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Engineering the Sound: in the lab with Dreadbox’s incredible new pedal range

Dreadbox has been shaking up the synth world with its gorgeous range of desktop modules. Engineering the Sound was keen to test out its innovative pedal line.

The crew of experimental Athenians at Dreadbox have released hit after hit in recent years. Specialising in superbly crafted analog synths and effects, this indie company has deservedly earned itself a cult following.

Now, naturally, they’ve applied their unique talents to the pedalboard. The latest trio of stompboxes consists of the Lethargy Phase Shifter, the Kinematic Compressor and Envelope Filter, and the Darkness Stereo Reverb.

In the finest traditions of Dreadbox, they haven’t just copped a classic tone and recreated it: they’ve reimagined a broad range of effects and emerged with something new. Take the Kinematic, for example. One on hand, it’s a slamming, aggressive compressor, that has the power to brutalise any signal that passes through its circuitry. But its onboard envelope filter offers up a completely different, yet somehow complementary personality.

And with the semi-modular architecture of the Kinematic and Lethargy, these two can work together in unexpected ways, for instance, using Lethargy’s LFO to trigger interesting rhythmic patterns on the Kinematic’s filter.

Dreadbox

As you’d expect by now, the Darkness (made in collaboration with Sinevibes) offers a different interpretation of the classic reverb. You can add space to your sound source (with the stereo width able to be controlled too) as well as a celestial harmonic shimmer. With a hold switch for eternal ambience and its own LFO, it’s like strapping an extra synth to your pedalboard.

It’s great to see that Dreadbox has allowed its synthy DNA to inform the character of these pedals. You won’t need to be a guitarist to get a lot of value from this colourful collection. If you plug just about any instrument into this new family of effects, you’ll never tire of chasing completely new sounds.

To check out the full suite, head over to the Dreadbox website.