Ravish SitarFeatured review by: UG Team, on february 25, 2013 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 239.95
Purchased from: eBay Store
Ease of Use: To start with, the pedal comes with some presets already set up so you can pretty much get some good varied sitar sounds right out of the box. From there the controls and presets, and the optional expression pedal make this pedal's sound extremely customizable – it seems the limit is just how much thought and time you're willing to dedicate to it. The pedal comes with an AC adapter, the instruction manual, and the warranty information. An expression pedal can be purchased separately, but I haven't made that specific purchase yet. As I said earlier, you can use the pedal out of the box with the two buttons, one for bypass and the other to cycle through the presets. The preset button can also be held down to freeze the sound of the sympathetic strings. In addition to the two buttons there are 6 knobs: Dry Level, Lead Level, Sympathetic Level, Lead Timbre, Sympathetic Timbre and then the Mode/Preset knob, which can also be depressed to cycle through key, mode and decay. There is an input for the instrument, a main output, a sympathetic output, then a drone and pitch output for the optional expression pedal. There are two small display windows to show preset number and mode.
For those who haven't figured it out yet, the Ravish Sitar is a polyphonic sitar emulator pedal, and it does an amazing job at it. While it comes with a power adapter, for those who like to use brick style power supplies, it uses 160 mA at 9 volts DC with a center negative plug. There are 10 preset positions that you can overwrite and use, as well as a manual override of the presets. You can also custom tune the sympathetic strings on the pedal by following directions included in the instruction manual, as well as transposing your sympathetic strings to other keys. There are also instructions included to adjust the "Q Mode" which is basically used to make the pedal sound more organic or synthesized. If you create presets you aren't happy with or miss the factory presets there are instructions for rolling back to the original factory presets included in the manual. While the Ravish Sitar is a pedal that you can use out of the box, it can also grow into a complicated pedal when you go about saving presets, adjusting the tuning of the sympathetic strings, etc., so you want to make sure you keep your instruction manual handy. I'll rate an 8 in this category, because while it can be a little complicated getting into all the options, it can be played straight out of the box. // 8
Sound: No joke, you can get anything from the sound of an authentic acoustic sitar, to an electric sitar to insane space sounds out of this pedal – mixing in chorus pedals, delays, fuzz, etc. And you can make sounds never heard on this planet before. I initially got this pedal because I had been trying to write some songs and being fond of Indian music I had written in some sitar parts as well as some unusual percussion. This pedal was purchased to handle the sitar parts, and has done an amazing job so far. I've ran this pedal with a solidbody and a hollowbody electric guitar with both single coils and humbuckers. I've ran it with a bass guitar, as well as an acoustic-electric. It is amazing with each instrument. I've used it with a Blackheart Little Giant head and cab as well as a Peavey Transtube 212 EFX (solid state) amplifier. I've added additional effects with an Ibanez DE-7 Delay, a DigiTech Multi Chorus and an EHX Big Muff. This pedal isn't noisy at all except when paired with the fuzz it can get noisy pretty quick, but that is probably mostly the fuzz instead of the Ravish Sitar. I've been so busy playing with this pedal and changing up the presets that I haven't even gotten around to any of the recording that I originally bought this pedal for. I look forward to using the Ravish Sitar for my recording and for jamming with friends – it sounds great and is definitely an attention grabber. // 9
Reliability & Durability: The Ravish Sitar is housed in a tough metal casing, with a thick coat of some kind of paint or lacquer. The top of the pedal is painted with slightly textured flowers and curlecues in thin brown, with a picture of (I think) the Taj Mahal behind the Ravish Sitar name. The pedal is made in the USA, which is a plus for me. This pedal is built to be tough. I've owned several Electro-Harmonix pedals as it is one of my favorite pedal manufacturers, and their pedals last. They age very well both in functionality and aesthetics and I don't see any reason the Ravish Sitar would be any different. I wouldn't be nervous about using this pedal without a backup because I seriously have never had any issues with pedals made by Electro-Harmonix and I trust their products. // 9
Impression: When I buy pedals and/or amps I always show my friends when they come over, even my non-musician friends. The usual reaction I get is "oh, that's nice" and we move on. This time they all wanted to play with the pedal and sat down with the guitar and picked around on it twisting knobs on the pedal, going through presets, etc. One friend in particular disappeared in my music room for about 2 hours and came out convinced he was going to go buy a guitar, amp and this pedal. The fun factor alone is extremely high with this pedal, even if you don't see an immediate practical use for it. I personally play a wide range of music – lately I've been playing a lot of thrash metal and psychedelic rock and I can find a place for this pedal in both genres. If you just look at the list of artists who have used sitar or sitar sounds in their songs you can begin to see ways to use the sitar in genres you wouldn't necessarily expect. Metallica, The Beatles, George Harrison and Tom Petty are just a few bands worth mentioning who have used sitar at some point or another, not to mention almost every psychedelic band ever. I don't think there are any other sitar emulation pedals out there, or at least not any good ones short of going to a midi guitar synthesizer. I would absolutely buy this pedal again if I lost it or it was damaged – this is one of my favorite recent purchases.