Wampler Launches The Pantheon – Their King of Tone Alternative

It’s finally here – the Wampler Pantheon overdrive pedal. Based on the original Marshall Bluesbreaker pedal circuit, it aims to be an alternative to that legendary pedal: Analogman’s King of Tone.

As well as Brian’s own demo (above), there are plenty of demos from the YouTube pedal demo community and several retailers.

As is usual with Brian, he hasn’t made a straight-up clone on the King of Tone. There’s an extra – and active! – bass EQ knob, and external switches both for the amount of gain and the kind of clipping available.

The Analogman King of Tone is possibly second only to the Klon when it comes to restricted supply and hype-fuelled demand.

The KoT is still in production. To buy a new one, you have to send an email to Analogman to join the waiting list. Unfortunately, they don’t send acknowledgements, so you’ve no way of knowing if you’re actually on the list or not. Then you have to wait until you’re at the front of the queue. At the time of writing, the queue is around two years long.

As a result, there’s definitely demand for a KoT-type pedal that is easy to obtain, and easy to replace if it stolen or otherwise lost.

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Slate Digital VRS8 Interface Launched

Slate Digital has launched the VRS8, their 8×8 recording interface for Thunderbolt-equipped Macs.

For home studio enthusiasts who want pro-level gear, there’s really only three ways to do it: Universal Audio Apollo, Slate Digital VRS and the Everything Bundle … or buy a standalone interface and collect your own plugins from lots of different vendors.

The UAD system relies on DSP chips in the Apollo hardware to run emulations of analog outboard gear. You have to buy these plugins separately, and they cost hundreds of pounds each. The results are fantastic, and not only well worth the money, but also far cheaper than buying (and maintaining!) the real outboard gear.

There’s just one problem, and it’s the reason why I haven’t bought any UAD plugins this year. The Apollo hardware is simply underpowered. It doesn’t take many plugins to max out the available hardware. And if you’re a home studio enthusiast, it’s a lot of money to move from the Apollo Twin up to the Apollo 8.

Enough money to consider looking at switching to something else.

Now Slate Digital has its own serious problem to take into account. It’s secured by an iLok key. Look at a modern Mac. Where the hell do you find a free port to plug the iLok into these days?!? One port is taken up by power, one by the external storage that the session is on, one by your audio interface, and one by your external monitor.

Yes, I know there’s a virtual iLok now. I live in the UK, where our broadband is about as reliable as a Trump tweet or a Brexit promise. I don’t want a (rare!) creative day ruined because of a broadband outage.

That said, the Slate Digital VRS looks really interesting. For pretty much the same price as the Apollo 8 Quad, you get 8 preamps and a year’s access to the Everything Bundle. (The equivalent UAD Ultimate Bundle is currently over £2,300 and doesn’t include all of the plugins). And your Mac will be able to run far more plugins at once than the quad-DSPs of the Apollo 8.

Thing is, if I’m going to use all 8 preamps, I’d want the Apollo 8p, not the Apollo 8. The difference? The extra Unison preamps, which model the electrical behaviour of whatever outboard gear you’re simulating. I’m a big fan, and a big believer that part of the organicness of a recorded tone comes from the interaction of the electrical circuit.

Question is, though: is it a difference that is noticeable in a final mix? And is it a difference that’s worth the extra money?

Jimi Hendrix Fender Custom Shop Guitars

Chappers and The Captain have taken a look at the new Hendrix Voodoo Child Stratocasters from Fender’s Custom Shop.

At £4000, they’re priced mainly for collectors of Hendrix memorabilia. They come with certificates, and some other official Hendrix-branded stuff … but at heart, they seem to be Journeyman Strats with reversed headstocks and a reversed bridge pickup.

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JHS Bonzai Pedal Demo

Fluff has posted a demo of the JHS Bonzai pedal. 9 Tubescreamers in one pedal!

If you like to get your dirt from your amp, the Tubescreamer is an essential pedal circuit to explore. The TS features a mid-range hump that can give your amp a boost and lift your guitar out of a mix.

There’s been many TS designs over the years, and that’s without counting all the third-party circuits! The JHS Bonzai puts 9 of these designs into a single pedal. And, by all accounts, each circuit is a faithful reproduction of the original.

Why would anyone need a pedal like this? Especially as the differences can be very hard to hear in a YouTube demo? Basically, it gives you flexibility – the ability to pick the TS circuit that best suits the guitar, amp, and music genre. If your rig and genre is static, maybe it’s overkill.

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Fearless Gear Review – Marshall CODE 25

Glen Fricker has posted his thoughts on Marshall’s CODE 25 amp. Given his infamous Line 6 Spider review, this should be good 🙂

I’ve heard the Marshall Code live, being demo’d by Marshall themselves. There were plenty of folks in the audience who not only liked what the CODE offers, they went out and bought one. There’s clearly an audience for this amp.

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Fender Parallel Universe Troublemaker

Peach Guitars have posted a demo of Fender’s new Troublemaker Telecaster. It’s part of the Parallel Universe limited run.

A dual-humbucker Tele with the Les Paul bridge and control layout? Yes please!!! Oh, and it also comes in a very Les Paul-like sunburst finish? Take my money now!

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve used Warmoth’s online custom guitar body and neck builders to spec up something just like this. In my opinion, the Les Paul bridge and control layout is perfection itself for dual-humbucking guitars.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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Tuesday Talks: Falling Back In Love With The Guitar

Mary Spender’s latest Tuesday Talk is all about her ups and downs with the guitar over the years.

She also talks about the fast-approaching 100th episode of Tuesday Talks, and the special guest she wants on that landmark episode.

Watch the video to learn who she’d love to interview for the 100th episode, and join the discussion on YouTube to help Mary make it happen.

Suhr Koko Boost Demo

Guitarist Magazine has posted a demo of Suhr’s Koko Boost pedal.

It looks like they’re running it into a Vox AC30’s normal channel? Whichever amp it is, the end result is a lovely Americana type of tone. Later on in the video, as they fiddle with the pedal’s settings, the tone starts to veer towards that classic Liverpool rock sound.

Very interesting!

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How Rabea Makes Kemper Profiles

Rabea Massaad has posted a video showing us all how he makes profiles for his Kemper.

This video is perfect timing for me perfectly. We have a long weekend coming up here in the UK, and I’m planning on spending all three days with my Kemper. Any tips I can get will save me a lot of frustration.

I hope we see Rabea’s Kemper profiles available soon. Is there going to be an official Victory Amps profile pack, I wonder?

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How Great Is The Laney Tommy Iommi Boost Pedal?

Henning has taken a look at the Tommy Iommi boost pedal by Laney.

If you prefer to get your filth from amps rather than pedals, boost pedals are an interesting way to get a bit more from your amp and shape the tone in the process.

The basic idea is that a boost pedal slams the amp’s input with a hotter signal. This causes the preamp to react differently. Exactly how depends on the boost pedal and the amp you’re using.

I own several boost pedals, but I don’t know much about them or how to use them yet. My mate Andrew has offered to lend me several more and teach me all about them. I just need to find the time to take him up on his generous offer!

This video is trademark Henning. It’s a good look at what the Tommy Iommi boost pedal sounds like through several amps set at different gain levels.

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