Maestro Agena, Orbit, and Mariner

Wavy Gravy
Maestro Agena, Orbit, and Mariner
Price: $159 (Mariner), $149 (Orbit), and $159 (Agena)

Everyone loves modulation and filter pedals – those swishy, soupy sound makers that doll up a guitar’s signal. Maestro is now offering a new trio with the Agena Envelope Filter, Orbit Phaser, and Mariner Tremolo.

The Agena differs from an auto-wah, which specifically replicates a wah pedal; a more-subtle beast, an envelope filter reacts to the strength and speed of your pick attack and knob settings. The Agena’s controls are minimal – Sense, Attack, Decay, and a Hi/Lo switch – but effective. With the knobs set at 12 o’clock, expect more wah flavors, perfect for replicating Eric Clapton’s chunky power chords in “White Room.” Turn it up higher and head into the hip tone Jerry Garcia used on “Shakedown Street” and other Grateful Dead jams. The Hi/Lo switch lets you decide which frequency range to accent.

The Orbit Phaser harkens to the Maestro PS-1 of 1971, with a smaller footprint. Again, it’s stone-simple to use via Width (intensity), Feedback, and Rate (speed) knobs, plus a 6-Stage/4-Stage switch. Plug in and start twiddling; put the knobs around noon for classic soft/smooth phasing (think Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Runnin’”), or crank up the Rate knob for otherworldly, Leslie speaker-type sounds. The Stage switch shifts tone center to your preference.

The Mariner Tremolo contains the classic volume-pulsing effect of the ’60s surf and garage-rock scene. The box has Depth, Shape, and Speed knobs, but the Harmonic/Classic switch effectively gives you two effects in one; Classic is surf city with all the soft, undulating waves you’d want for California tones, while Harmonic provides a tasty Jimi Hendrix-style UniVibe sounds for when you want to get all groovy and psychedelic.

This article originally appeared in VG’s April 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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