It's no secret that we sell a lot of pedals here at Parkway. With all the brands we carry, it's easy for people to look at our shelves and glance over pedals they may not be familiar with. Here are five effects companies we carry that often go overlooked, but that definitely should not be.
From talking to various customers in the shop, it seems that most people already introduced to Beetronics FX are under the impression that what they are good for is that "Jack White" sound. That is probably because their most popular pedals historically have been the Swarm, Royal Jelly, and more recently the Vezzpa. While all of those pedals offer uniquely voiced octave fuzz tones, Beetronics as a whole really explores all areas of gain. To demonstrate how good their options are, let's take a look at a "short" list of recording artists that use Beetronics.
Sean Lennon, Tim Commerford of Rage Against The Machine, Jual Alderte of Marilyn Manson and The Mars Volta, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Ricky Tillo of Lady Gaga, Paul Wilson of Snow Patrol, and Sarah Lipstate of Noveller all use Beetronics FX as well as many, many other members of the hive.
To this day, the Fat Bee is one of my favorite, most underestimated overdrive pedals. The Octahive is also an amazing recreation of the Tychobrae Octavia at a fraction of the price.
Who is Beetronics FX suited for?
In short, anyone. The wealth of tones you can achieve from Beetronics lineup of pedals is both insane and wonderful. Even if you're just into pedals for the way they look, Beetronics designs are awesome down to the circuit board, and they have entire lineup of custom shop pedals that offer even more insane designs. I deeply encourage anyone who has not yet experienced Beetronics to come in and test them out..
ThorpyFX is a family run business located in Wiltshire, England founded by British Army veteran Major Adrian Thorpe MBE. Their mission is to make the every circuit sound as good as it possibly can, and I think they've managed that task pretty well.
Thorpy FX are all made in insanely high quality, heavy, metal enclosures fitting of their namesake's career as an Army tanker. Each pedal is made with top notch components like Panasonic capacitors, gold plated PCBs, and audiophile grade Op-amps. You've probably heard them if you're hip to the pedal review world of YouTube. Their Camoflange flanger and "The Dane" overdrive, Pete Honore's signature pedal made quite the splash when they released.
Who is Thorpy FX suited for?
Considering Thorpy's full lineup of effects, and the fact that they really don't specialize too much in any one area, they really are great for a wide variety of musicians. They do come with a price tag, but if you're out touring and worried about the safety of your pedals, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more rock-solid build. I think these are best suited for gigging or studio musicians, but if you've been considering them even for just bedroom use, I'd say don't wait!
Paradox Effects are as unique and interesting as their name suggests. This Mexican based company features octave layering engines, phase modulation artifacts, fictional space reverberators, and pseudo-random delay modulations. There really isn't a sound that their lineup of effects doesn't cover.
Though they are experimental sounding, you can get classic sounds out of these reverbs, delays, and choruses as well. Their lineup features some standard fare gain stages, but they also get into the weird and wild with pedals like the Ionizer, a fuzz with a built in sequencer that sweeps through different clipping modes as you play.
Who is Paradox Effects suited for?
Paradox could be for anyone, but are likely to be best utilized by folks that aren't afraid to get weird. Their experimental nature lends itself to a wide-open world of inspiration, making these great pedals to find that missing sound you've been looking for in the background of your songs. If you like to push boundaries and set new limits, you'll be at home with Paradox Effects.
You may be surprised to see Universal Audio on this list considering their history, but the truth is that their lineup of effects have flown under the radar. These pedals opened strong and reviewed well, but it seems that the lede was buried under the breadth of effects being released at the same time. So, what have you been missing?
In short, if you're at all interested in pristine audio quality or a stereo rig of any kind, these pedals should be a go-to. The Astra, Starlight, and Golden offer studio-quality replications of some of the world's most well-known modulation, delay, and reverb machines respectively. Factor in true-stereo sound and the history and knowledge of a company like Universal Audio, and you've got a trio of pedals you can feel confident are going to deliver.
Who is UAFX suited for?
Audiophiles. The audio quality is insanely good. If you're a studio or session musician, UAFX are a no-brainer, but they're also exceptionally good at ambience as proven by artists like Rabea Massaad, Tycho, and Lisa Bella Donna. Each mode offers a new soundscape to dig into, and what a journey it is!
Collision Devices make some massive sounding effects pedals and are probably most well known by their Black Hole Symmetry, a modulated delay, pitch shifted reverb, and earth-shattering fuzz all-in-one pedal. If I could only pick one pedal to play a shoegaze show with, it would be the BHS.
In their lineup is also The Ranch, an overdrive with built in tremolo. Each side can be engaged separately, or together for stellar Nashville tones. The pair of these pedals played in tandem is truly extraordinary. The Ranch adds just the right amount of drive if you don't want to go into full fuzz territory with the BHS, and the trem adds so much depth to any post-rock, ambient, or shoegaze jam.
Here's friend of Parkway Music, Stefan Fast of The Pedal Zone demoing the BHS. It's really something to be heard.
Who is Collision Devices suited for?
If you're a post-rock, ambient, or shoegaze fan, these pedals have you covered. If you're a sound designer, the BHS specifically is a dream pedal for you. If you manage to find The Nocturnal, a limited release from Collision that features tremolo, shimmer reverb, and modulated delay, you'll be set for life on ambient soundscapes with just the Collision Devices lineup.
Of course there are loads more pedals here, so please feel free stop in and try some stuff out, or even just shoot us a message. We always love chatting about gear. If you're interested in anything here, they'll all be listed below. Most of our pedal pages have a video demo on them, so please enjoy the unlimited browsing potential!
Thanks for hanging,