Barracuda Howard Leese Signature Model review by TEN Effects

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  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.5 (2 votes)
TEN Effects: Barracuda Howard Leese Signature Model

Price paid: $ 400

Purchased from: TEN Effeccts

Ease of Use — 10
It has a pretty standard configuration for a flanger with four main controls: level, depth, regen, and rate. Regen may be called resonance on some flangers. There are two outputs for optional stereo operation and a second input for an expression pedal. It's powered by a 9V DC power supply. The TEN Effects model also incorporates a newly added mini-toggle that switches the signal to an alternate regen path, something that didn't exist on the Toadworks version.

No, Mr. Dunn didn't pay me to write this review. I just can't find a single flaw with this pedal. I considered knocking off a point because there's no place for a battery, but it wouldn't be fair since it would drain a battery pretty quickly. Keep in mind that this is the resurrection of a '70s design with some modern tweaks and it does exactly what it's supposed to do with incredible accuracy.

Sound — 10
Anyone considering a pedal called the "Howard Leese Signature Barracuda" should know exactly what to expect. Does the TEN Effects pedal get it done? Ditto. Why shouldn't it? The pedal was reverse engineered from one of the four custom built originals used in the studio recording of Barracuda. You can read more about it from the TEN Effects site or from the book "Heart - In The Studio." I've owned two or three flangers in the past and none have quite captured the elusive sound of that classic riff, until now. Of course, having the right amp voicing plays a critical part in duplicating the sound as well. I use a Fender Super Champ X2 head plugged into the speaker of a Fender HRD. The voice of the head is set to Bassman with a touch of reverb and the gain setting about midway. There are a number of ways to get a similar sound, regardless of what you play through. Spending $400 for a flanger is hard for a lot of folks to justify, including myself, so I had to ask myself what else could it be used for. Ryan Dunn, the company president, offers some suggestions that are spot on. A few tweaks on the knobs will create a lush chorus, a swirling rotary speaker, or a vintage vibratro. A flip of the mini-toggle creates an auto wah or talk box type effect that's perfect for '70s style funk when played through a clean signal. The TEN Effects pedal also boasts a lower noise level than its predecessor, the Toadworks Barracuda. I can't comment since I've never heard the TWB, but I have no reason to doubt anything Ryan has told me.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Right out of the box, you're looking at near perfection. The electronics are housed in a no-nonsense heavy duty cast housing. The sides are brushed and the top has a purple anodized face plate with laser etching. Soft grip rubber knobs cover the pots with no wiggle or give. The stomp button is fat, and the LED is bright white. There is no paint to be found anywhere on this unit and it would have to go through an extreme amount of abuse to show any signs of wear at all. Absolutely nothing was spared in the construction.

Overall Impression — 10
Never before have I reviewed anything, but since I was able to land the first production unit built under the TEN Effects name, I felt that I owed it to the masses. Toadworks Barracuda first tweaked my interest a couple of years ago from the positive reviews, recommendations, and YT videos. As anyone afflicted with G.A.S. knows, once something captures your fancy, the obsession never goes away until you pull the string. To my disappointment, the Toadworks pedal was longer available and finding a used one was next to impossible. Following the link from the Toadworks site to the TEN Effects site led me to several casual exchanges with Mr. Dunn, who kept me informed of the forthcoming release throughout the startup process. I found the personal attention to be comparable to Carvin and Weber, for those who have dealt with those companies before. IMHO, this pedal has quickly proven itself to be the holy grail of flangers. My search has ended, and I plan to have it until my last breath or until I can no longer play. The old saying "You get what you pay for" rings true once again.

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