NAMM is our favorite time of year here at Tone Report. It’s like Christmas—only better. And this year did not disappoint as nearly two thousand exhibitors packed the Anaheim Convention Center with all kinds of new gear to inspire and amaze.
Of course, we were more interested in the pedal-related goodies, so here’s a list of awesome new stuff that caught our eye.
Once again, DigiTech stole the show with the TRIO+, a new version of its acclaimed Band Creator platform. Sporting an expanded genre portfolio, new bass line modes, a built-in looper with unlimited overdubs and a truckload of other new features, the TRIO+ is the answer to many of the “what if. . .” questions players have asked since the original TRIO launched last year.
Availability: Very soon
JHS See-Saw Modular Volume
It’s rare that we get this pumped about a volume pedal, but the See-Saw has us flipping out. Obviously, the space saving benefit of cramming an always-on tuner into a volume pedal is huge, but the See-Saw ups the ante with modular interface options. Stereo outs? Done. XLR? You got it. And all that with a customizable sweep and optional boost? Sign us up!
Availability: TBA, Spring 2016
Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone Micro
The good folks from Pigtronix spent the NAMM show focusing on their new power supply, the Pigtronix Power—but we were far more interested in a four-knob prototype they had of a new micro-sized Philosopher’s Tone. The original features endless sustain and plenty of controls and we can’t wait to see what the final version of this new mini version looks like.
The EQD team nearly leveled the place with—count them—EIGHT new pedals this year. It launched five new drive pedals, complete with a pair of “two-fer” pedals called the Gray Channel drive and Spires fuzz, and three others designs that included a filter, harmonic tremolo and your new favorite reverb/delay combo, the Avalanche Run. There’s a lot to be excited about here.
Availability: Varying releases between February and May
Finally. After three decades, the VB-2 is back, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. All hail Waza Craft. Oh, and we’re going to go on record now and say that the VO-1 Vocoder is a modern masterpiece. And to top things off, the new ES-5 offers a streamlined approach to pedalboard management that’s made complete with next-level customization and MIDI integration.
Dunlop and MXR have a lot to be proud of this year with the launch of four new pedalboard-friendly pedals. The EP-103 Echoplex Delay captures the tape echo goodness of the 60s and 70s in a small footprint and the DVP-4 Mini Volume packs a pint-sized punch. And on the MXR side, the M-300 Reverb and M-76 Compressor are absolutely stuffed with great features.
Availability: Compressor is available now, others TBA
Supro comes roaring into the pedal game with three awesome new gain boxes. The Supro Fuzz captures a huge range of vintage fuzz tones, the Supro Boost unleashes 20dB of gain with selectable high or low pass filtering and the Supro Drive recreates the output section of the legendary Supro amp line. Plus, all three pedals are loaded with click-free true bypass switching.
The people asked and Amptweaker delivered. Unleashed at NAMM were new, streamlined versions of the popular Tight Drive, Tight Metal and Tight Rock platforms. These junior-sized pedals are stripped down, but come loaded with three selectable EQ and Tight control settings that were chosen based on user feedback. And get this—they come a built-in noise gate for maximum versatility in a pedalboard friendly package.
Availability: Available Now (3 week estimated ship time)
The story goes that, a decade ago, the Keeley team built a few “workstations” and a couple landed with John Mayer, who just took them out on the Dead & Company Tour. Fast forward to NAMM 2016 and we get a quartet of new, re-engineered options including one for compression, drive and boost, and three others that blend in modulation and delay/reverb.
Okay, Strymon did unveil the Generalissimo, a dTape Eurorack module with an expected summer release date—but we’re into pedals. So what’s more interesting to us is the company’s bold entry into the power supply arena. The two units showcased at NAMM—the nine-output Zuma and five-output Ojai—are not yet in production, but we like the high-current, isolated, low-noise approach.
New Reverb Pedals
The heavy hitters were out in full force this year. Neunaber unveiled the Immerse Reverberator, a standalone unit that’s packed with eight stereo reverb types. Empress Effects went a similar direction, launching a prototype of its new reverb with 20 different algorithms and 35 presets. And not to be outdone, Diamond Pedals also teased an early prototype of a reverb to be released later.
Availability: March (Neunaber), TBA (Diamond & Empress)
New Gain Pedals
Continuing the successful trend of builder collaborations, DOD and SHOE Pedals teamed up on an original design called Looking Glass Overdrive. Way Huge also unveiled a hot-rodded version of the Green Rhino called the Overrated Special, brought to life for none other than Joe Bonamassa. And finally, Orange Amps launched the Two Stroke, a flexible 12dB boost pedal with dual parametric EQ controls.
Availability: Mid-February (DOD), TBA (Way Huge), Very Soon (Orange)
New Delay Pedals
If you love delay as much as we do, buckle up—there’s lots of good stuff coming in 2016. For Chase Bliss, it’s the analog Tonal Recall, a 550-millisecond monster featuring a reproduction MN3005 chip. For Alexander Pedals, it’s a “super” version of the Radical Delay and a vintage delay called the Oblivion. And for Catalinbread, it’s the glitchy CSIDMAN and the spiraling Bicycle Delay.
Availability: March (Alexander), May (Chase Bliss), TBA (Catalinbread)
And that’s that. There was a dizzying amount of killer new gear at NAMM 2016, so stay tuned as we review and discuss all the best stuff in future issues.