Sitori Sonics pedals
Price: $188 list (Doob Dreamer, Reel Repeat); $168 (Tidal Phase)
Despite the vast possibilities of electronic guitar effects, boutique pedal builders perhaps sometimes focus their effort in the cheeky names to evoke a vibe. Sitori Sonics is no exception, with offerings such as the Doob Dreamer, Tidal Phase, and Reel Repeat. However, Sitori’s hand-wired effects pedals – including this trio – are also aesthetically pleasing and well built, featuring true bypass circuitry.
Festooned with no shortage of cannabis references, the Doob Dreamer is among the (shall we say) thickest and smoothest overdrives imaginable. Three knobs (Size, Haze, and Tone) stand in for the more familiar Level, Drive, and, well, Tone. The Doob Dreamer gets interesting with its dual (roach?) clipping sections, which allow for a slight overdrive with some nice sustain in the Pinner mode, and increases the amount of overdrive and boosts the mid and bottom end when toggled to Fatty, giving up a Van Halenesque “brown sound.” The other toggle, labeled Norml/Thick (natch), offers an additional tone circuit that further beefs up the bottom end in Thick mode.
For effects of a more aquatic nature, there’s the attractive purple Tidal Phase, a lush-sounding phase shifter that ranges from a slow, liquid Steve Hunter/Dick Wagner swirl to a fast, Leslie cabinet warble. The Tidal Phase has just two controls: Sink (intensity) and Swim (speed). With the Sink function turned up all the way and Swim set to low, the Tidal Phase gives a very lush sweep. As Swim is increased, it makes sense to lower the Sink (i.e., Sink or Swim) to reduce the resultant helicopter effect. Compared to an MXR Phase 90, the Tidal Phase offers a wider variation of both speed and intensity, resulting in more tonal options.
Of these three Sitori pedals, the Reel Repeat is perhaps the most fun to mess around with, summoning many of the same effects as a vintage Echoplex, including similar levels of warmth. With this hybrid analog/digital delay pedal, Sitori does a great job of mimicking the attributes of a tape echo, including a round tone and the degradation of the high end as the repeat fades. And with only three knobs (Speed, Repeat, and Level), the learning curve is shallow. The Speed control lets the user go from ’50s-rockabilly slapback to David Gilmourish space echo. Turn the repeat up to the 4 o’clock position and the effect is instant Brian May, allowing the user to riff over their own phrases. The maximum delay time on the box tested was 600 milliseconds, but the Reel Repeat is also available in a 300-millisecond version for the same price.
The Doob Dreamer, Tidal Phase, and Reel Repeat are all well-built and offer no-nonsense user interfaces. Notably, when not engaged, the true bypass ensures that none of the three pedals corrupts the original signal. This is a case in which stompboxes are as fun as their names suggest, and useful, too, producing a wide variety of tones which guitarists across genres will find useful.
This article originally appeared in VG March 2013 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.