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Redwitch Effects delves deep into Greek lore and brings the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, to life in an affordable line of professional, lithium ion powered pedals that are small in size but massive in tone. Let's visit with the gainier side of the sisterhood.

 

By Chris Loeffler

 

How many different ways can you voice an overdrive pedal? How many methods of delay creation are there? While true circuit innovations still happen, it’s often the addition of new features that moves effects forward. Tap tempo, MIDI control, digital presets on analog circuits… these are features players are latching onto to change the way they use traditional effects. So how does Redwitch differentiate their Seven Sisters line?

All the pedals in the Redwitch Seven Sisters collection share a common aesthetic built around rechargeable lithium ion batteries and micro-sized pedal enclosures. Each pedal features true bypass and two external controls, with select models including an additional internal trim pot for “set it and forget it” additional parameters.  

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What You Need To Know

 

  • Unique to any production pedal this reviewer is aware of, the Seven Sisters use Lithium ion batteries (similar to those found in cell phones and digital cameras) as the power source for their circuits. These batteries are recharged within the pedal via a standard Boss-style 9v adaptor plugged into the 9v jack. Charge time takes about four hours (twelve hours is recommended for the first charge). Fully charged, the pedals will run anywhere from 24 hours (Violet Delay) to 300 hours (Ruby Fuzz) on a single charge with no discernable change to the tone.
  • The proprietary die-cast enclosures are smaller than the average flip phone and have the input and output jacks wisely positioned on the top of the pedal, allowing them to take up even less real estate. All seven lined up in order and hooked up collectively take up about 14” of horizontal space and 4" of vertical space.
  • Rather than tackle all Seven Sisters (pedals) in a single review, we’re breaking them up in to two categories… Gain (Lily Boost, Scarlett Overdrive, Ivy Distortion, and Ruby Fuzz) and “the rest” (Violet Delay, Eve Tremolo, and Grace Compressor). Let’s get started with the Gain Sisters.

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  • The Redwitch Lily Boost is a clean boost (if you want it to be) that offers 20dB volume boost through Pre and Post controls. The Pre control acts similar to the preamp of an amp and drives gain into the boost circuit, adding grit and texture to the boost without shifting the EQ. The Post control raises the total volume output of the preamp circuit. Between the two controls, everything from a sparkling clean boost to an edgier, broken up dirty boost is available with almost 300 hours of continual use off a single battery charge.  A useful secondary function of the pedal is to set it to unity gain and use it as a line buffer to avoid losing the high-end of your signal through long runs of cable.

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  • The Redwitch Scarlett Overdrive is the medium-gain overdrive offering in the Seven Sisters line, featuring Volume and Gain controls externally and an internal trim pot for tone control. Voiced similar to most traditional overdrive pedals, the Scarlett Overdrive has a slight mid bump that helps goose the guitar signal up in the mix in a band setting without sounding aggressively nasal. The gain knob travels from entirely transparent (counter clockwise) to the aggressive snarl of a cranked vintage Marshall. Gain response is tight but relatively touch sensitive and articulate. The last third of the Volume knob sweep gives a healthy output boost over unity gain to push the preamp. Although the gain of the Scarlett Overdrive is certainly worthy of standing alone into a clean amp with copious headroom, the pedal is at its sweetest when working with mid-level overdrive in the pedal and a 5dB volume boost into an amp already starting to break up. The internal tone control has a limited range of give to increase/decrease treble or bass to better meld the pedal into the guitar/amp chain. The pedal runs approximately 120 in-use hours on a single charge.

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  • The Redwitch Ivy Distortion is the most aggressive of the Sisters; a high-gain, metal-centric distortion pedal that begins where Scarlett ends. The gain is crunchy and tight, with an eye towards 80’s and 90’s British metal tones in the highest Gain settings and classic rock crunch in the lower Gain settings. Like the Scarlett, the Volume control is more than enough to slam the front end of an amp for ultra-compressed leads, whereas dialing it into unity gain allows the pedal’s focused rhythm crunch to shine through. The pedal runs about 220 hours of continual use on a single charge.

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  • The Redwitch Ruby Fuzz is a unique fuzz that, in a word, is a fuzz many “fuzz haters” can love. It isn’t finicky about signal chain placement, it nails classic mid-gain fuzz tones without the hollowness sometimes associated with them, and works equally well (albeit differently) with single coil and humbucker pickups. The two controls, Volume and Fuzz, work in the same manner as the other pedals, with the exception of less volume boost available (Ben at Redwitch states this is changed in newer models). Fed by single coil pickups, the Ruby Fuzz sounds remarkably articulate, with a bit more focus and richness than a vintage Fuzz Face (warm but silicon-like in behavior). The Volume control on the guitar adjusts the grit and saturation of the fuzz, further expanding the fine-tuning available to picky tone hounds. Through Gibson Classic 57’s, the fuzz was obviously slightly darker and more compressed, lending to smoother lead tones. Ruby runs for up to 300 hours of continual use on a single charge.

 

Limitations

 

  • The batteries used to power the pedal have an expected life of two to three years of continued use, meaning they will need to be replaced eventually. Replacement batteries are readily available and can be purchased from Redwitch dealers for around $10.

 

Conclusion

 

The four “gain-centric” Sisters sit as solid entries in their respective categories and are strongly positioned as boutique versions of the classics. The small size of the pedals makes them welcome on even the most crowded pedal boards, and the ability to run the pedals without a power supply or the concerns of dying (or dead) batteries makes for an easy, mobile experience for players. In short, these pedals aren’t trying to recreate the way players use gain effects, they are just trying to make them less problematic and more toneful. 

 

Resources

 

Redwitch Seven Sisters Lily Clean Boost at Musician's Friend (MSRP $159.99, Street $99.99)

Redwitch Seven Sisters Lily Clean Boost Product Page

Redwitch Seven Sisters Scarlett Overdrive at Musician's Friend (MSRP $159.99, Street $99.99)

Redwitch Seven Sisters Scarlett Overdrive Product Page

Redwitch Seven Sisters Ivy Distortion at Musician's Friend (MSRP $159.99, Street $99.99)

Redwitch Seven Sisters Ivy Distortion Product Page

 

Redwitch Seven Sisters Ruby Fuzz at Musician's Friend (MSRP $159.99, Street $99.99)

Redwitch Seven Sisters Ruby Fuzz Product Page


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