Frequently, you will find effect pedals that do not meet the needs of many guitarists. I think, that application errors or wrong expectations mostly lead to such an underestimation of certain effect pedals. Here I would like to present some examples.
Chase Bliss Audio
Such an undervaluation applies to the Chase Bliss Audio Gravitas tremolo and the Spectre flanger.
The Spectre is criticized for a low total volume when it is used for a clean sound as well as for making the signal overdrive pretty soon.
One quick glance into the manual is all you need to find out that the pedal is supposed to create slightly overdriven tremolo sounds because all examples show the gain pot position at 3 o’clock. And this makes sense. The Gravitas provides a beautiful overdrive that, combined with a slight tremolo effect, reminds of small Supro style vintage amps.
The advantage is, that you mostly use the tremolo effect at the end of the effect chain. Thereby you will get an additional gain stage which also harmonizes quiet well with a preconnected booster or overdrive pedal. By using the tone pot, the sound of the overdrive can be adjusted in a sophisticated way.
And let’s be honest: amongst the uncountable clean sounding tremolo pedals this character pedal offers a lovely change.
The same applies to the Spectre. This unique pedal is an analog thru zero flanger what, technically is brilliant, but, as you know, leads to a certain besides noise.
But in this case also, a look into the manual can be pretty helpful. Many guitarists use modulation effects to embellish their clean sound. In my opinion, the Spectre is perfect for slightly overdriven and overdriven sounds. In this case the Spectre will give some kind of wideness and motion to the sound of the guitar that is simply beautiful.
This pedal definitively is an insider tip.
Elektron Analog Drive
Eight analog circuits combined in one pedal, midi presets and parametric mids? That ought to be perfect allrounder if it would not – according to the accords of many users – hiss a lot.
Recently, I have tried the Elektron Analog Drive and, to be honest, I did not perceive an increased noise.
What in fact was very noticeable, was that the volume of all factory presets has been boosted a lot (what of course leads to besides noise in the setup). Therefore, it is important to compare the sounds to the bypass signal. By adjusting the volume at this point, the noise will be reduced to an almost unperceivable level.
Surely, a high gain pedal with the gain dimed, hisses – but this is quite normal and the Analog Drive does not vary from its competitors. The pedal can be acquired at favorable conditions and might be the flexible overdrive pedal many guitarists are looking for.
Unequivocal a pedal you should try.
As you know, the Wampler Tumnus is mini sized a Klone clone. I often read that the Tumnus has too much low end and that you ought to choose the recent Tumnus Deluxe for the possibility to adjust bass, mids and treble in a more sophisticated way.
I would label the small Tumnus as the perfect bedroom Klon. While the Klon Centaur cuts the low end and emphasizes the treble, the Tumnus maintains the bass. Therefore, a Klon Centaur is only suitable at a live-gig volume and will sound somehow thin while you are practicing at your bedroom.
For this setting, the Tumnus is the perfect choice for it will sound at a bedroom level like the Klon sounds hooked up to a big amp with 4×12” speakers.
The Tumnus Deluxe instead, is a totally different pedal. Although it is also based on the Klon, the tone control changes the basic character and the gain structure. Even the adjustment of the three EQ pots will not help to make the Deluxe version sound less like an overdrive pedal and more like a Klon-based booster.
Ok, that’s my small selection of underrated effect pedals.
Maybe you have found something, you want to try now. Or even another pedal which is not “everybody’s darling”. First, you can create an individual sound by using them, and second, you might save some money for the hyped stompboxes are mostly pretty expensive.