’t sound like a flanger or phaser typically.
All these pedals retail between $50 to $59 USD and is at a very nice price range, whether looking for budget gear or an effect at a decent cost that may be used now and again. Combine these three pedals and there is a lot of tone sculpting to be had for under $200. Throw in a drive or boost and a pedal board is pretty much complete.
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