Stereo Pulsar Review

manufacturer: Electro-Harmonix date: 03/27/2014 category: Guitar Effects
Electro-Harmonix: Stereo Pulsar
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.
 Sound: 9.3
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Ease of Use: 7.7
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reviews (3) pictures (3) 7 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.5
Stereo Pulsar Reviewed by: SchadenFreude, on may 08, 2009
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 55

Purchased from: Andertons Music Company

Ease of Use: 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. // 6

Sound: 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! // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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! // 9

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overall: 9
Stereo Pulsar Reviewed by: Al Tee, on february 13, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 100

Purchased from: Guitar Gear MX

Ease of Use: If you had an approach before to the tremolos sounds, this pedal will be so easy to use, even when it's knobs will react at a minimum tweak. That is a good point for me, cause it's 'sensibility' offers a wide range to get different kind of speeds and sharp of the wave of the guitar. This pedal includes three knobs to interact with the depth, shape and rate of the sound. It also can be combined with a switch that allows you to select the kind of wave (triangle or square). If you are looking just for the classic tremolo sounds, this pedal will be one step ahead, and it is when the thing seems strange for the people who never touched a tremolo pedal before. // 9

Sound: By now, I go from Epiphone Les Paul Standard -> Symetrix 501S Compressor/Limiter -> Cry Baby GCB95 -> BOSS DS-1 -> Boss SD-1 -> ProCo Rat 2 -> Big Muff Pi -> Electro-Harmonix Stereo Pulsar > to the clean tone of the beginner's Behringer GMX110 (60 watts), and into the send/return loop it's plugged a TC Electronic Flashback delay. If you're the kind of person who likes cover your favorite songs, maybe you'll find that the EHX Pulsar requires soft tweaking to set the rate on time beside any song you want to play, cause it will respond at minimum movement of the knob. This is a pedal that goes from the classic vibrating sound of a tremolo, in different kind of shapes and speeds, to more experimental sounds, cause it can take your sound near to the begin of a Ring Modulator alike sound, shifting in some way the pitch of the wave. Compared with another "normal" tremolo pedal, this one will reach chopped styles that can give an extra to your sound. When I found this range of response on the Pulsar I was very satisfied cause that was exactly what I was looking for, and point extra for the price. With this pedal I can perfectly cover songs like R.E.M.'s "Crush With Eye Liner", The The's "December Sunlight", Dandy Warhol's "We Used To Be Friends", Green Day's "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams", Radiohead's "Planet Telex", The Jesus And Mary Chain's "Snakedriver". The not true bypass switch don't affect the tone of my Les Paul when the pedal is off (so far so good) and don't make any tick sound when on or off. It works very good AFTER all my distortion and Overdrive pedals. Just the Big Muff gets and extra booster when the Stereo Pulsar is activated (don't know exactly why). The Pulsar offers a stereo output. By now, I haven't used it but I guess it will be useful for me when I decide to update my amp for another better and combine with the current one. // 10

Reliability & Durability: It's enclosure is resistant BUT the wave switch selector. Is a small kind piece, fragile, but the worst thing: is right in front and closer (1 inch distance) of the 3PDT switch, so if you are in the middle of an euphoric performance and stomp it with out careful, you can be sure that at the end of the show the switch selector will be there no more. This is the only bad thing to those who need a faster or heavier stomping without watch exactly where the shoe goes to. So, if you find that you just use one kind of wave all the time (square or triangle), make sure that you break the switch in the right position, or maybe think in a backup. In situations like studio or nice and easy jamming there's no prob. // 8

Overall Impression: Normally I'm into Classic rock (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin) 60's Garage rock, Alternative rock, Grunge, Shoegaze, Dream Pop and Noise Pop playing styles. The Stereo Pulsar fits perfect with all of them. When I went to the guitar store I arrived looking for a Garage Tone Tremolo. It's sound was very weak, I felt disappointed of it and ask the guy for something capable to do it like a "classic" tremolo and take it little far away too, and most important thing: same price. He came back with the EHX Stereo Pulsar. The thing change at the first riff, so it went with me back to home. If it goes away (in anyway) I would like to get a MXR Tremolo, just for the Fame and the design of the box (obviously the sound too). It isn't cheap as Stereo Pulsar, but it would be a good/better choice. // 9

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overall: 8.8
Stereo Pulsar Reviewed by: Ollietherocker, on march 27, 2014
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Andertons

Ease of Use: This pedal is really simple to get a good sound out of if you read the manual, I don't really understand why people are complaining that this pedal is complicated. The manual is straight forward to understand as there are only 3 knobs and a wave form switch. Rate has a good range, so has depth. Duty cycle is fairly self explanatory (I tend to keep it central) I find it most useful when using the triangle wave to adjust the rise and fall although saying this I generally find my self sticking to the square wave unless I want the effect to be very subtle. // 8

Sound: I use this pedal for a range of different styles and its very versatile. It is capable of going from a subtle, too quiet to hear, vibe to a choppy extreme "helicopter" square wave. I play ambient and lo-fi noise rock, this pedal can serve as an excellent way to add interest to a drone loop or to completely change the timbre of my guitar sound. This pedal works excellently with anything from sparkling clean sounds to extreme gain (I use both!). If you have a noisy pedal before the tremolo you might hear some 'motor' sounds but such is the case with amplitude modulation - it will modulate the amplitude of any signal! But I have a very quiet set up so there's no issue. Past two o'clock on the depth control the oscillator starts to do strange things, but this is a deliberate thing and can give some interestingly musical sounds. The rate control goes from very slow (0.1Hz) up to something like 30-40Hz which is getting into ring modulator territory. The two wave forms and duty cycle control offer a really wide range of different sounds. The stereo tremolo sounds insane! I seriously recommend getting two amps involved! // 8

Reliability & Durability: These EHX pedals (as usual) are built like a tank. I've used this for many gigs over 2-3 years and I've never had a single issue with the build quality, the switch is noiseness, the pots are quiet and have the perfect amount of "twist." The finish has not received a scratch, partly due to a resistant finish and partly due to being a fairly careful pedal owner! The input and output jacks are attached tightly and I've not had an issue with it, I can and have depended solely on this pedal for a while now! // 10

Overall Impression: This pedal is extremely versatile and has been an excellent addition to my sonic palette (I'm sorry for using that phrase). I run this along with several distortions, a Small Clone, a Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai and a Hall Of Fame Reverb. I love the simplicity of this pedal and the range of sounds I can achieve. What I'd love is for it to feature tap tempo, this would make this an extremely versatile pedal, but tap tempo is a fairly rare feature on tremolos so I won't complain too much! I compared this with the Boss tremolo and this one just seemed to sounded nicer, the Boss felt sterile while the Pulsar has a bit more character (I'm sorry again!). I'd buy one again if I lost this. // 9

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