The Most Hyped Pedals of 2015...So Far

NAMM 2015 has come and gone leaving behind a trail of buzz and praise for this year's crop of new effects. From boutique to major, from overdrive to phaser, there are new pedals of every type waiting to be explored and integrated into your rig.

Take a look at our guide to the hottest pedal drops from NAMM and what to expect from the pedal world this year.

Modulation, Delay, and Miscellaneous Picks

Electro-Harmonix Super Pulsar

If we were awarding a blue ribbon, this eclectic piece would certainly be at the center of that conversation. The new do-it-all trem from NYC's Electro-harmonix garnered perhaps the biggest share of the spotlight in the days leading up to NAMM, thanks to an advanced promotional video from EHX. This pedal is the big brother to the popular Stereo Pulsar and is something of a Tremolo equivalent to the Deluxe Memory Man delay.

The Pulsar offers tap-tempo, 8 user-defined presets, and wave shape control, that will allow guitarists and synth users to conjure up a variety of sleek, stuttering rhythms.

Estimated street price: $237.55

DigiTech TRIO

Hey! It's a band in a box without the inconvenience of conflicting egos or late arrivals. The new TRIO band creator offers songwriters instantaneous accompaniment thanks to its always-on-time rhythm section. With controls for genre, style, and tempo, you can also adjust the separate volume levels for drums and bass, in order to flesh out your newest compositions for recording or solo rehearsals.

Projected price: $179

Walrus Audio Bellwether, Vanguard, Luminary

These three multi-colored boxes were a social media hit this week, earning lots of snapshots and discussion. The Luminary pledges a variety of octave effects, while the Vanguard promises a host of vintage and chic modern phasing possibilities.

Watch us test out Walrus Audio's 3 new pedals at Winter NAMM 2015

On the heels of Walrus' successful Descent Reverb release, the Bellwether was perhaps the most-anticipated of the trio. Dotted repeats, stereo ins and outs, as well as a tone pot for controlling the darkness of repeats, guarantees a bevy of modulated soundscapes and enigmatic echoes.

Prices and firm release dates are unavailable at this time.

Dedalo Fugu Dual Analog Chorus

Dedalo, based in Argentina, made its first trek to NAMM this year. The South American manufacturer's line boasts a variety of tap-tempo and multi-waveform modulation and delay pedals. This includes the Fugu, an authentic BBD chorus, that can cover a variety of styles and genres. Great width and seasick warble can be dialed in or scaled back for more subtle applications.

The Fugu is not currently available outside of South America, where it retails for approximately $169, but expect US distribution in the near future.

TC Electronic Viscous Vibe & Helix Phaser

The TonePrint series grew by two in January with the unveiling of these retro-inspired, wallet-friendly boxes. The Viscous and the Helix offer users the familiar sounds of Floyd and Trower, but with a PC/Mac/iOS editor for warping and coaxing new modulation possibilities.

Street price: $129. The duo have a preliminary launch date of June 2015 (North America), but don't be surprised to see them on store shelves and on Reverb.com slightly ahead of schedule.

Crazy Tube Circuits Splash Mk3

In an increasingly-crowded field, the new Splash Mk3 offers users studio-quality reverb in the form of a compact floor unit. There are 3 modes to choose from, including an absolutely huge-sounding, pad-like setting that will impress even the most ardent of shimmer fans.

Match the excite knob to the wet/dry blend and you'll discover the true richness of this harmonically dynamic pedal within the density of vast, floating repeats.

Estimated price: $259 with a May/June targeted release.

Source Audio Nemesis

Complete with 12 delay modes, tap tempo, a USB port for Mac/PC editing, and MIDI in/thru, users will have no shortage of parameters to tweak. The Nemesis should not be overlooked, though, by the set-and-forget crowd. Time, modulation, and feedback levels promise delay veterans the option to simply plug in and go.

Watch us test out Source Audio's Nemesis at Winter NAMM 2015

Two tape modes, digital delay, and an analog setting provide classic echo algorithms. For users seeking more cutting-edge textures, the Crystal delay (octave up + reverse) offers a delicately enchanting echo affectation, alongside the Sweeper and Degrade banks.

Target street price: approximately $249, June 2015

Moog Minifooger Chorus & Flange

What would happen if you split the luxurious MF-108M Cluster Flux in half? You'd get these modulating siblings in a more compact profile. The Moog brand Minifooger series got a cosmetic facelift this week with these royally retooled silver-and-black enclosures. Harnessing the warmth and power of classic BBD chips, expect these two effectors to provide auditory craftsmen with the same foundational sonics as Moog enthusiasts have come to expect from the pioneering efforts of the legendary synth company.

MSRP: $189. Available first quarter 2015.

Catalinbread Valcoder, Zero Point, Talisman, Antichthon

One of the pedal world's biggest movers and shakers delivered up four new effects, including the resurrection of their Valco Amps-inspired tremolo. The Zero Point offers a studio-like flange effect in the form of a push-button, through-zero experience. By engaging the pedal you can simulate the aural experience of dueling tape reels. The Antichthon is a fuzz-tremolo (or fuzzolo if you prefer) that merges gritty drive with percussive volume modulation.

Last but not least is the Talisman plate reverb. Inspired by large-format studio plate mechanisms, the Talisman is focused on mimicking the sonic depth and character of these time-tested, but abstruse marvels. Vintage units weigh hundreds of pounds and cost thousands of dollars, making them financially and logistically unfeasible for even the most serious gear hounds.

The Talisman, however, seeks to replenish your recordings with a faithful nod to these 1970s hitmaking machines at a fraction of the size and expenditure entailed. To celebrate the true charm and warmth of authentic plate reverb, you'll need to revisit the treasured catalog of the Château d’Hérouville, where T. Rex's Slider, Bowie's Low, and Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road were all orchestrated.

Prices: Antichthon $159, Talisman $209, Valcoder $169, Zero Point $199. Shipments will vary throughout the first and second quarter of 2015.

Extended notes and back-stories are also available on Catalinbread's website

T-Rex Replicator tap-tempo, tape delay

One of the most surprising sightings at this year's NAMM was undoubtedly the European pedal maker's early sneak peak at its tabletop prototype. Sparked by several bells and whistles, the Replicator is fueled by high expectations as the world's first commercially-available tape delay with tap-tempo.

A brand new proprietary cassette is at the heart of the Replicator. Chorus and saturation controls, along with two expression ports for time and feedback complement this rugged echo machine. If you're hoping to add a reliable tape delay to your setup, look for production units to begin shipping later this year.

Target street price: $799, fall 2015

Other NAMM highlights from this category include:

  • Crazy Tube Circuits Spiral Turbulence
  • Diamond Counter Point Delay & Phase 4
  • Earthquaker Devices (smaller) Sea Machine
  • EHX Bad Stone Nano
  • EHX Good Vibes
  • EHX Holy Grail Neo
  • EHX XO Deluxe Electric Mistress
  • Jackson Ampworks Reverb + Tap Tempo Tremolo
  • Keeley Recino
  • Line 6 Firehawk FX
  • Malekko Combover spectral filter
  • Malekko Scrutator
  • Malekko Sneak Attack
  • Red Panda Raster delay
  • Seymour Duncan Shape Shifter
  • Source Audio Gemini Chorus
  • Source Audio Lunar Phaser
  • Source Audio Mercury Flange
  • Source Audio Vertigo Tremolo
  • Way Huge Blue Hippo MKII chorus
  • WMD Super Fatman

  • Dirt, Compression, and Utility Pedals

    Wampler Plexi-Drive Deluxe

    With an initial 2006 release, the Plexi-Drive has come a long way thanks to years of testing and several new features. Separate pre- and post-gain stages can now be triggered independently for unearthing the optimal Marshall-in-a-box experience. Added controls for bass, treble, and a supplementary boost make this 2015 incarnation Wampler's most versatile drive pedal yet. Fans of the Plexi series shouldn't have to wait long to testdrive this much-anticipated item.

    Price: $239, available shortly

    Dreadbox Epsilon

    Engineers are always looking for something extra to surpass their previous work. Herein arrives the Epsilon by Dreadbox. It's an envelope distortion that plays well with guitars, keys, or drum machines. Dial up wooly sub bass or crunch up rhythm sequences and drum beats. A LP/BP switch is aided by a resonance knob for sculpting the perfect filter growl. Mix in an envelope generator and you can send external CV signals to auxiliary devices.

    Price: approximately $255 stateside

    Sinvertek No. 5

    If you can say one thing about the Sinvertek No. 5, it's that it certainly passes the eye test. At first glance it's got everything the discerning eye should target in a pedal investment. It looks durable, well-organized, and it promises a heap of functionality and versatility. This high-gain box is based on tube amp character, and with a host of EQ and boost controls you've got tweakability galore in this sparkly grey box. This is not a clumsy clone or wannabe boutique pretender. This is a sophisticated rock and roll machine. For the past few years, Sinvertek and CKK have been teasing the public with G.A.S.-inducing videos. Here's hoping this year's NAMM exposure will increase their circulation and visibility.

    Price and availability TBD

    Way Huge Saffron Squeeze MkII

    Nearly 10 years after its initial launch, the Saffron Squeeze returns with three bonus knobs, previously unavailable on its predecessor. The MKII recalls the comfort and intuition of '70s-inspired floor compressors. With an added attack control, users may now soften or tighten the nuances of their notes. Tone and gain enhancements further allow players to fine-tune their approach for a more personalized sound and feel. Look for this golden saffron and royal plum tone box to ascend store shelves shortly.

    Price: $149 street

    Radial Tonebone Bassbone V2

    Radial Engineering went back to school with its revitalized Bassbone. The V2 encapsulates the same features that solidified its precursor's gig-worthiness, while enhancing the unit with practical additions, like a third footswitch for easier access to the FX loop. Throw in a 3-part EQ section and a mute switch for silent onstage tuning and you'll see why Radial is billing the V2 as a "bass command station." The V2 also expands the gigging bassist's ability to emulate a host of classic tones and textures. All these features add up to what is sure to be a trusty tool for players that demand an expressive device, capable of delivering versatility and reliability.

    MAP: $259, shipping immediately

    Earthquaker Devices Fuzzmaster General

    Earthquaker devices are no strangers to fuzz and certainly no strangers to offering players a wide range of tones to explore. This year at NAMM, the came out strong with three new fuzzes including the decisively unbridled Fuzz Master General.

    Our Earthquaker Fuzz shootout live from NAMM 2015.

    The FMG is inspired by the vintage Ace Tone Fuzz Master and gives that vintage, first generation metal sound with some thickening octave generator content. The onboard toggle switch selects between silicon, germanium and no-diode clipping which gives a healthy dose of versatility to this box.

    Street price: $175, expected to be shipping shortly.

    So many pedals and so little time...but here are several of the other goodies that made it to the NAMM showcase this year:

    • Aguilar Fuzzistor
    • Ampeg SCR-DI
    • Amptweaker FatMetal
    • Big Joe Empire & Texas Screamer
    • Boss BB-1x Bass Driver
    • Caroline Wave Cannon MkII Superdistorter
    • Crazy Tube Circuits Magnifier
    • Cusack Project F-Bomb
    • Dedalo B-Saurio & Jet Compressor
    • Diamond Comp Jr & Nine Zero Two
    • DOD Boneshaker
    • Earthquaker Devices Fuzz Master General
    • Empress Buffer+ Stereo
    • J. Rockett Designs Boing
    • J. Rockett Designs The Dude
    • J. Rockett Designs Monkeyman
    • Mad Professor Evolution Orange Underdrive
    • McCaffrey Audio Green Vodka Muff
    • McCaffrey Audio Reactor
    • McCaffrey Audio Zero to Sixty
    • Mission Engineering Delta III
    • Mojohand Extra Special & Superlative
    • MXR M-85 Bass Distortion
  • MXR Custom Shop Submachine
  • Ogre FUZZ Buster RT & Mostert
  • Park Fuzz (built by EQD)
  • One Control Baltic Blue Fuzz
  • One Control Hooker's Green Bass Machine
  • One Control Persian Green Screamer
  • Ovaltone The IIIrd+
  • Rockbox Abyssinia & Super 763
  • Simble Predrive (by Mad Professor)
  • Source Audio After Shock
  • Source Audio Kingmaker Fuzz
  • Source Audio L.A. Lady
  • Suhr Rufus Fuzz Reloaded
  • Tech 21 Boost Comp
  • Tech 21 OMG Richie Kotzen signature Overdrive
  • Tone Concepts The Luke
  • T-Rex Nitros - Hypergain Distortion
  • Way Huge Saucy Box
  • WMD Geiger Counter Pro
  • Z. Vex Bombpop
  • Z. Vex Pedal Thief
  • Z. Vex Woolly Mammoth 7

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