There are a couple of trends happening right now in the gear world of which I’m a big fan. The first is a wave of compact, multi-modulation pedals that help small-board players like me get a whole lot of swirl out of just one spot.
The second is less obvious, but appears to be a complete reinvention of Robert Keeley Engineering.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve likely noticed that the last several releases from the Oklahoma-based outfit have focused on delivering max value for the player. Not that the company’s more classic designs like the Compressor, Fuzz Head and Katana weren’t—but Keeley and company have clearly stepped their game up.
From the various Workstation platforms to simpler designs like the new Dyno My Roto modulator—which we’re focusing on today—it’s clear that the bar has been raised.
If you’re looking for a stompbox to replace your ‘80s rack chorus, as well as add some depth and dimension to your sound with solid rotary cabinet and flanger concepts—look no further.
Let’s start from the top.
The core of this pedal features an iconic sound that pedal builders have been trying to replicate for a couple of decades: tri-chorus. Keeley, it seems, drew inspiration for this take from the originator—Chuck Monte.
Monte created a series of mods for electric pianos starting back in the mid-‘70s under the name Dyno-My-Piano. (You’re probably starting to see the connection here.) One of his innovations was a standalone Tri-Stereo Chorus effect that was used throughout the ‘80s by such greats as Steve Lukather and Michael Landau.
Keeley’s version is easier to dial in, thanks to a standard mix of Rate, Depth and Level Controls and as such, the Tri-Chorus mode can be as lush or as understated as you want, making it a perfect complement for both clean and dirty tones.
But the trio of LFO shapes that the Texture knob unlocks is what makes the DMR truly special.
Smooth sine waves lull you into a swirly ocean of chorusing on the left side of the knob, while triangle waves rise and fall more sharply with the knob at noon. And I’ll admit—the stutter of sqaure wave tri-chorus, with the Texture control to the right, is a pleasant surprise.
And the Rotary speaker sim is probably worth the price of admission alone. With that said, if you’re into faux organ parts and want to avoid pitch shifting, this is a particularly pleasing option.
The most fascinating function of the pedal is found in this section, too, as the Texture knob controls the simulated distance from the cabinet. To the left, it sounds like you’re standing next to the cab and has almost a tremolo-like quality. But cranked to the right, the sound mellows and washes out a bit, creating an imaginary distance.
I don’t know how they did it—but it’s very cool.
And the Rotoflange mode has more than enough swoosh to get you chugging through your favorite Van Halen riffs in no time. In this mode, the Texture knob introduces positive feedback to make the flanging extra filtery and fun.
What we like:
The Dyno My Roto pedal is compact and offers three distinct types of modulation flavor—which is awesome. Each of the tones were obviously crafted with great attention to detail and for that reason, I’ll declare it a winner.
One of my favorite rotary sim features is ramping—the ability to go from fast to slow, or the other way around, via an expression pedal or some kind of press-and-hold implementation. Would’ve been nice to have that option on the Dyno My Roto.