Magazine article Guitar Player

Ernie Ball Ambient Delay & Expression Overdrive

Magazine article Guitar Player

Ernie Ball Ambient Delay & Expression Overdrive

Article excerpt

WELL, YOU CAN'T ACCUSE ERNIE BALL of debuting their new effects pedals with a "subtle" launch. This is like red-carpet wow, or revealing a new Tesla or iPhone. First off, the extraordinary packaging alludes to something important and wonderful, because the pedals are displayed in what can only be called a trophy case. Then, there's the striking industrial design of the pedals themselves--the metallic bronze sheen of the Ambient Delay, and the dazzling gold of the Expression Overdrive. I mean, you'd kind of want these gorgeous things even if you had no idea of what they actually did. Finally, you have to love that the designers did something unique by adding an expression function to a single, self-contained pedal.

As lovely as these pedals look, there's also a bit of the beast in them. They are hefty, they have solid knobs and treadles, and they're built tough to endure abuse. I got all Rambo on each one--kicking them across a concrete rehearsal-room floor, dropping them from chest height onto the sidewalk, "misplacing" them in a drummer's hardware case (and rolling it around to shake things up), and smashing into them with my amp's road case--and they didn't break or even look beat up (well, maybe a scratch or two). The only downside is that they have relatively large footprints, so your pedalboard real estate may take a hit if you decide to add both of them to your effects armory (and you should definitely consider it).

AMBIENT DELAY

I love crafting spooky soundscapes with delays, and the Ambient Delay ($199 street) provides a cool option for animating textures. Basically, you have a delay with 50ms to one second of delay time paired with a plate reverb with a preset "room size" and decay, but there's a lot of power in that combo--especially as you can defeat the reverb, or the delay, or use them both in tandem. …

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