Category Archives: Product reviews

My pedalboard Dec 2016 ... missing something

Strymon Riverside – a pedal I didn’t buy

Strymon Riverside Multistage Drive Pedal

Reading the specs tells me it has everything I need. Having several other Strymon products, that I really like, almost made me buy the pedal without playing it. Fortunately I decided go check it out and I’m glad I did.

I saw every video available with the Strymon Riverside Multistage Drive, before I went to pick it up. The style/sound is a great alternative to the two other overdrives I have in my board (an Euphoria and the Plexi Drive Deluxe from Wampler), so I was really turned on.

It’s a really well made pedal. Some super cool features. Actually it has everything I’m looking for. There is room in my board for it. I have the bread and yet I didn’t buy … that’s scary!

Here’s why and please share your thoughts on this, maybe I’ve missed something.

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The Ciokolate - Soren Reiff board

Cioks Ciokolate – a professional power supply

Cioks Ciokolate – a professional power supply

The Cioks Ciokolate is a serious and professional power supply – strong as an elephant, available to adapt to different surroundings just as many human beings … and delicious (at least for us guitar players) as a candy bar. 

Why should I buy a new power supply?

It makes sense to ask me that, since I’ve written several posts about how fond I am of the Pussy power supply (also made by Cioks). When I returned from the oversea trip, I did with my new smaller board, I wanted to use my bigger board for the final recordings for my coming album. Suddenly I remembered that I stole the Pussy Power from that board right before I left for Canada. Since I’m very happy about my new smaller board, and have no intentions of letting it go, I needed a new power supply for my old board. I was just about to order another Pussy Power, when I remembered something.

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Here's a view of my new and smaller pedalboard flipped upside down

More Pussy power – Cioks Pussy power

An additional experience with the Cioks Pussy power supply

This summer I was invited to come to Canada and play with the great saxophone player Walle Larsson and his band. Since I had to travel overseas I had to resize my pedalboard and make some serious decisions about what to bring and what to leave at home.

Overseas travels and power supplies

Since I’ve been into racks for years I haven’t traveled overseas with a pedalboard before. I’ve heard from several friends that the solution often is batteries to avoid troubles with hum, but since I wanted to bring pedals that needed more power than 9 volts I had to find the a good solution. The solution wasn’t that far away … I looked at my big board, flipped it upside down and looked at my Pussy power supply … it took about five seconds to find the switch that made it possible to work with 120 V main voltage as well. It had all I needed for my new board – isolated sections, 9-15 volts, some of the sections with 400mA and a weight about one kilo … all I needed. (Actually it can deliver up to 24v if you need that!). A few minutes after I started mounting the Pussy power at my new and smaller board. I put some extra power chords in my suitcase, since I would receive the last pedals at my hotel in Canada and headed for the airport … ok, I did this some days in advance of my flight … I like to be organized 🙂

Here's a view of my new and smaller pedalboard flipped upside down

Here’s a view of my new and smaller pedalboard flipped upside down with the Cioks Pussy power mounted with Velcro and a “seat belt” for the plane trip

Powering up

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Empress Buffer+ @ Soren Reiff board 2014

Empress buffer+

A buffer or a buffer+ ??

What does the Empress buffer+ do, and do I really need a buffer? … I mean there are several interesting pedals out there that can do some really exiting stuff, so why spend money on a pedal that doesn’t add a wild distortion or other ‘stuff’ to your sound? Well let me try to tell you about my experiences with buffers and why I just got the Empress buffer+.

When I made my pedalboard a couple of years ago I spent hours reading about true bypass, browsing the internet to find the right pedals, cables and jacks. I was very happy and excited about most of the stuff I ended up buying. But I must admit I was confused and disappointed when I finally put everything together and plugged my guitar into the board and amp … what happened to that nice warm and present tone I just had a minute ago, going directly into the amp?

Empress Buffer+ @ Soren Reiff board 2014

Overview of my board 2014 with the Empress Buffer+ down in the right corner

After talking to some of my more nerdy friends who have had boards for years, I was recommended a buffer. Actually a guy in a music store already mentioned a buffer to me, when I was complaining about how all the volume pedals choked the tone while I was trying out all the different brands – and back then I replied that I was looking for one good volume pedal … not a volume pedal AND something to fix it. But now I was a bit more ready to hear about buffers. Again I’m not into all the technical stuff … I just want it to sound good.

Let med try to explain very briefly what a buffer does.

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Empress tape delay pedal

Empress Tape Delay Pedal

I’ve been addicted to delay machines since the 80’s – now I’ve just become addicted to the new Empress Tape Delay Pedal.

I got my first delay fix from a Boss pedal in the late 70’s – the same time the Chorus CE-1 entered the market. Shortly after realizing I had a delay-addiction, I started looking for more serious alternatives to the noisy Boss and bought my first rack unit.

Since then I’ve been through a lot of different units. The TC 2290 has been a favorite and the brain/center in my rack-setup for years. A few years ago, when I decided to go for a pedalboard solution instead of the rack. I searched the market for a while and ended up buying the the Empress Vintage Modified Superdelay, which in my opinion, is the best delay pedal around. It sounds awesome, has tons of configurations, and even the ability to save up to eight presets.

empress tape delay pedal - Soren Reiff board 2014

Empress Tape Delay together with the Empress Compressor and the Radial Tonebone placed in my new board – 2014

Why should I ever consider buying anything else?

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Soren Reiff new pedal board

New pedalboard

Some years ago, when I decided to go for a pedalboard solution instead of the rack setup that I’ve used for years, I searched the market for quite a while to find the right pedals for my new board. I ended up buying some really good, and unfortunately not cheap, pedals. The upside is that they are reliable and sound awesome, so now I don’t have to worry about purchasing ‘upgrades’ … or? 🙂

Why should I get a new pedalboard?

Well, last year I was invited to play in Canada this summer. When I got a little closer to my trip and started thinking about what to bring, I realized I had to cut down my current pedalboard, if I wanted to avoid spending a fortune on surcharges at the airports. What could I remove?? Actually, I loved my board as it was and didn’t want to lose anything, but I had to let something go. Some tough decisions had to be made, so I started browsing the internet again… and I inevitably ended up checking out what the brands I already used (on my main board) had to offer.

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The Empress Effects Compressor at my board

Empress Effects Compressor review

This review of the Empress Effects Compressor can actually be really short! Here it is: buy it!!

That’s it … these reviews are my personal unfiltered opinion and if you are considering to add a compressor to your pedal board the Empress Effects Compressor is the thing – over and out 🙂

But ok, let me add a little more to this.

Compressors and me

When I was teenager I could spent hours in music stores (I actually still can, but time doesn’t allow me any more), checking out new gear, new guitars and new pedals. Back then I was pretty turned of by compressors. I couldn’t hear that big a difference if I turned the pedal on or off … when I had squeezed the knobs for hours to extreme settings and could hear the difference, I didn’t like what the compressors did to the sound … very understandable, so I did never buy any compressor back then. Now, when I know a little more about adjusting compressors and what they are suppose to do things has changed.

Soren Reiff Empress Effects Compressor 3

A pretty simple layout … nice and easy – and with the mix option so you can compres New York style

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Soren Reiff's Radial Tonebone Trimode

Radial Tonebone Trimode tube distortion

Here’s another “review”. Today I’ll write about the Radial Tonebone Trimode tube distortion. Again this is more about my personal experiences – why and how I use it – than a test with a lot of technically data and information. 

Thru the years I’ve tried tons of overdrive pedals – some of them have done a good job – at least in combination with certain amps. But for me it’s essential that they work well with every amp. When I wrote about my move back in the days, from amp and pedalboard to a rack-setup I explained about the benefits I got from that. Thru the years I’ve dreamt about a setup that was easier to travel with than my rack, and at the same time a setup that is able to give me my overdriven tube sounds I can get from my rack setup.

Soren Reiff's Radial Tonebone Trimode

Soren Reiff’s Radial Tonebone Trimode

How did I meet the Radial Tonebone Trimode tube distortion ?

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The tc electronic Flashback delay in Soren Reiff's pedalboard

TC Electronic Flashback delay

I’ve been using TC Electronics products for more than 25 years I guess. The first TC Electronic pedal I bought was the phaser, and after that I’ve had several of their products. For years especially the 2290 has been an important part of my setup, so when I heard about the TC Electronic Flashback delay, I thought it would be a natural part of my board.

Facts about the TC Electronic Flashback delay

The TC Electronic Flashback delay offers you 11 different delay types. In addition to the “normal” different delay types, you get the TonePrint function. TonePrint gives you your favorite guitar players custom presets, in one of the delay modes. This is downloaded to the pedal either by your computer and an usb-cable or by and app for your smartphone. All in all a lot of possibilities in a regular stomp box – super.

The loop function is cool and sounds great – and I have loop time enough for my need (40 seconds).

The tc electronic Flashback delay in Soren Reiff's pedalboard

The TC Electronic Flashback delay in my pedalboard

Does it cover all my needs delay wise?

Overall the pedal sounds great. The different presets sound cool, and it covers about everything you can expect from a delay pedal, at least from a small stomp box.

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Cioks Pussy Power - Soren Reiff

Cioks Pussy Power supply

Review of Cioks Pussy power supply

When I decided to make myself a pedalboard, I spent hours … actually days or maybe even more correctly weeks researching effect pedals, but didn’t give the power supply much thought. My only concern in that direction was how much power the different models delivered, and if it would be enough power … I should be wiser.

I read about true bypass, I read about the latest releases of pedals and I saw tons of videos on youtube with dedicated people showing their boards. These enthusiastic pedal-lovers were playing the same pedals with different guitars thru different amps, sometimes even comparing different generations of the same pedal.

After some research on the internet, I knew what I wanted to check out myself and I started spending time in music stores with my guitars. After the first round of testing I brought a bounch of pedals to my studio and started trying them there. Normally only one at a time, but sometimes a few together. But not like “everything” together and I did all the testing on batteries … no power supply!!

I ended up with some very nice stuff I think – you can read more about my board here.

Soren_Reiff_pedalboard1

My board spring 2013

After some weeks I was ready – I had decided what board I wanted to mount everything at, and started doing that. I had bought some instrument cable that have been recommended by many people and a power supply that should be able to deliver all the power I needed.

When everything finally was connected and I turned the power on – I was disappointed. There was a hum … not very loud, but annoying.

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