TEST - Vintage Revolution PedalPro & Pedalino
Perfect Marriage
Seemingly from out of nowhere, the PedalPro has appeared: a multi-effect, but this time analogue.
By Steven Faber
New company Vintage Revolution, established by
Italians Max de Iulis and Davide Amadei, set themselves a goal in 2007 to develop an analogue multieffect that offered the ease of use associated with
digital gear. Why analogue? Because many of us
agree that analogue effects sound better or more
natural then their digital counterparts. Why not
come up with some standard analogue stompboxes,
as many companies are doing in the boutique market? Because then you don’t have the ease of use of
a digital device that lets you edit and save presets,
including all your meticulously-tweaked parameters.
The result is the PedalPro, a 19-inch device of
2U height, that is controlled by the Pedalino, a foot
controller that is as revolutionary as it is flat.
The PedalPro contains no AD/DA convertors or
DSPs between input and output, only analogue
components, which form ten effects, switched by relays. When an effect is off, it is taken completely out
of the signal chain by one of the 25 relays. The ten
onboard effects should satisfy most guitar players:
they include a compressor, distortion, noise gate,
panner/tremolo, phaser, two filters, chorus, flanger
and delay as well as a preamp/booster and volume controls. If you want to incorporate a favorite
stompbox or rack unit that can be done using the
mono pre- of the stereo postloop.
Design
The front panel consists of a screen surrounded by
the various buttons needed to navigate the menus,
change settings, edit presets and save presets.
On the left there are additional switches for mute
and for bypass, which route the signal straight to
the output when engaged. Under the logo are the
input connector for the Pedalino and a USB connector that enables preset management and software
upgrading using a computer. At the time of the test
the specially developed PedalManager software
was only available for Mac, but a PC version is due
shortly.
The rear panel has stereo outputs, the pre- and
post effect loops, a MIDI Out for controlling outboard equipment, and the instrument input. It’s a
suprise to find the input on the rear, but it was done
to prevent interference of the digital control section
with the incoming guitar signal.
As mentioned earlier, the PedalPro can be remotely controlled by the Pedalino foot controller.
There is no other option as both units make use
of the ADES (Advanced effect DEScriptor) protocol developed by Vintage Revolution, and not, for
instance, MIDI. In regards to this, Vintage Revolution
says: ‘’MIDI was developed in the 70’s for handling
simple, mono-directional data traffic. For our purpose we needed a more flexible bidirectional communication protocol. In addition, ADES has a much
higher resolution. This avoids uneven control, which
can happen using MIDI.”
This is not the only special feature of the Pedalino, because the thick, plated-steel floor pedal has
no moving parts for control, not even foot switches.
The four, square rubber pads that function as
switches have only a pressure sensor beneath them.
This construction enables three different selections
for each pad, depending on how hard you push.
You can even set the pressure limits that enable a
certain selection. How hard you push, and therefore
which level is selected, is displayed by three LEDs.
The left pad is for bypass and mute. When the mute
function is activated from the Pedalino, a tuner
appears immediately on the display of the foot
controller. Handy! Pads two and four are used to
scroll through presets in steps of 1, 10 or 50 (there
are 500 presets in total). Pad 3 activates a selected
preset and engages the solo setting, which makes it
possible to switch, within a preset, separate effects
on or off, as you would do using a regular pedalboard. This function was not yet available at the
time of the test, but will be introduced later in the
form of a firmware update.
Around the screen of the foot controller there’s
a few buttons for making adjustments and settings
directly from the Pedalino. You can also choose to
select eighteen favourite presets from the total of
500 and place these favourites in a chosen order. To
engage these favourites, press the favourites button on the Pedalino. This way, the left pad switches
banks, and the other three pads directly activate the
preset of choice. The Pedalino does not come with
its own expression pedal, however it will work with
any expression pedal available on the market.
Use and Sound
Regarding connectivity possibilities, the PedalPro is
quite flexible. The effects chain within the PedalPro
is globally fixed, after the input comes the compressor, the pre-effect loop, distortion and booster,
panner/tremolo, phaser, post-effectloop, chorus/
flanger/vibe, delay, volume control and noise-gate.
The two filters are the only effects that can be
placed at various places in the chain. In the preeffect loop you can always put a stompbox, but it
will also take a pre-amp. It would be even better if
the distortion could be placed before a preamp, but
that’s not possible.
The first 200 presets have been created by Vintage Revolution and have been locked. The other
300 are empty and user-editable. User-defined presets can also be locked, and the other way around;
the pre-made presets can be unlocked and overwritten. The factory presets incorporate a lot of usable
sounds as well as patches that you’ll probably not
use in every song, but will still give you a good idea
of what is possible, like an arpeggiated flanger.
The sound is very good over the whole spectrum
and the analogue character is attractive. Don’t confuse analogue with lo-fi, because the PedalPro is not
that. No, these are high-end effects, which can be
heard in the lovely chorus, which retains its punch
at every setting.
As soon as you start working it becomes apparent
that the range of possibilities - also for each single
effect - is very wide. For instance, the compressor
has three modes ranging from an almost inaudibly
active ‘studio compressor’ to the more extreme
sound of a Dynacomp.
The overdrive/distortion uses an FET to get as
close as possible to the sound of tube overdrive.
Extra setting options are provided in the form of a
boost- and bright switch, as well as a 3-level low-
pass filter that controls how much high frequencies
are retained in the signal. To further shape the eq,
or as a wah effect, a filter can be placed in front of
the overdrive. Or behind it, or both, as there are 2
filters available with nine (!) routing possibilities for
the signal chain. One filter is based on an inductor,
like a wah pedal, the other works with transistors
and can also function as a low- or band-pass filter.
Both filters can work in three different ways: auto,
manual or envelope. In the auto setting, the sweep
will go as fast as you’ve set it, manual is for use with
an expression pedal, and the envelope setting can
function both as positive or negative.
All the modulating effects (tremolo, phaser,
chorus and flanger) give a choice of different waveforms, including sinus, shelf and squarewave. The
delay has a maximum of 614 ms and the repeats can
be modulated. Too bad there is no rhythmic division
possible, like dotted eights.
Finally, we should point out the noisegate with its
special sustain function. When this is activated, the
noisegate will only kick in when your note has completely rung out, thus getting rid of the unnatural
feeling often experienced from noisegating.
All in all there is a wealth of possibilities. Because
of this, it will take some time to get through all the
features, but once the system is mastered, the programming itself is quite easy.
The Pedalino has a jack input for an expression
pedal that can be assigned to a parameter of choice
per preset. For this you can choose from 66 different
parameters, so think of something wild and it will be
available for under-the-foot stepless control.
It takes some getting used to working with the
three-level pads, but you’ll notice that you feel at
home with the Pedalino quickly. It’s nice to be able
to custom-set the pressure levels, even if it’s hard
to select level 3 from a sitting down position even at
the lightest setting. The pedal is clearly made for use
when standing up.
Conclusions
Vintage Revolution delivers an impressive first product with the PedalPro. A good sounding analogue
multi-effect is already something in itself, but what
makes it special is the marriage between the analogue effects and the digital control which not only
gives a lot of possibilities, but also completely new
possibilities. That’s not all: the Pedalino foot controller is a revolutionary construction. To get these
two to work together, the trodden path has been
avoided and a new, effortlessly functioning protocol
has been created.
The sound of the effects, one by one, is very good
and will not disappoint in any setting (practice, live
playing, studiowork). Both the PedalPro and the
Pedalino are easy to handle and very sturdy.
It’s obvious then that we’re talking about a highquality device made for professional use. Yes, that
comes with a matching pricetag. 2000 euros is a big
amount of money for an effects unit, but if you were
to buy the same effects with the same capabilities
separately, you’d probably end up spending more
money. And that’s without taking into account the
digital control and the included Pedalino. In our
view the price is certainly realistic.
TEST RESULTS
VINTAGE REVOLUTION PedalPro
Construction
VINTAGE REVOLUTION PEDALPRO
Price: 1999,- Euro (including Pedalino)
Country of origin: The Netherlands
Type: analogue multi-effect
Size: 2U 19-inch rack format
Weight: 5,8 kg
Housing: steel with aluminum front
Effects: compressor, distortion and preamp, noisegate, panner/tremolo, phaser, 2 filters, volume,
chorus/vibe, flanger, delay
Extra features: mono pre-effect loop, stereo posteffect loop
Controls: switches for mute, bypass and on/off. 4
soft switches, 4 navigation buttons, + and - buttons,
parameter dial, edit/save, enter/load and exit/USB
Connections: MIDI out, stereo send&return, stereo
output, mono effect loop, guitar input, Pedalino
connector (ADES), USB port
Distribution: Vintage Revolution, info@vintagerevolution.com
Website: www.vintage-revolution.com
Features
VINTAGE REVOLUTION PEDALINO
Sound
As PedalPro, except:
Type: foot controller for PedalPro
Size: 445 x 212 x 27 mm (w x d x h)
Weight: 3,2 kg
Housing: steel
Controls: ADES on/off, favourites, menubuttons (+,
-, menu, set, exit), expression pedal mode switcher,
power.
Connections: ADES, expression pedal, power (9
volts), USB.
Price/Quality
Total Rating
WE LIKED: Sound; endless possibilities; ease of
use; construction.
WE DID NOT LIKE: No subdivision available on
the delay; pre-effects loop placement in signal
chain can not be changed.
TEST RESULTS
VINTAGE REVOLUTION Pedalino
Construction
Features
Interface
Total Rating
WE LIKED: Very sturdy construction without
moving parts; compact.
WE DID NOT LIKE: Third level is difficult to
select while sitting down, no other remote
control of the PedalPro possible.