Tone Report Weekly 195 - Page 51

sounds with routing options that are truly special. But in my extensive testing, what blew me away wasn’t running the Sunset into a clean amp, but rather, stacking it into a platform- style pedal. (In my case it was a Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret MkIII in Super Bass mode with the gain and volume around noon.) Now, of course, this probably sounds obvious. I mean—it’s an overdrive pedal, meant to drive another gain stage over the top. But I feel it’s worth mentioning just because of how many “Oh yeah, this is great” moments I had with it set up this way. And when you consider the Sunset’s place in the Strymon lineup alongside the Riverside Multistage Drive, it makes a lot of sense. (Even more when you learn that the company had originally planned a simultaneous release of the two pedals, before running into delays that pushed the Sunset back a bit.) To be sure of this, I asked Ethan Tufts, Strymon’s resident noisemaker and VP of Marketing. “Yes—our plan was to do a side-by-side roll out of Sunset and Riverside in 2016,” he said. “We had been thinking about and playing around with overdrive/distortion ideas and prototypes for several years, and we landed on the multi-tiered approach because we wanted to explore the several unique ways to approach these sounds.” As a result, the Riverside is less about driving a later gain stage and more about functioning as an “amp-in-a- box” type of pedal, whereas the Sunset is best when traditionally implemented, pushing another circuit and shining the way single-stage drives often do. HANDS ON As I mentioned earlier, the Sunset feels right under your fingers. It’s responsive to both your playing dynamics and changes to your volume knob. And the sounds are expansive. Channel A features a gritty, low-medium gain germanium-inspired drive with plenty of punch in the low-mids. It also has a smooth and singing upper- mid boosted Texas-style drive and a treble booster that doesn’t have a ton of gain, but works best to shave off as much low end as you want to tighten things up. Channel B ups the ante, combining an extremely flexible two-stage drive with enough range in the gain section to make it an immediate favorite with a gainier, more intense hard- clipping distortion that plenty of girth and sizzle to punish the front end of any amp or platform pedal. Finally, you get a JFET style boost for taking your base sound to the next level with more grit, volume or combination of both—or for using as a primary low gain drive. Both sides can be stacked and blended for a myriad of tones and textures that are sure to please. 51