N EM PH A SIS SM OKING B A S S O VERDRIVE,111 COMP B A S S O PTICAL C O M P RE SSO R , S1EAM B A S S A N A LO G CH O RU S PRICE
£ 1 4 9
EACH
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ GEAR
'AT JUST UNDER £150 EACH, THEY'RE
NOTYOUR COMMON-AS-MUCK
EFFECTS U N ITSJH A T'S FOR SURE,
BUT THEN AGAIN THAT PRICE TAG
DOES MAKE THEM AFFORDABLE
TO MOST BASSISTS IN
GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT"
We've played a few compression pedals here
at
BGM,
and while they're obviously best applied
in a recording scenario or in a multi-FX signal
chain, you can have plenty of fun with them in the
familiar one bass, one pedal, one amp situation too.
The VT Comp Bass Optical Compressor impressed
us most with its range, offering the player anything
from a mild compression and a concomitantly
neater/cleaner/tidier/[insert your favourite
comparative adjective] sound, all the way up to a fully
squashed but still usable tone. The Compression control
allows you to set the amount of tone-crushing that happens, and
the Level pot is your blend of dry and processed tones, but the star
of the show here is the Attack control, which permits you to 'delay1
the onset of the compression and thus enables a very brief peak in a
given note's onset volume.
Finally, the Steam Bass Analog Chorus has a secret weapon
which bass players - especially those who fear that a chorus effect
will turn their bottom frequencies into gloop - will relish. The High
Pass Filter switch allows you to determine whether the chorus
effect is applied mostly to your high or low frequencies, a welcome
touch that will give you tons more manoeuvrability.
The other controls - the obvious FX Level aside - need a little
investigation before you find your preferred tone, not because
they’re labelled any differently from other chorus pedals, but
because they offer a seriously wide range of sounds. Depth is
the serious control here, supplying super-deep frequency
swings through to the mildest of tweaks. Conversely,
Speed is like the drunk cousin at a wedding,
allowing you the classic 80s slow cycle all the way
up to the maximum-velocity, enraged-wasp-in-a-
jar reverberation that will, if we're honest, only
ever be used to annoy people.
Just one negative point about these fine pedals,
which is that removing the battery - should you
prefer that power option - is a slightly irksome
process, involving removing the entire bottom plate
of each unit via four small screws. This won’t be an
issue in the studio, depending on how much your
fingers resemble Cumberland sausages, but at panic
stations in the middle of a gig, in the pitch dark, with
a strobe light on, 90 seconds before your amazing
shred solo begins, you or your tech will have an 80
per cent chance of naffing it up. W ith so many similarly-
priced and specced pedals around whose batteries flip out of a
dedicated compartment with ease, this seemingly small point may
be a deal-breaker for you. If not, do investigate Nemphasis with
total confidence. ■ ■
BASS GUITAR MAGAZINE
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