A New Standard In Stompbox Compressors?

Origin Effects unveils Cali76 and the SlideRig which is optimized for the Little Feat slide tone   13-Sep-12

A New Standard In Stompbox Compressors?

British boutique effects manufacturer Origin Effects has launched a pair of new compressor pedals that they say redefine the levels of audio quality and performance available from a stompbox. The company says that, based on the musical sound and dynamic response of the UREI 1176 – the legendary FET compressor first introduced to recording studios in the late 60s and heard on countless records since – the Cali76 and SlideRig put studio-grade compression within reach of the average guitarist, in a pedalboard-friendly format and powered by a 9V cell.
Living up to the Origin Effects motto – "purity of tone" – these pedals feature a fully Class-A discrete signal path, with old-fashioned, high-end circuit design. The company says that this ensures incredibly low noise and the widest possible frequency bandwidth, the end result being a full low end, sparkling highs and wonderfully transparent compression, with a bright, clean attack and tons of natural-sounding sustain.
While the Cali76 offers the full complement of studio compressor controls, including ratio, attack and release knobs plus a VU-style gain reduction meter, the unique SlideRig features two FET compressors chained together in one pedal for even more sustain and sensitivity. Both pedals – which feature bespoke enclosures and are 100% made in the UK – are available now.
Origin Effects founder Simon Keats – an electronic engineer and analogue circuit designer who has worked for the likes of Vox, Focusrite and Trident Audio – explains how the Cali76 came about: "The Cali76 was designed to get that musical UREI 1176 tone into the hands of guitarists. The 1176 just sounds so much better than the pedals most guitarists are used to, but of course the price is prohibitive, as is transporting a large rack unit around with you! So I stripped out the parts of the design that weren't directly contributing to the tone and then optimised the circuit for battery operation. I'm used to building high-end, custom studio equipment and I wanted this pedal to be the same – sturdy and reliable, with wide-bandwidth, low-noise, Class-A circuitry throughout and no ICs in the signal path."
Meanwhile, the unique SlideRig pedal was inspired by Lowell George's timeless slide guitar tones on the Little Feat album Dixie Chicken. These were recorded using two UREI 1176s chained together in front of the amp, creating a sound that's almost completely clean yet delivers incredible sustain.
"The SlideRig is something I selfishly designed for myself because I wanted to get that Little Feat sound!" Keats confesses. "It's essentially two Cali76s in one box, without the metering and with the attack and release controls moved inside. Chained together, you get almost endless sustain and the guitar becomes super-sensitive."
Keats sent the very first pedal he completed to Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere, who immediately made SlideRig #001 part of his live and studio setup. "The SlideRig is unbelievable," says Barrere. "It's so clean! I've used it on the newest Little Feat recording and it's remarkable how quiet it is. And having two settings makes it perfect for live shows as you can step it up for soloing."
Other pro players who have already embraced the Cali76 and SlideRig include Ben Lloyd and Tarrant Anderson (guitar and bass, Frank Turner Band), slide virtuoso Michael Messer, guitarist and producer Paul Stacey (Oasis, Black Crowes) and steel guitarist Joshua Grange (kd lang).
While both pedals are optimised for electric guitar, Origin Effects tells us that the Cali76 is also great for bass and can be used with acoustic guitar, vocals, piano or drums and to process just about any recorded material. An upgraded version of the Cali76 – the Cali76 Transformer-Option (£325/$425) – features an additional Class-A output amplifier with a custom-wound transformer, providing a balanced line/DI output, pad and ground lift switches and further options to subtly shape the pedal's tone and harmonic saturation.
All three pedals feature:
  • 100% Class-A discrete signal path
  • Studio-grade, low-noise electronics
  • Internal switching for true-bypass or high-quality output buffer
  • 50 hours operating time from a single 9V/PP3 cell
  • Alternatively, power from an external mains adaptor (9-18 V DC)
  • Highest quality components and bespoke enclosures
  • Traditional through-hole PCB construction – 100% made in the UK
  • Optimised for guitar and bass but great for processing recorded instruments too
Pricing and Availability:
SlideRig: £229 (UK & Europe inc VAT); $299 (rest of the world)
Cali76: £229 (UK & Europe inc VAT); $299 (rest of the world)
Cali76 Transformer-Option: £325 (UK & Europe inc VAT); $425 (rest of the world)
More information:
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