In the multi-verse of effects pedals, Robert Keeley’s compressors, dirt boxes, and workstation gizmos are a thing of beauty – particularly in the realm of pedals that provide multiple sounds. Guitarists who have a hankering for fuzz, delay, and modulation effects will undoubtedly dig the Dark Side, which purports to mimic the popular guitar sounds of David Gilmour of Pink Floyd.
Based on a 1977 op-amp style analog fuzz, the Dark Side uses a high-quality 24-bit DSP engine to mirror the Big Muff circuit with the capacity for variations using Level, Filter, and Fuzz knobs for volume, tone control, and gain, respectively. A three-position equalization voicing switch (Flat, Full, Scoop) offers more control. The delay and modulation effects feature 12 Binson-style syncopated delays and four modulation sounds – flanger, rotary, phaser, and univibe. Level, Blend, Depth, and Rate knobs offer more sonic flexibility. The delay cannot be used with the modulation effects, but a button on top allows rearranging the order of effects.
The Dark Side packs malleable features in a small package; modulation effects are rich and lustrous, and the acquired taste of fuzz achieves usable sustain, boost, and saturated grit. The delay is warm and flexible, but lacks tap tempo.
In all, Keeley has created a super-cool musical product, invaluable for getting the most from a single enclosure.
This article originally appeared in VG’s December 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.