DComp – Compressor
SCORE: 4.5 / 5
A good compression pedal can normally be seen in pretty much any rig that involves a lot of clean tone usage and it’s essential for the majority of country tones.
It looks like a pedal and it operates like a pedal. The GUI is simple and easy as it should be with any pedal plugin. There’s not a lot more to say on the presentation of most pedal plugins but I like that Sknote give their vintage inspired plugins a grainier look at times.
With many of the other pedals in the pedalbench collection, it’s easy to pin point the gear that they were modeled after just by looking at the design and control layout. This one however, I am not entirely sure though I am going to wager a guess that it’s based on an MXR product. Perhaps the Dyna comp or Super comp.
It sounds awesome, the note response and the way the Dcomp squeezes things in just the right ways make it incredibly useful. It took the place as my main guitar compression plugin almost immediately because the detail is just a little better than anything I had used before. It actually feels like a real compressor pedal which is hard to explain but when you try it, the message will become clear.
Whether it’s to create consistency in a tone lathered with rich reverbs and delays or to had more honk and snap to your chicken pickin’, the Dcomp delivers. It covers a ton of ground and it does it with quality.
C2 – Chorus
SCORE : 4 / 5
Chorus effects can be used in a ton of different ways and have been for decades. Use it as a subtle way to widen your guitar tone or use it to create rolling warbly landscapes. It can be used on any instrument and vocals alike.
Sknote has a great line of pedal plugins inspired mostly by vintage gear. This one is based on an old Boss Chorus pedal that I assume is the CE-2.
The sound is really great but in my opinion, the CE-2 isn’t the most versatile chorus. It does a variety of things well but for more involved chorus applications, I reach for something with a few more bells and whistles. That said, I am a fan of simplistic chorus pedals with just depth and rate settings.
I have used the C2 for hard rock tones like Zakk Wylde, I also love it on clean tones in every way possible. Another application I am fond of is putting chorus on a buss track to infuse and widen things just a touch. It makes for a nice little mixing trick!
This plugin will do anything and everything the original does. It’s a very accurate and detailed representation of one of the better choruses ever made!!
Carbon – Delay
SCORE: 4.5 / 5
The plugin world has no shortage of delay and reverb plugins but like every other area of the plugin world, evolution and variety is part of the game.
Sknote has given us a plugin version of the MXR Carbon Copy delay pedal. This is a tried and true delay pedal that has been a fixture in many a pedal board over the years. The reason for that comes down to the Carbon Copy being simple, versatile and high quality.
The pedal looks great and the GUI is simple but effective. The controls are pretty realistic in value and response which is always a plus with any plugin.
I have three uses for delay pedals and I always take every delay plugin through them. First is a slapback for country, blues etc. Next is as a solo enhancer where I set it for 2 medium length repeats with the mix set lower. Lastly, I love to use a longer drawn out delay with a medium to large reverb with the mix on the verb at about 20-30%. The atmospheres you can build with delay and reverb.
The Carbon passed all my tests with flying colors and it’s become by go-to delay plugin for all guitar applications. It has a lot of versatility in that it, like the real Carbon Copy delay can be used for really any genre and application.
UPS / DOWNS:
Again, the quality is through the roof and I am very impressed. If you are looking for a really high quality delay plugin that will give you consistent and high quality results, look no further!!
Mistress – Flanger
SCORE: 4.5 / 5
The flanger has always been an effect that I personally really didn’t care for so, to give this pedal the review it deserves, I invited a buddy of mine by for a little couch jam. Darren is a long time user of amusement park sized pedal boards and he’s the only person to ever use flanger in a way that I enjoyed. The portions in italics are his thoughts!
The looks and name of the software pedal are a dead giveaway. We are looking at an original Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress. I am very well acquainted with this pedal as I have owned three of them. The original Electric Mistress came around in the mid to late 1970s and after that came several variations from Ehx and more than a few less interesting clones. It’s widely thought to be one of the best flangers of all-time.
I notice the GUI is simplistic, easy to use with the same vintage, grainy look as the other terrific pedal plugins from Sknote. I enjoy that their plugins look gritty as part of the plan and overall effect.
I hit the controls the same way I do when I buy a new pedal. The controls have a very realistic feel to them and my various settings from memory all came to life. Every single tiny movement of any knob on the original pedal had a noticeable tweak to things, the software version is the same.
I like a nice slow deep flanger set to roll with the song’s tempo but without a tap function, it’s all done by ear and feel once you get to know the pedal. The Misstress’ color knob is something else, it’s where the pedal’s character comes to life so I will generally work with it quite high with the rate very low and the range depending on the way I am using it. The software version is very true to the original 70s model.
I have primarily used flangers for atmospheric tones that sort of ride behind a wall of fuzz driven guitars. One thing I got used to doing with a flanger is cutting out some low mids to eliminate the lower end swirl of flanger and phaser effects that can cause some shit in a mix. If you run into the flanger trying to overpower the mix, the nice thing about the Misstress vs. the real pedal is that you can blend it in a little better with the wet/dry in your DAW FX window.
UPS / DOWNS:
The Sknote stuff has interested me enough to sell my home rig in favor of buying myself a new computer for guitar purposes. I had a whole afternoon to try everything and not one piece of it sounded anything short of impressive.
Well there you have it! Another fine release from a great company hell bent on providing tone to those wanting something with feel and life to it. Great job.
P90 – Phaser
Score: 4.5 / 5
I am guessing 80% of the guitarists on the planet have owned or at least seen this pedal around. The MXR Phase 90 is about as legendary as a phaser pedal can be. The odd thing is that while flanger and phaser are similar, I really dislike flanger pedals but love phaser pedals. Not really sure how to explain that one.
Phaser pedals can be used with any instrument, vocals and even as a cool effect for the odd drum part. It’s really just a fun effect to use to enhance certain parts. I have always loved EVH’s use of the phaser at really any level of gain. He’s the master of using effects sparingly at a level that is present but not overwhelming.
Like the real deal, the P90 has a single knob and probably the most simplistic GUI possible. With the one knob however, there’s a fair bit of play in what you can do with the P90.
The first usage I like to hit with phaser pedals would be the old school vintage country tones. You can use a Uni-Vibe plugin (like the one found below) or the P90 to create those lovely washing, sweeping 70s country tones made famous by the who’s who of country. Sknote has every plugin needed to create some of the best vintage tones that you have ever heard.
Next, I gave it a shot in the EVH department and the P90 took the ball and ran with it. I spent like an hour building an older era Van Halen sounding setup with the Themionik Jumpy models and Celestion EVH impulses. The results were so good I needed to sit for a second and really fathom that I was using software.
UPS / DOWNS:
If you are a fan of really any era or version of the MXR Phase 90, you will not be the least bit disappointed with the P90. Once again, Sknote has replaced yet another plugin in my go-to list. Thanks to Sknote Audio for having some of the best plugins out there.
UV Vibe – Univibe
Score: 4.5 / 5
Ahhhhhh, the Univibe, one of my favorite modulation effects ever made for a number of instruments. This plugin is an emulation of the original Shin-ei / Univox Uni-Vibe that came out in the late 60s and stayed very prevalent in guitar tones through the 70s and 80s.
If you don’t know what a Uni-Vibe does, well the best way I can explain it is a sort of blend of phaser, chorus and many say “it sounds like the 70s”. It was initially designed to be a Leslie sort of thing but failed in that regard just to find serious popularity anyways.
Robin Trower, Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, Trey Anastasio, John Mayer and a wide collection of players have used the Uni-Vibe over the years. There aren’t many plugins based on the pedal and it’s an effect most guitarists use sparingly but it’s very handy to have one when you need it.
The Sknote UV looks just like a real Uni-Vibe and the controls all function like one as well. The details look really nice and you can really tell that the proper time was taken to make this plugin stand out.
There’s something about Sknote plugins that just grab me from the first moment. I have yet to find one that didn’t so it’s become the normal reaction at this point to sit there with kind of a befuddled but impressed look on my face. The UV did just that.
The one tone that I use the UV for more than anything else is a 70s / vintage country tones. I grew up listening to these tones and it took literally only two Sknote plugins to make it happen the first time I tried for it. The UV and the TwinR or Deluxe1 together creates a tone that sounds like it would be right at home on any of the classic 70s country albums. I was also able to use the UV with the Blackface, Chimp, Super and Bassmench from the Thermionik collection and a number of other amps to get a nice tone but the Sknote Fender amp sims are just unbeatable.
Want that wild swirling Jimi Hendrix solo sound? Here you go! I put the UV in front of a variety of Marshall amps and paired it with the Audiority Blue Face fuzz pedal plugin and poof, within moments I felt like setting my guitar on fire… well not actually but the feeling was there! Point is, the Hendrix tone is very achievable with plugins despite many tone purists doubts!
I have also had success using the UV in atmospheric tones with some nice reverbs and other effects. Good thing Sknote has a long list of incredible vintage inspired effects to go along with the UV!!
UPS / DOWNS:
If the real deal sound of a Uni-Vibe is your thing, don’t think, just go get this plugin right now because there simple just isn’t another plugin based on the Uni-Vibe that even comes within miles of being as good as the Sknote UV.
If you haven’t heard a Uni-Vibe I strongly advise checking out the pedal’s capabilities because there’s a lot of very cool things that can be done with it!
See more – Sknote PedalBench demo