7 Pedals That Actually Do Something New

Sometimes it seems like there are only seven or eight types of pedals that keep getting built over and over again: the '70s Muff–style fuzz, the "transparent" overdrive, the three-knob analog delay.

Pedal lovers might wonder why these are the specific boxes that seemingly all of the companies feel the need to check off in order to look like a bonafide pedal company.

But some companies, on the other hand, know that the true path to credibility and a diehard customer base is innovation. The pedal business has always had builders pushing design and functionality to the next level, and that tradition proudly lives on.

This really is a moment when builders are pushing boundaries and taking risks, so it’s worth taking a look at seven next–generation effects that may have slipped under your radar if you were too busy comparing five different Klones.


Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl MkII

In 2013, Joel Korte debuted Chase Bliss Audio with the Warped Vinyl (MkI). The Chase Bliss MO — "Digital Brain. Analog Heart." — has made a serious impact on the pedal community since. The pedal community has waiting on the edge of its seat for every Chase Bliss release since.

The MkII version of the brand’s flagship pedal relocates the internal dip switches to the top of the enclosure, making expression modulation and experimentation more physically accessible.

The Warped Vinyl MkII also includes a Tap/MIDI input for recalling up to 122 presets and full control over each of the six knobs and three switches. It even accepts a clock from your DAW, drum machine, or synth via MIDI.


Montreal Assembly Count To 5

A looper, a lo–fi machine, and a delay? Yes, yes, and yes!

Released in 2014 as the next step from Montreal Assembly’s now–discontinued Goodbye 24, the Count to 5 uses three modes for different styles of sampling and delay.

Mode 1 offers a fairly traditional delay. But flip to mode 2 to record a loop, and you’ll have the ability to slice your loop and apply some randomness.

In that mode, you can use the secondary switch to record a loop that will instantly be shifted two octaves down and played in reverse. Turn the direction knob clockwise to shift it up an octave, add a reverb pedal after it, and prepare for ambient bliss.

Mode 3 allows for the layering and looping of multiple sampled clips to create complex soundscapes.

There's almost too much the Count to 5 can do. Some players even invest in two of the pedal to maximize all of the pre– and post–looping possibilities.


Boredbrain Patchulator 8000

Boredbrain Patchulator 8000

If you’re sick and tired of constantly unplugging patch cables and ripping your pedals off velcro to move them around and reroute your effects chain, the Patchulator is going to become your best friend. This is the pedal that turns your board into something that’s a lot more like a modular synth.

The Patchulator's simple patching system allows for instant swapping of effects, providing a friendly way to reorganize and experiment with your pedalboard without getting frustrated by the realization that you should have kept your reverb after your dirt.

The abundant inputs and outputs are also great for players who like running multiple instruments through their board during a single session. You can use that complex array of inputs and outputs anyway that you dream up.


Hologram Electronics Dream Sequence

The Hologram Dream Sequence combines pitch, tremolo, and modulation effects with a sequencer, placing a firm emphasis on rhythm.

It’s a Swiss Army Knife (dare we say multi–effect) that lets players use everything from traditional tremolo settings to settings that are way more out there. For example, users can select subdivisions (eighth notes, triplets, sixteenths, and so on) and presets, allowing for control over the upper and lower octave range.

For those who need to break free from presets, the Dream Sequence accepts both MIDI and expression control for any of its knobs and comes equipped with an all analog drive circuit at the end of the signal path. On top of all of these bells and whistles, there’s an analog gain circuit right before the pedal’s output that you can dial up if you want things to get hairy.


Red Panda Particle

Described as a granular delay, the Red Panda Particle delay chops up your signal to create stutters, glitches, reverse modulation and much, much more.

It even includes an auto–freeze function so that you can play over the the Particle’s chaos. With three pitch modes and five delay modes — plus the ability to use an expression pedal for each — the Particle's lo–fi glitchiness pushes the envelope, yet nevertheless provides many opportunities to keep things musical.


Mid–Fi Electronics Pitch Pirate

In its original incarnation, the Pitch Pirate was a pioneering pedal that infused vibrato and delay with absolute madness. At a time when pedal makers were playing it safe, Mid Fi Electronics put all the tone on the line. Its footprint is smaller now, but the Pitch Pirate’s eccentricity is as grandiose as ever.

Users could dial in anything from subtle chorus like extreme, drunken delay that would make even the most seasoned buccaneer seasick. With a twist of the "wave" knob, the Pitch Pirate ventures into squealing rhythmic delay territory that creates some really unique rhythms.

Presently, Mid Fi offers a deluxe version the original Pitch Pirate, expanding the control functionality by adding delay time and feedback control perfect for creating ray gun sounds or scaring your cat.


Korg Miku Stomp

Absolutely the most gimmicky pedal on the list, the Korg Miku Stomp uses an input signal to trigger the voice of Japan’s cartoon popstar, Hatsune Miku. No other pedal in the world gives you such a direct opportunity to accompany a true superstar.

While this pedal is commonly seen as a joke in the pedal community, the Miku Stomp has found some non–traditional uses. When paired with other effects like delay or, say, a bitcrusher, the Miku Stomp can be transformed from a hilarious novelty into an exploding fuzz synth.

And no, you are not limited to soloing over Hatsune Miku’s hits. There's an app so players can input lyrics for Miku to sing! Simply amazing.

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