2016 has been an interesting year in multiple ways. Lots of ups and downs. Overall, it seemed like a pretty “downer” year with so many rockers passing away. The political climate added a lot of tension between friends and family members, etc. But, I thought what was happening in the gear world was pretty great.
Back in January of 2016 at NAMM, there were lots of great gear debuting. You never know what will stick with musicians and become the “must have” gear. But now the year has passed and we can look back at some of, what I believe, were the winners of 2016. I’m sure there will be some disagreements, and pedals that I forgot to mention. No worries, if you feel one was missing, please comment below! Represent!
Now, I picked these based on observation. Our Pedal Line Friday is a great indicator of what’s “hot”, if you start seeing them over and over on submissions, you know it’s something to look at. Next, I pay attention to pro boards and other boards on Instagram. If I keep seeing the pedal, and it makes it on my list of pedals I would like to check out, it makes it here. So.. totally based on observations.
EarthQuaker Devices Avalanche Run
The Avalanche Run was developed with one goal in mind: to take the floating ambient tones of our Dispatch Master to the next level while still keeping it user friendly and refined. Taking you into the aural exploratorium without having to break open the user manual every time you want to open up your inner eye and get free is no easy task. We are using a high powered proprietary DSP platform to recreate all the characteristics of all our old favorite delay and reverb machines while still retaining a simple, yet flexible workspace. It has been a long time coming but well worth the wait! Enough bullshit, let’s talk about the damn pedal!
Realistic simulations of spaces, as well as never-before-heard surreal ambiances are represented with stunning sound quality. Sporting stereo ins and outs, a small footprint and all the controls at your finger-tips, it strikes the perfect balance of control and ease of use, avoiding laborious menus. Presets, the versatile control port, and MIDI open up a world of possibilities for live performances. Whether you’re looking for a classic spring, realistic room or new sonic flavors to expand your creativity, this pedal delivers. And….it’s got a beer mode!
Wampler Pedals Mini Ego Compressor
Now widely regarded as the industry standard in guitar pedal compression, the Mini Ego Compressor brings a new level of of control to what is expected and needed by today’s guitar players, in a mini Format.
Turn your guitar, bass, or keyboard into a Mellotron with the Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine effects pedal. Plug in your instrument, then select from nine authentic Mellotron sounds: Orchestra, Cello, Strings, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Brass, Low Choir, and High Choir. Attack and Sustain controls allow you to shape your sounds, and separate Dry and Effect outputs allow for two-amp setups. We’ve become huge fans of EHX’s range of keyboard-emulation pedals, and the Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine is one of our favorites.
Chase Bliss Tonal Recall
Built around a pair of re-issued versions of the legendary MN3005 bucket-brigade delay chips, the unmistakable analog character of this delay is front and center along with its velvety tape-like modulation. Tonal Recall expands upon the classic vintage sounds associated with analog delays of yesteryear while bringing modern amenities such as tap tempo, optional bypass with trails, expression control over any parameter, and the ability to save presets. Every knob and switch is connected to a little digital brain while your guitar signal stays 100% analog the entire time and never gets digitally processed. Since the control of the effect is digital, it opens up unprecedented effects and features that have never been heard or offered in analog stompboxes.
Source Audio Nemesis
The Nemesis Delay is the culmination of three years of intense research, listening, and engineering. Driven by a passion for greatness, our goal was to create a compact, powerful, and easy-to-use delay pedal with unrivaled tone, flexibility and style. We feel that our goals were achieved – Nemesis offers 24 distinct effect engines ranging from vintage tape and analog delays to highly advanced pitch-shifting, reverse, filter modulating, and rhythmic delays. It also features 128 presets, multiple delay taps, a hold function, tap tempo, full MIDI control, deep editing functionality with the Neuro Mobile App, and much more.
TC Electronic Ditto X4 Looper
Ditto X4 Looper is the pedal that’ll let you turn a single moment in time into something truly spectacular. By perfectly merging ease of use with stellar creative features like dual loop tracks, 7 loop FX, loop decay and MIDI sync, Ditto X4 Looper will instantly become the canvas on which you paint your multi-layered sonic masterpieces. If you can dream it, you can loop it!
Neunaber Audio Effects Immerse Reverberator
The Immerse Reverberator houses eight stellar stereo reverbs — Wet, hall, plate & spring reverbs, two shimmers, Wet+echo, and Wet+detune. Each effect has been painstakingly crafted: there are no fillers here.
Delivering unrivaled sound quality and no-nonsense flexibility in a compact footprint, the Immerse can be used with instruments of all stripes.
Stone Deaf PDF-2
PDF-2 Parametric Distortion Filter. This is the younger brother of the original PDF-1 we built and as used by Josh Homme, Nick Valensi and many other infamous guitarists. The PDF-2…What’s their to say other than its the successor to our very popular PDF-1, with reduced noise floor, adjustable gain knob and dual foot-switch for clean and dirty channels what is there not to love. Its one hell of a versatile pedal that’s applicable to many instruments. Analogue Piano, Bass, Drums, Synth and Electric and Acoustic guitars this little beast of a circuit has been used on. On top of these impressive features it now boasts expression input control feature for wah wah, phaser and manual tonal shifts as standard. One of the most useful pedal based EQ, Boost and Distortions on the market. As used by many professionals on tour this proves to be a rugged pedal. *** Please note *** The expression input will only work with Stone Deaf EP-1 expression pedal.
Alright, that’s my short list of hot pedals of 2016. What did I miss? Hit me up by commenting below. Also, maybe tell why you think it should be on the list. Also, the contrary.. do you think any of these shouldn’t be on the list? If so, tell me why!