So we’ve had a few people ask us why we don’t have more bass-related articles on here (since Ray is a bass player and all), so I came across something that was pretty interesting and somewhat bass-related. We have a good friend down in Eugene, OR named Chris Ward who plays guitar with Amy Clawson & Coltrane, and he just sent me an interesting audio clip that I thought you all might be interested in.
Apparently Alex Aguilar, who is the former president and design engineer at Aguilar Amplification, has started a new company called Eagle Lair Audio, and their initial focus will be on cutting edge products geared toward guitarists. (See, there’s the bass player angle, although he’s seen the light and come over to the 6-string side!).
The first product being launched next week at NAMM is the HALO (Harmonic Amp-Like Overdrive) pedal. The goal of the HALO is to provide a high quality, no compromise effects pedal delivering harmonically rich distortion characteristics that feel, sound and react to picking nuances like the best tube amplifier designs. The result is a pedal that is sonically equivalent (and, in many cases superior) to tube saturation in the best guitar amps, while also producing tones that previously were not possible within solid state circuit topology. List price for the HALO is $399.
So as it turns out, our friend Chris down in Eugene actually had use of a prototype of this pedal last year and recorded a short audio clip of the various sounds. Here is the clip and what Chris had to say about the pedal:
“This is my Tele into the Aguilar prototype pedal into my ProReverb at a low, clean volume. If I remember right the mic is a 57 straight into ProTools. I am adjusting the guitar volume knob to get different amounts of overdrive. Good sound and very responsive for a pedal
It is the same Alex Aguilar that makes the bass amps, but as I understand it, he has sold that company and is no longer involved. I gather that he has been working on this prototype pedal for about three years now. I guess the electronic circuit is a completely different way of generating overdrive compared to anything that has been done before. He is going for a tube amp like responsiveness with the ultimate goal of building a solid state amp with this circuit as the preamp.
Somehow he got in touch with a collective of players here in Eugene who passed the pedal around and gave feedback on the design. I gather that he has addressed some concerns and changed the design a bit since we had the prototype.
McKenzie River Music had some first run pedals in for sale and I think they have an order in for more. He is building them by hand right now. (apparently it takes him two days to build each pedal.)
I should add that this pedal is also extremely versatile. With the tone knob, the bass, contour, and presence knobs, the three way clipping shape switch and the saturation switch, a very wide range of tones can be dialed in.
In the clip that I recorded, I had spent some time dialing in the pedal to try to see how closely I could match the recorded tone of my Metro Amps 50watt Plexi.“
Ray and I will definitely be checking out this pedal at NAMM and will let you know what we think after we have a chance to play through it. Very special thanks to Chris Ward for the great demo clip and info on this cool new pedal!