The Pefftronics SB-101 Super Rand-O-Matic ($229) is an all-new modulation effect, unlike anything else I've heard at least in pedal form. It definitely wins my vote as the wildest pedal in this roundup. It's much more than your average chorus, flanger, phase shifter or delay. Believe it or not, the Super Rand-O-Matic was developed at Iowa State University, probably the last place you'd expect to be dreaming up the effects of the future, but then again, maybe not. There must be some truly warped and creative minds hanging out there (and you thought people in Hollywood and New York were odd!).
Although its controls look and function like those of many other stompboxes, the Super Rand-O-Matic is indubitably unique. There are six controls for Range, Depth, Rate, Feedback, Mix, and Randomness, along with a Tri/Rand switch to switch between triangle and random waveforms, and a basic on/off stomp switch. It operates on a single 9-volt battery or an optional AC power supply and has a red LED in the middle of the "O" in the Rand-O-matic that tells you when the pedal is on. The footswitch is totally silent and you can't hear any clicking when turning it on or off.
The Range control switches between six varied delay times. Although the other controls are all fairly self-explanatory, the Randomness feature is a little bit hard to explain. It adds the random dimension of the effect by creating some little out-of-tune pitches, bleeps and bloops, in assorted, off-time spots. With its diverse tonal capabilities you can get it to sound like a chorus on acid or simulate R2D2 from Star Wars. But aside from the off-the-wall effects, the Super Rand-O-Matic does an excellent job of creating the basic chorus, flange and phase shifting effects, and it can also achieve some great doubling effects, too. Talk about endless hours of fun . The more I play with it the more useful and interesting sounds l discover. One of the coolest effects occurs as the mix level is turned up past 12:00, when you'll hear a subtle amount of fuzz after the attack of each note that fades subtly into the background as the note decays. Techno players will truly love the versatility and odder aspects of this pedal, as will any player who likes to experiment with unusual effects. You may not find this one at your local music store (at least not yet, anyway), but if you're a stompbox aficionado make it a point to search this one down for you listening and entertainment pleasure. It's more fun than should be legal.
Pefftronics excerpt from "12 Great Pedals," Guitar Shop Spring 1998, Lisa Sharken