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Let's talk weirdo pedals - Red Panda, Chase Bliss, Meris, Montreal Assembly, Bananana, Pladask, ...

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by cosmicevan, Dec 31, 2019.

  1. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Feb 1, 2003
    New York
    Most bassists focus on the traditional effects so threads centered around these niche pedals get lost in the shuffle. Wishing there was a centralized spot for those of us into weirdo stuff to share what's new and exciting to the market or to our pedal boards as well as sharing settings and tips n tricks. Rolling the dice to see if this thread sticks for that purpose.

    Please share what pedals you've got and how you use them in your setup (even if just for fun) and let's get the conversation started! Anyone using any Chase Bliss stuff? I've been super curious about those, particularly the Mood and the Blooper.

    On my board I've got:
    • Red Panda Particle - controlled via MIDI used for normal and crazy delay duties
    • Red Panda Tensor - controlled via MIDI and 4 button remote (set for looper control) - just started exploring using it beyond presets and the 2 main buttons, but still using it for rewind, and wild pitch shifting and high speed solo runs
    • Meris Hedra - controlled via MIDI for octave and pitch shifting duties - just started exploring the pitch shifted delays
    • Meris Ottobit Jr - controlled via MIDI for bug crusher and synthy distortion and filter sweeps - just started exploring all the sequencing and stutter capabilities

    I also have a tabletop setup that includes a montreal assembly PurPLL > Malekko Charlie Foxtrot > montreal assembly Count to 5 > montreal assembly 856 for Zellersasn and have a few other glitchers like Bananana's Mandala and just recently came into possession of a Pladask Elektrisk Fabrikat and Cooper FX Outward v2.5

    Some great reference threads related to pedals that fit this category:
    - Red Panda Tensor Questions/Discussion
    - Montreal Assembly Count to 5 Settings & Discussion
    - VFE Klein Bottle discussion
    - Everything PLL (Shumann, Broughton, Dimehead, ELTA, etc)
  2. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I got a MOOD maybe two months ago? ...but after using it for only a few sessions*, realized mine was defective. Fortunately the good folks at Chase Bliss Audio were super-helpful in diagnosing the malfunction, issuing an RMA with call tags, and getting it repaired. Got it back on Christmas Eve, and have spent maybe three sessions with it since. Tomorrow is the first time I'll be using the fully-functional MOOD in a band situation. But anyway, the early review is

    Ho. Lee. Crap.

    Incredibly versatile and ridiculously good sounding, both for lush, ethereal consonant ambiances and for gritty/grainy abrasive noise. It took me a while to get a handle on what exactly the box is doing (since its functions change dramatically with every flip of a mode switch) but once I wrapped my head around what it's supposed to do it became very rewarding.

    My favorite feature is, unlike every single looper I've ever seen other than the original (circa 1980) Electro-Harmonix 16-Second Digital Delay, the DroloFX looping side of MOOD is always listening; you don't decide you want to loop something and then instantiate recording (and hope you then play something loop-worthy), you simply decide "whoa, I just played something wicked cool back there!" and then instantiate playback. That's always been a real game-changer for me. Having two always-listening loopers is going to be more fun than the proverbial pig in poop.

    And I get positively giddy when I think about what I'll be able to do using MOOD in conjunction with the Montreal Assembly Count To 5, especially being able to pass asymmetric pitch-shifted granular loops back and forth between the two!

    *unfortunately my realization came exactly two days after CBA's defective exchange policy expired, so they couldn't simply send me a replacement, they had to repair my unit. But they were very fair and expeditious about it.
  3. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    I really like Red Panda, Mantic ,Chase Bliss.

    But -@-$$+#+_-$(# these things are insane expensive.
    cosmicevan and gh0st42 like this.
  4. gh0st42


    Oct 25, 2019
    Well timed thread, as that’s my next focus for effects to add.

    Pretty sparse on the pedalboard at the moment, but have a old rack mount Lexicon Vortex which can run the range of tame to super strange.

    Basically a Modulation, Delay, and Reverb multi unit with some odd tricks up its sleeve.
    Pretty much any parameter on an effect can be envelope or expression pedal controlled. Each Preset is two completely separate effects which you can “morph” between with a footswitch or expression pedal.

    It’s not a blend of the two either, it “algorithmically mutates” the effects between the two halves.

    Sometimes very weird things happen mid “morph”.

    Plus doing stuff like tying speed, delay time, feedback, or reverb decays to envelope control is pretty awesome. It’s also true discreet Stereo input to output.

    Problem is they are old, long out of production, impossible to find, and have no Midi control at all.
  5. cmcbass

    cmcbass Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2018
    I put a malekko scrutator on my board a little while ago and have the mix knob assigned to my expression pedal. It's a clean signal when the pedal is neutral and sweeps into bit crushing as you press it. One of my favorite purchases as of lately.
    Spectrum, cosmicevan and gh0st42 like this.
  6. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Feb 1, 2003
    New York
    @Bob_Ross how are you controlling the Mood? Just the footswitches? Using any presets or anything like that?
  7. shaggy45

    shaggy45 Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2009

    I have two of these. You can do alot of crazy pitch bending delay and flanger sirens and other weirdness. Just make sure you use a es8 or true bypass loop cause they suck tone like no other
  8. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I wrote a product review of the Vortex for Recording Magazine back in 1994 and I remember being quite enamored of the sounds it made...and exasperated by the limited UI.

    I haven't yet found any settings that I want to make presets but I'm just about at that point where I might want to have a couple go-to patches at the ready. I'm trying to understand the box well enough that I don't need presets, that I can just quickly throw some switches & turn some knobs to the position where I know they'll give me what I'm looking for...feels like I'm a few practice hours away from achieving that.

    I have no intention of controlling it via MIDI or expression pedal. The former because I clawed my way out of that rabbit hole 6 or 7 years ago after several decades of being immersed and I'm not interested in revisiting MIDI for live performances. The latter because I just don't have the space, trying to keep the board with the MOOD my "compact" one.
  9. Related to this thread, there's also the Ambient/Post-Rock/Textural thread, which is not just about pedals but does contain useful info and demos:

    Ambient/Post-Rock/Textural bass playing thread

    I just started getting into pedals this year and don't think I'm ready for the expensive boutique stuff, but I'm really tempted by the WMD Geiger Counter. I have the eurorack version and it's great, but a bit cumbersome to use with a bass.
    remcult and cosmicevan like this.
  10. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    I'd have a few more Red Panda ....can't have too many of those. Then about one of each they make.

    About 5 chase Bliss.....or 6

    Then....add a few......synth pedals

    Boom....5000$$$ easy
    cosmicevan likes this.
  11. I have one of those, bought dirt cheap 20something yrs ago. It has some problems now, with all those old caps, but it's still in my basement, hoping to be resurrected.
    shaggy45 likes this.
  12. whoismarykelly


    Feb 12, 2004
    Here is a copy of the first post in a thread I have going on ILF about microlooping and glitch pedals. A lot of these are really fantastic texture machines.


    I. Malekko Charlie Foxtrot

    The Charlie Foxtrot can be a very simple pedal or it can be very complex depending on how you set it up. In most configurations its a set-and-forget box that you can turn on and get a consistent result if you need something to do the same kind of sound every time you play a part. Every function related to the glitch effect can be set to a specific value or a random value from all the options for that control. So you can set a short buffer to repeat for a specific period of time for a very rhythmic effect or you can set everything to random and the pedal will do its own thing while you play parts. You can also control all that via picking threshold or manual triggering of a single cycle. Pitch shifting up, down, or both is also particularly smooth and electronic sounding on this pedal. This is by far the synthiest pedal in the genre. Most other pedals always sound like a guitar. The Charlie Foxtrot is capable of sounds no one would ever guess came from a guitar.

    Note: The 'Auto' program on a Hexe ReVolver is essentially the same effect as the Charlie Foxtrot although the Hexe does not offer the pitch manipulation the Charlie Foxtrot offers.

    II. MASF Raptio

    The Raptio is the most straightforward option on the market and does a simple stutter effect very well in a compact size and at a pretty affordable price point. I use one on my live board because it responds consistently and isn’t likely to get settings mixed up that throw me off during a set. Controls for wet level, dry level, and stutter speed cover the actual effect. The glitch mode is the star of the show. The hold mode is super lo-fi and doesn’t compete with a pedal like the EHX freeze but it offers a cool texture if you want a harsh held note. Also adds comb filtering if you sweep the rate knob while holding the footswitch. The Raptio doesn’t dump the buffer when you release the footswitch so you can get a fading version of the last sample if you re-trigger immediately after letting off. This isn’t good or bad. Its just different and something to take into account. If you want perfect new samples on rapid switching sequences the Raptio tends to get messy and lose the specific note information. It becomes more of a clicky bright stutter which cuts through really well. Also, if you’re in glitch mode and you move the knob while a sample is playing the pedal will completely mangle that sample in a beautiful way.

    III. MASF Possessed Tremolo

    If the Charlie Foxtrot is user friendly and consistent, the Possessed Tremolo is the total opposite. It does whatever it wants with your signal and you have some amount of control over a couple parameters. If it does something you like on a part once, don’t count on it ever doing the same thing again. That can be a good or bad thing depending on what you want. If you’re looking for a pedal that never does the same thing twice then this is the one to get. Worth noting that the name says its a tremolo but its more of a glitch delay with a single repeat. It fills a buffer and then spits out the contents in various ways.

    IV. Bandanna Mandala

    The Mandala does everything the Raptio does plus a little more. It adds the option to pitch the sample up or down at a variable rate and also has options for the switch to be latching or momentary. You can also get it to trigger a random sample rate on every new press of the switch. Its a lot of features for the money. However, its a mini-pedal which can make it tough to manage on a pedalboard. I rehoused mine and turned the two toggles into footswitches which would have made it the ultimate straightforward stutter box for me except that the pedal was faulty from the factory and after a random number of triggers or a random amount of time it stops stuttering and just passes signal. It needs to be power cycled to work again. So while it sort of works its basically a brick. I’ve read about this being an issue with some Mandalas. I definitely voided the warranty on this one though so… $200 brick.

    V. Solid State Supernova Super Flutter V2

    The Super Flutter is a lot of functions in one box. The Flutter modes hold a sample of a certain speed and cut the dry signal while it is playing. Then you can hold the other switch and pitch that sample up or down at a rate determined by the second knob. Or if you hit the right switch you can just go directly to pitching the sample up or down in a smooth curve. The pedal is quirky though because the right switch goes in the direction the knob says. If you hit the right switch while already holding the left then the pitch goes in the opposite direction. So ultimately you get all the options without changing settings! The Cutter mode is a hard square wave tremolo that passes the dry signal. Instead of changing pitch the right switch changes the speed of the tremolo up or down. The Super Flutter also has a tap-tempo mode and different regions of the speed knob allow for four different tap ratios. This is the only pedal that offers such a feature. On top of all that you can add an expression pedal and control the pitching up or down of the sample manually and leave it at different speeds. You can do really fun harmonizing this way. Good luck finding one of these, unfortunately. The company doesn’t seem to be in business and Reverb averages one every two years.

    VI. Montreal Assembly Count to 5

    This pedal does a lot of stuff and its kind of a blank box of confusion if you don’t dig deep into the user-created manuals. Its primarily included in this reference because you can re-trigger the buffer with the left switch which makes for glitchy fun. If you’re really hands-on with pedals the CT5 is a great option because you can manipulate multiple loops in real time and get a lot of different textures on a recorded loop. It can also be a good hands-off pedal where you just play and let the pedal flow along with you.

    VII. Cooper FX Outward

    The Outward is another box that can be straightforward or very complex. The envelope delay mode covers a lot of smoother glitch sounds that burble along underneath your playing. Then you can hold a loop of whatever is in the buffer and time stretch it to your heart’s content. Its a very organic way of making base layers to play over that don’t have much specific rhythmic or harmonic data to clash with your other playing. Being able to slow things down into a stretched smear without affecting pitch is very useful for processing with other pedals to make textures that don’t sound as much like a guitar. Also, you can leave a sample in the pedal’s hold mode and bypass the pedal to bring back that sample later on. Very useful!

    VIII. Red Panda Tensor

    The Tensor does a lot of stuff. Its like a Raptio and an Outward and a Count To 5 all wrapped into a box that guesses what you’re doing and reacts accordingly. Also it has a literal Random knob that lets you mix in variable amounts of random deviation from your settings. Its a lot to take in but its pretty user friendly and you can loop samples in the buffer and pitch them up and down and time stretch or compress them. You can then also go from full forward speed down to tape stop and then backwards into full reverse. And that happens in real time like the much-sought-after Digitech Space Station. The switches can be momentary or latching, the whole thing is MIDI-controllable via USB and Red Panda is consistently updating software based on user feedback. This is the pedal that covers all these niche effects from hard-to-reach builders and brings it to a mass market product. People have been salty that it doesn’t work exactly how they want but its a lot of features for the money and I’m not complaining about that.

    IX. MWFX Judder

    Pushing delay lines to their limits gets you a lot of weird stuff and the Judder is a good example of that. It blends two delay lines pushed to their limits and allows you to control them via envelope or LFO and adds automated parameter adjustment on top. You can get everything from simple delay to bizarre tremolo-esque modulation and wild pitch shifting. There are so many variables between the switches and controls that its hard to say definitively what the Judder is. But a good way to look at it is a box that will always give you new ideas if you flick a bunch of switches and start playing. My one qualm with the Judder is that they are extremely noisy in ‘bypass’ because there actually isn’t a bypass on the pedal. I modified mine for true bypass on the latching switch to get rid of the noise when I wasn’t using it and I strongly recommend this if you play with any amount of gain after the pedal.

    X. TKOG Mini Glitch

    The Mini Glitch is the next evolution of TKOG’s original Feral Glitch pedal that sold out on Kickstarter and then rapidly jumped in price in Reverb sales. Its essentially a more elaborate take on the Raptio variation of glitch pedals. The knob controls the speed of the effect and the switches give you options for random glitch, glitch that triggers on each new pick attack, and regular manual stutter like the Raptio. Dry blend is managed with a toggle. This is another Spinsemi FV1-based design and it tends to be a little smoother than the Raptio while also having some of the artifacts you expect to hear in a glitch pedal. The Mini Glitch is a good option for set and forget playing, especially on the trigger mode because it will just do its thing along with your playing without you needing to constantly interact with the pedal. Some mangling of the sample is possible when moving the knob while holding the switch but its not as dramatic as the Raptio. Worth noting is that the manual mode has a significant delay before it will play the new sample which makes precise triggering tough. This pedal is better for triggering stutters on already hanging notes for that reason.

    XI. Hexe ReVolvers

    Revolver II
    The Revolver II is extremely flexible for random stutter variations and short sample lengths. It completely dumps the buffer on each new trigger and the necessary amount of signal coming in before it can make a viable sample is extremely short. You can re-trigger new notes almost as fast as you can tap and the ReVolver will spit out solid pitch information each time. Nothing else on the market competes in this specific feature. Almost everything else needs to be triggered after the note has been hanging for a bit. The ReVolver II includes controls for speed and time and can play loops in forward or reverse. It offers a manual glitch mode that works like a Raptio as well as an Auto Glitch mode that is set and forget at speed and time settings of your choosing. Tone control, volume control, and a dry cut switch let you tailor the tone and mix of the effect which is a lot of flexibility. Switching between modes is very easy with the central knob. Finally, ReVolvers are unique in that you capture with one switch and cancel the effect with another. This means you can bring back the last sample at any time by hitting the left switch.

    ReVolver DX
    The ReVolver DX has the same general features as the II with the addition of a longer possible sample time in a mode accessed by power cycling the pedal and choosing either a 1s or 4.8s mode. Accessing the rest of the modes differs from the II in that you hold the bypass switch to enter the mode menu and cycle through the options. The DX adds a fade feature which allows you to fade loops automatically at variable rates. The DX can also speed loops up or down on each trigger like the Super Flutter. The programs on the DX are more focused on longer period manipulation of loops such as the ping pong mode and up/down modes. These new modes replace some of the random modes from the II that are harsher and more akin to CD skipping or glitching.

    ReVolver DX16
    The DX16 is the same as the DX with the exception that it can capture 17 seconds of audio rather than the max of 4.8 seconds on the regular DX.

    XII. David Rolo Stamme[n]

    The Stamme[n] is a Spinsemi FV1-based pedal that combines a lot of programs into a single box. It offers tap tempo versions of the Ratio-type stutter as well as filtered samples, tape stop effects, and a unique broken cable emulator setting. All effects can be either momentary or latching in the current versions with two footswitches. Pictured above is the first version with a separate bypass switch. Wet/dry mix is accomplished with separate volumes for the wet and dry signals.

    XIII. Meris Ottobit Jr

    The Ottobit Jr is more pitch/filter sequencer and bitcrusher than glitch pedal but it does have a stutter function that works in coordination with the rate of the sequencer to stutter in a predictable fashion. It's the kind of effect you have to write for specifically rather than something you can just throw on whenever you want in a song. The stutter works as a number of repeats at a specific speed. So you have 1-8 repeats at full speed, 1-8 repeats at half speed, and 1-8 repeats at double speed, as well as a random selection from any of those possibilities. This is tricky to set exactly how you want it because there are so many divisions on the knob and you sort of have to guess where you are and then listen. Its a specific effect that nothing else does but one that can be tough to work with if you haven't spent a lot of time tweaking.

    XIV. Sonic Crayon Anti Nautilus

    The Anti Nautilus is somewhat of a predecessor to a lot of the glitchy pedals on the market nowadays that allow you to manipulate pitch and stutter on a chunk of audio captured in a buffer. The Malekko Charlie Foxtrot has a lot of the same qualities and features including pitch up/down, trigger or loop capture sensitivity, and buffer length. The Anti Nautilus is significantly more organic sounding and while the Charlie Foxtrot tends to sound more electronic in nature. Another case of a pedal where if you see one, buy it, because you wont see another. Sonic Crayon pedals command a massive premium nowadays. A more accessible way to enjoy Etienne's work is strolling through the world in Far Cry 5 ;)

    XV. Pladask Elektrisk Fabrikat

    Fabrikat is another box that covers a lot of bases with its 16 programs. The time stretch algorithms are a bit more atmospheric than the Outward or Tensor and the option for feedback in the circuit adds a lot of nuances that you won't find elsewhere. It also has programs that cover similar ground to the TKOG Mini Glitch, Drolo Stammen, and alternating forward/reverse found on the ReVolver DX and Tensor. The loop switch lets you hold onto audio and then manipulate it with the controls which makes getting an exact sound you want much easier than with other pedals. If you need an all-encompassing microloop manipulation pedal its really hard to beat the Fabrikat. Also somewhat hard to buy one but PE consistently produces new runs of their effects every few months.

    XVI. Montreal Assembly 856 for Zellersasn

    856 for Zellersasn is a dense pedal with a lot of stuff going on that isn't immediately apparent. The essential premise is you record a loop and then you can adjust the area of that loop that is played back, the length of the loop that is played back, the tempo and pitch of the loop that is played back, and the number of copies of the loop that are played at the same time with a delayed offset. And then you can set up different variations of that same loop to play together 3 times. You can also sample the output of the pedal back into the input and apply all your automation to the already-automated loop for rather unpredictable results. Current versions have full midi implementation and a layout that helps with workflow. Unlike almost everything else listed here, the 856 is very very very not a plug and play pedal. It takes a lot of experimenting to get used to how all the functions work and how the knobs change when you have a switch on one position vs. another. It's a great tool for building a layered loop that develops organically but not predictably.

    XVII. Pladask Elektrisk Bakvendt

    Bakvendt is an ILF-exclusive by Pladask Elektrisk. Its a granular synthesizer masquerading as a reverse delay. It can delay stuff in reverse, time stretch stuff in reverse, freeze stuff, pitch stuff upwards in octave intervals, pitch stuff downwards in octave intervals and generally make lots of gnarly noises. Pladask's switching mechanism of tap for latching and hold for momentary is especially useful in this pedal if you're going for more extreme sounds. A good supplement, or perhaps less option-paralysis-laden alternative to Fabrikat.
    Indiedog, neuman, jwr and 7 others like this.
  13. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Feb 1, 2003
    New York

    I LOVE that thread...it has cost me quite a bit. I am pretty close to having that full collection of at least the obtainable glitch pedals from your thread.
  14. whoismarykelly


    Feb 12, 2004
    a lot of them are pretty unobtainable but its kinda irrelevant as a few mainstream pedals have recently captured effects previously only availble from $500 waitlist rarities.
    cosmicevan likes this.
  15. Driven Crane

    Driven Crane

    May 30, 2014
    The Platinum Review. I will read it five more times. Thank you very very much!!!!
  16. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Man, I miss the Vortex I used to have years ago. Major fan of the "Bleen" mode - using my ebow into that mode made a sound I've never been able to replicate since. I've looked recently and haven't seen one for sale anywhere, sadly.
    cosmicevan likes this.
  17. I have a few weird pedals, not enough time at the moment to talk about them all, so I'll just pick one for now:

    The Bananana Matryoshka bass synth minipedal. I preordered mine off their website and they shipped to me in Virginia straight from Japan. It's not the first pedal of theirs I've bought and I find them to be a good company. The Matryoshka is a neat little bass synth that tracks very well, but my favorite feature is the sample and hold function which I tend to leave it set to.
    cosmicevan likes this.
  18. remcult

    remcult Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2012
    New Jersey
    So down for this thread

    At the moment loving using my Tensor and Ct5 in various combinations with an octave pedal and some dirt, then running through a tremolo, but definitely need to add to my toolbox of strange

    Would love to hear more about the Ottobit Jr, strongly considering getting one
    cosmicevan likes this.
  19. My weirdest pedals are Chase Bliss Mood and Tomkat Cloudy. I only use them with my synth though. Some of the ones listed on this thread sound very interesting.
    monsterthompson and cosmicevan like this.
  20. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Feb 1, 2003
    New York
    I snagged one to handle bit crusher duties and then some on my board. I've got a pretty decent bit crusher sound set up now (modeled after the Frederic Bug Crusher that it replaced) and use an expression pedal to sweep the filter on that which is excellent but I've struggled with getting the editor to work for me w presets so I've mostly built up sounds by sending 6 or so CCs to the pedals to set it how I want for now. I'd like to dig in more on the sequencer but there are a solid dozen other things I need to do on my board first. The one thing that I struggle with a bit with Meris pedals in general is the volume and getting things to stay even...typically they want to be louder than unity. I use an ES-8 to control my MIDI and have both an ottobit jr and a Hedra in the same loop since I turn them on/off via MIDI it makes it easier to deal with things at the patch level. I do have one really awesome synth patch w some octaves from the Hedra and crushing from ottobit w sweepable expression that I LOVE. I don't know how well you'd do w an ottobit jr and not having MIDI to tame back the volume jumps between settings. The real magic of those pedals is the amount of control and versatility you can access via MIDI.

    Nice! I have a Tomkat Cloudy...what settings do you mostly use? I was using on a tabletop setup to add some magic to ambient loops. I haven't done much with the Cloudy but loved the emiverb, but it is currently not on any boards while I figure stuff out. Have you tried any other pedals from Tomkat? Seems like he builds a few different fuzzes, curious if any offer off the wall tones like cloudy?
    remcult likes this.

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