This is one of the pedals I was quite excited to see come through the EffectsBay office. It’s the Spaceman Effects Aphelion Harmonic Overdrive. Brandon at Elevation Boutiques (Spaceman Effects dealer) arranged for a unit to be sent here. Spaceman Effects has really been getting some buzz for their pedals. High build quality. High tone quality, and some big names are starting to be seen with Spaceman Effects. I’ve definitely been seeing them pop up on boards. In fact, when I just had a chance to see The Appleseed Casts, I saw the Aphelion on one of their pedalboards.
So, let’s talk about the Aphelion. Checking out Spaceman’s site, this is their official description of the Aphelion Harmonic Overdrive:
Introducing the Aphelion Overdrive, the latest Spaceman tone machine, built to inspire. The Aphelion is a harmonically rich overdrive pedal, with an emphasis on even-order harmonics. It has a wide gain range from light sparkle, to overdriven tube-amp bliss. The pedal is wonderfully transparent and extremely responsive to playing dynamics. To our ears, it’s the most realistic tube-amp overdrive tone we’ve ever heard in a pedal.
In standard Spaceman fashion, we’ve come up with an exciting, unique design that makes it truly one of the most organic and dynamically responsive overdrive pedals on the planet. The Aphelion creates unique drive tones and with a sea of cloned overdrive circuits out there today, this means so very much.
The drive possibilities of the Aphelion range from a sparkly, shimmering boost to high-gain overdrive, with plenty of boosting power on tap. The tone control lets you balance highs and lows, with full range at 12:00. Use your neck pickup with high gain settings for singing, harmonic-laden lead tones.
Completely hand-soldered and handmade in Portland Oregon, the Aphelion utilizes true-bypass switching via the heaviest duty mechanical footswitch available. Open one up and you’ll see an unparalleled display of craftsmanship. Thick, high quality PCB along with detailed military-spec wiring, using vintage US made heavy-gauge stranded wire. On top of the USA-cast aluminum enclosure sits a durable, engraved vinyl faceplate and clear jewel indicator with turquoise LED. This overdrive is built to last a lifetime.
My first initial thoughts when playing the overdrive… it is damn organic, with great tonal range/options. For this demo, I called my buddy Jimmy again… who in fact already owns an Aphelion (blue) and was quite familiar with the pedal. He’s playing his trusty Les Paul Elegant Custom Shop guitar into his new Germino Lead 55 head through a Marshall 4×12 cabinet. He mic’d the cab with Fathead Ribbon Mic and a Shure SM57. There is nothing between the guitar and amp besides the Spaceman Aphelion Overdrive.
For this video, I was able to gear up and get a better camera/lights for the shoot. I shot Jimmy to prove he’s not a artificial crazy rock robot I built.. but an actual person!
You can listen to the high quality MP3 clip via SoundCloud
Since Jimmy was quite familiar with this pedal, I asked to send me his thoughts on the Spaceman Aphelion Overdrive:
Aphelion is smooth and thick sounding across the gain spectrum. The even order harmonic content gives chords a dense and complex sound, single notes and lead lines are fat and juicy. The midrange is even and balanced. The tone control allows for gentle shaping of the lows and low mids, with noon on the dial sounding neutral. Counterclockwise of noon, the tone control shaves lows and low mids letting the true mids punch through more prominently. Full clockwise on the tone knob produces chewy low mids and extremely fat lead tones with an explosive low end quality while maintaining clarity. The Aphelion has plenty of gain for use with a clean amp, but also works equally as well pushing a gained up amp into big time gain approaching EH “Muff” tones, but with a refined voice and musicality. – Jimmy Rolle
As you can hear, this pedal sounds absolutely great. If you’re interested in getting your hands on one, they range in price depending on what particular model you get. They range in the $269 – $279 area. Head over to Elevation Boutiques and contact Brandon and he’ll treat you right. Also, you might want to follow Elevation Boutiques on Twitter and like them on Facebook. They often announce great deals on awesome pedals. Be sure to check out Spaceman Effects as well!