Stereo Pulsar review by Electro-Harmonix

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Ease of Use: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.9 (9 votes)
Electro-Harmonix: Stereo Pulsar

Price paid: £ 55

Purchased from: Andertons Music Company

Sound — 10
My setup is a Fender Standard Tele -> Boss SD-1 -> Dunlop Wah -> Whammy IV -> EHX Small Stone -> EHX Big Muff -> Stereo Pulsar -> Boss DD-6 -> Carlsbro Colt 45 amp. Using it along with the Whammy, phaser and delay, in particular, is a lot of fun and you can get all sorts of strange sounds out of it. There are many sounds in this pedal that a lot of guitarists won't have any use for - the Rate range is absurdly wide - but it's great for experimenting with. With some patience I've found some nice settings for Radiohead, Muse, The Mars Volta and The Strokes and I'm quite sure that there are still plenty of sounds left to find in this pedal. I haven't noticed any added or unwanted noise from this pedal. If you are wanting a simple, classic-sounding tremolo then this probably is not what you are looking for. I would recommend trying it out in a shop before you buy as I can imagine this being a love it or hate it kind of thing. It's a stereo pedal and so has two outputs that you can connect to 2 amps to make your sounds jump from one to the other. I only have the one amp, though, so I haven't tried this. Sounds fun though!

Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing for about 5 years and play various alternative styles (Muse, Radiohead, Bloc Party, RHCP, Mars Volta, Biffy Clyro) with a few little bit's of metal, jazz, spanish, etc.. Thrown in. The thing I like doing most, though, is experimenting with sounds and making silly noises - something that this pedal is great for. I would probably buy it again if stolen - it's fairly inexpensive as tremolos go and the wave-shaping feature is (I think) quite unique and worth the money. It would maybe be nice if it were a little easier to control by being less sensitive. Try before you buy and be patient!

Reliability & Durability — 9
It's much smaller than I expected it to be! I've not had it for long but it's solidly built - much more sturdy than the Small Stone or Big Muff cases. I would happily use it in a gig without backup but I would definitely recommend marking or writing down settings that you like because they won't be easy to find again in a hurry.

Ease of Use — 6
There are only 3 knobs (Depth, Shape, Rate) and a two way Switch (Square or Triangle wave modes) but this pedal is deceptively difficult to use. The depth and rate knobs, in particular, are extremely sensitive and moving them even a tiny amount can result in large changes in the sound. The maximum volume cut (for stuttery helicopter effects and the like) is achieved somewhere around the 1-2 o'clock mark but it is very difficult to get just the right spot. Above that point, the depth knob warps the sound by rhythmically modulating the wave phase - fun to play with, difficult to use seriously. The wave shape knob is a really cool feature. In triangle mode, this controls where the peak of the wave is, ranging from /|/|/| at the left to /\/\/\ in the middle and \|\|\| at the right. This allows for all sorts of fade in/ out shenanigans. In square mode it changes the lengths of each part of the wave, allowing for long high-volume with short low-volume cycles or vice-versa. The manual is just one piece of paper with a very basic description of what each control does. It's definitely a pedal you have to just play with to get the most out of it. It's tricky, but if you persist with it you will find many cool sounds from very subtle tremolo to helicopter and heart rate monitor style sounds.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Sounds like a crazy pedal. EH usually has pretty high quality pedals.
    hmm, i actually like the look of this pedal...but from how the review described it it seems unnescessarily tricky.
    skiatook: As I said in the article, I definitely recommend trying it in a shop before you buy. It's a great pedal, it just takes a bit of getting used to - something I'm aware a lot of people won't be prepared to do. blacklight68: I just bought it from them online - I'm in Edinburgh, never been to or heard of that shop before I ordered this pedal! Seems like a good place though.. Good service and the cheapest place I could find online to buy this from.
    Yeah, i was dissapointed in this pedal at first since i like using Tremolo (although when i say i like using it, i still use it sparingly unless totally necessary). However, i was determined to find the sounds i wanted, and once i messed around with it for a bit, i love this whacky pedal. EH is known for making good yet strange sounding pedals at times. Give it a shot, the above review is very accurate. And yes, this pedal is great for noise making with other pedals, and also by itself to create some utterly fantastic feedback sounds which also takes some practice.