What will I learn?
- A little bit about the biggest brands in guitar effects: Boss, Strymon and Eventide
- The technical differences between the best modulation, delay and reverb pedals
- Which brand will suit you and your pedalboard needs
If you’re a guitar pedal junkie then you’ll definitely know about the now legendary Strymon and Eventide pedals. These 2 brands have dominated the high-end pedal market for a long time now with Strymon practically setting the benchmark for Reverb (Big Sky), Delay (Timeline) and Modulation (Mobius).
Older Eventide gear has been used in high-end studios since the 70s and more recently been hot on the heels of Strymon with their triple footswitch pedals. They’ve also got a Reverb (Space), Delay (Time Factor) and Modulation (Modfactor). Not to mention their H9 pedal which works as a chameleon of sorts. It’s got all of the algorithms from their other pedals available and it can morph into any pedal.
Boss entered the fray with their incredible DD-500 Delay pedal in 2016. This pedal proved popular to its processing power, sound quality and the fact that, like all Boss pedals, it’s built like a tank. But they haven’t stopped there; they’ve now got a Modulation (MD-500) and Reverb (RV-500) pedal to take on Strymon and Eventide.
Strymon are the kings of the boutique pedal. They have set the benchmark for ‘super-pedals’ and the Timeline, Mobius & BigSky are the industry standard for pro-level pedals.
- Industry Standard for delay, reverb & modulation
- Highly-tweakable, but you need a solid knowledge of effect parameters to hone your tone
- More presets and preset slots than the other 2 brands
- 12 algorithms on each pedal with deep editing capability
- BigSky has cab emulation for incredible ‘direct out’ sounds
- Made in the U.S.A
History of Strymon
Strymon Pedals started out as Damage Control in 2004 with a line of tube-driven pedals. In 2009 production moved under the Strymon name where they developed their digital pedals and the rest is history. These pedals quickly gained a name for themselves and they’ve since won loads of awards and are coveted by guitar players all around the world.
Expect these pedals to be in the history books along with the Roland Space Echo, The Strat and the Les Paul.
Eventide are one of the most innovative guitar effects pedal companies in the world. Responsible for a number of breakthroughs within their industry, the brand continues to pioneer new technologies in the 21st Century.
- Easy to get experimental and ambient tones
- Eventide studio gear has been heard on thousands of records since the 70s
- The pitchfactor offers tones that you couldn’t find from any other pedal
- Highest power draw meaning you need to consider your PSU on a pedalboard
- Made in China
History of Eventide
Eventide have been around since 1971 where the company was started in New York by a small, aspiring group of people. An engineer, an inventor and a businessman created a legacy with products that have been heard on thousands of records since. One of their first innovations was the integration of RAM chips into their products giving rackmount effects more power.
They still apply clever computing technology to their products to this day and a look at artists that have used their products over the years shows you just how powerful and user-friendly they are. Players like Frank Zappa, Van Halen, Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) and many more!
Boss compact pedals paved the way for the guitar pedal as we know it today. They invented the first overdrive stompbox, the OD-1 in 1977 and the rest is as they say, history. There’s good reason that Boss pedals are so famous and their foray into creating these ‘Goliath’ effects pedals can only mean more exciting things for the company in the future.
- Incredibly high-quality tones on all 3 pedals
- Features a Boss-designed DSP chip with 32-bit processing power (other pedals use 24-bit Sharc DSPs). Higher processing power = higher sound fidelity which often means better tonal potential!
- Affordable but not cheap
- Lowest power draw making it easy to integrate into a pedalboard – they also have the smallest dimensions
- Very easy to use
- Made in Japan
History of Boss
Boss is run by the giants that are the Roland Corporation. Roland are the parent company based in Japan who have been innovating and defining the musical instrument industry since 1972 with their effects, pianos, amps and instruments.
Boss pedals have had the financial backing to take on new frontiers in the guitar world and are the reason why we have so many pedal companies in the world trying to follow their legacy.
Guitarists love effects. And Boss are the granddaddy of all guitar effects and still have a firm hand in the industry today. The various pedals that have been released throughout the years are steeped in folklore with different versions of the same pedal gaining massive cult status! For example: the rarity of the ‘long-dash’ DS-1 which has a PCB circuit made in Japan rather than the short-dash DS which was made in Taiwan.
Boss RV-500 Reverb vs Eventide Space vs Strymon Big Sky
Boss MD-500 Modulation vs Eventide Modfactor vs Strymon Mobius
Boss DD-500 Delay vs Eventide Timefactor vs Strymon Timeline
Game of Tones
As you can see from the tables above, this is a VERY tight race between all the different pedal companies. Rather than try to run through the nitty gritty specs I’m going to summarise each company and you can make your own call on which you prefer.
It’s worth saying that all 3 of these brands are at the top of their game and any professional musician in the world would happily use their products. You’ve got to choose the one that works for you and this article is here to help you find your favourite. It’s a tough choice and to be honest, I’d love 3 boards with all 3 pedals on each! But if you had to choose one of each pedal style, what would yours be?
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