ALABS Guitar Pedals is a brand new company out of Singapore, a group of self-professed “music nerds” on a mission to make some killer tones. Today we are going to give you a sneak peak of the lineup, before these tonal behemoths are released.
ALABS Pedals: Who Are They?
I knew who ALABS was before these pedals, because the brand makes some nice mics for podcasts and video calls. But I had no idea that this brand had a secret. I found four guitar pedals at my doorstep, made by ALABS. I had no idea the journey I was about to embark upon.
ALABS stands for “Ace Labs” and the company is made up of music geeks from Singapore that want to create some cool products for the music community. The name is representative of the team’s ethics, as everyone involved thinks of themselves as a mad scientist. The company was formed in Singapore with members that have almost two decades of experience in the audio industry.
After some time in the lab, these aces started by making some podcast equipment in 2022. This included microphones and mixers/interfaces for people that are just getting into recording at home. These products have been a success for the brand, and put ALABS on the map.
These microphones and mixers were great products for musicians, but ALABS had something else in mind. It was time to expand the company, and start a brand new path. These designers at ALABS are musicians and music lovers, with innovation as one of the brand’s core values.
The next step, is a long-time passion project for the team. ALABS wanted to make something unique in the world of guitar, which is hard to do these days. You can easily jump online and find a ton of budget pedals, but will they have any personality? Any special features? Will they be innovative?
Probably not. Budget pedals certainly get the job done, but most of us want a pedal that speaks to us, or something that inspires us to experiment. My biggest hero, Eddie Van Halen often got ideas for songs from playing around with effects pedals. Would the intro to “Unchained” be as cool without that MXR phaser effect?
This is where “premium” guitar pedals come in handy. For example, we all associate the BOSS HM-2 with the heavy sounds from Sweden. Apparently, it seems like a really good pedal can inspire an entire genre! But that isn’t the only pedal that started a new style of music over the course of guitar innovation.
If you go back in time to the birth of the Shoegaze Era, pedals were the essential part of that sound. In fact, the genre gets the name from staring at your pedalboard while playing on stage. Pedals inspired people like My Bloody Valentine to create sonic landscapes beyond what a guitar can usually sound like.
Just like we associate fuzz effects with Doom Metal, pedals can be the secret ingredient to your entire tone. Everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Pink Floyd experimented with fuzz as well! Long before Doom was ever a genre.
Sure, digital effects are easy and sometimes cheaper these days, but tons of players still rely on pedals for their signature sounds. There are some things that digital effects just cannot replicate, and that mostly comes down to “feel” in leu of audio quality.
ALABS Guitar Pedals recently sent me a care package with all of the pedals, as well as the marketing material before the upcoming launch. You currently cannot buy these, but they will be available worldwide within a couple of weeks after this article is published.
I have had some correspondence with the designers, and they seem like impassioned people. ALABS recently unveiled these pedals at overseas trade shows, and the attendees were very impressed. Many people wanted to buy the pedals on the spot.
ALABS Guitar Pedals take a very modern approach to making pedals, but there is nostalgia sprinkled throughout the pedal series. Today we are going to look at the main features of these pedals as a preview, before they hit the market. Let me tell you, the hype is real!
We will be reviewing each pedal individually soon, today we are just giving a quick overview. As the release date gets closer, we will do individual reviews, with sound demos on our YouTube channel. Until then, let’s take a look at what makes these pedals unique and exciting.
ALABS Guitar Pedals: The Main Features
ALABS currently has four different pedals, all being released simultaneously. Each pedal has the same theme of an astronaut exploring the universe, with mention of the first man in the creation myth, Adam.
It could be said that Adam being the first person on the planet, was also the first real explorer. The story is that Adam is still out there exploring the world of tone, among the cosmos.
Exploring the world of tone, is “Adam’s Adventures”. This dreamscape of a theme is fluid between all four pedals, which all offer something different. It is almost like a concept album, and even the LED lights align with the theme!
This is certainly the work of “music geeks” and I appreciate the creative story that comes along with the pedals. The shipping boxes all fold out to reveal artwork and a story that reminds me of a gate-fold cover from a music album. Every aspect of ALABS guitar pedals has been made with love, and tons of attention.
The ALABS guitar pedals all have beautiful artwork on them, with the space-themed settings. The casing is solid metal, and the paint is a thick matte finish that is ready to be stomped. Each pedal is powered by 9V external supplies only, no batteries here, unfortunately. But I understand why.
Each pedal has this same Astro/space theme, as well as the same knob and switch layout. This is because each ALABS pedal essentially functions the same, just with different effects. This tech is an approach that I have not seen before, and it allows you to mix the effects in an wild way. Let me explain:
All of the ALABS guitar pedals have the WAVE Audio System built-in. This Wizard Audio Virtual Engine allows you to create rich, dynamic modulation effects with each pedal that can be saved in a virtual “bank”. But no pedal in the collection does just “one” effect, and that is also part of the WAVE experience.
The parameter knob acts differently with each pedal, but it is the highlight of ALABS design. Like a digital effects unit, you have several options for parameters. For example, you have several delay types instead of just one sound, several types of modulations and even tunings!
Have a sound dialed in that is perfect on your pedal? You can save it with a few clicks, and control the parameters however you want, spinning through the different effect options. This is the coolest part of the WAVE technology, allowing you to capture a sound.
Each of the ALABS guitar pedals can be switched from buffered to true bypass, a feature that matters to many players. Some people prefer buffered for many reasons, so you have the choice with every pedal. Players with long cables or complex setups can choose which mode fits best with their rigs with the push of a button.
I have been looking at it like each ALABS Guitar Pedal is a mini “multi-effects” unit. Each pedal offers a “base” function, with tons of options for the base effect. You also get a memory function, to save your effects settings. But we are getting ahead of ourselves… which effects do these pedals create?
You have four dreamy effects to choose from that cover just about every base you can imagine. You probably noticed that there is no overdrive, and that is a good thing in my opinion. ALABS guitar pedals covers some more of the “stranger” effects that guitarists use to experiment and explore.
So while there is no overdrive or distortion, there is vast array of effects in just four pedals. Each model has a parameter knob that offers several different varieties of reverb, pitch, modulation, and delay. This is what I meant by each pedal is like a miniature “multi-effects” stomp box.
Let’s take a look at each pedal:
- Cetus Reverb: This pedal has 9 different reverb effects to choose from, with classic settings like “hall” and “spring”. But there are some truly outlandish options to choose from. You have the option for mono or stereo output, analog dry-through.
- Orbital Pitch: This pedal tracks your playing, and can go from a 3rd up or down in pitch, all the way to an octave. This low latency de-tuner can be mixed however you want, with a stereo output.
- Timeslip Delay: The pedal covers all kinds of delay effects, from the subtle analog tape echo, to reverse/backwards effects. The Timeslip has stereo in/out so you can create insane textures.
- Novadrift Modulation: This is probably the most complex pedal, offering chorus effects, phaser, and even a rotary cab effect. Like all of the other pedals, you get stereo options for output.
Every pedal has a lot to offer, with several different variants of each effect, with the option to lock-in your sound when ever you happen to get inspired. Each pedal has the option for stereo output as well, which can be very cool when recording or playing on the stage.
The box-opening experience is amazing as well, and I have to mention this part. The box folds out like an album cover that features the artwork that is on your pedal, in full size. You also get a guitar pick, some cool stickers with Adam the Astronaut, and 3M foam feet if you prefer to use them.
But there is one more feature that we have not discussed yet, and I think this is something that is a game-changer. Each pedal has the WAVE technology that allows you to modulate the effects and save them, but there is one more thing to talk about and it floored us!
The GLIDE Feature…
This is just the icing on the cake of the ALABS Guitar Pedal series, and every pedal in this series has the GLIDE effect built-in. So what does this mean, and what does it do?
Upon opening my first pedal, I noticed that the switch was no clicking, which worried me for a moment. But none of the pedals have a switch that clicks, because all of these pedals are built with a momentary switch! But what if I told you that you could “glide” into a saved sound that you dialed in?
The main stomp switch can be set to GLIDE or “normal” function using the mini switch on each pedal. This allows you to do some really cool tricks with each pedal. For example, you can set the Orbital Pitch for “momentary” and change pitch for just a small part of a song like Spiritbox often does for heavy effects!
The GLIDE function works the same with each pedal, and if you don’t like momentary switches, you can always set the pedal to “normal” and it will work like any other guitar pedal. All four of the ALABS Guitar Pedals allows you to choose between the two functions via mini toggle switch.
Sure, plenty of pedals have a momentary switch. But when you combine this with the extreme amount of tonal choices each pedal features, it really makes the “total package”. The GLIDE function can also work with your saved functions. For example, it can make the Orbital Pitch momentary, or gradually “glide” up to your saved function.
If this sounds a little complicated, it really is easy once you see it in action. I will do a full video about how the GLIDE function works, as well as the momentary switch. When “gliding” into a an effect, the pedal will be in buffered mode, not true bypass.
ALABS guitar pedals have a lot of technology built-in, and it will take some time and practice to discover everything these pedals can do! The GLIDE function is just one element, and if you never use it? Then you will still have a crazy amount of sounds to add to your rig with any of these pedals.
ALABS Guitar Pedals: Wrapping Up…
Let me say upfront, this is not a “paid” review/project. I am honestly excited about these pedals, and I have had a lot of fun with them since they arrived. ALABS guitar pedals just sent me the product, and I was excited the moment they showed up at my house.
ALABS guitar pedals are truly different. I am honestly excited that someone out there is doing something different. Innovation is the most important factor for any product I review. So many pedals come across my desk, and not many hold my interest.
ALABS guitar pedals are offering a lot of tones for people that love pedals, but also for people like me, who doesn’t like to use pedals often. Don’t get me wrong, I like effects as much as the next guy, but I have been using digital effects for years at this point. I sold most of my pedals around the studio, except my looper.
Strangely though, ALABS guitar pedals might pull me out of analog retirement! These pedals cover just as much ground as digital options, without the hassle of programming my Helix. That’s the thing… all of these pedals have so many tonal options.
I have not used anything but the ALABS guitar pedals over the last few days, and it has re-ignited my passion for tone-chasing. I guess I forgot just how exciting pedals can be, and some of that is definitely my fault. Digital effects are easy to dial in and use, almost too easy.
But a lot of that apathetic feeling is because the pedal companies seem to constantly push out the same old stuff. I quit buying pedals because brands keep re-releasing classic pedals that I already own. I am the type of person that craves innovation, and I love to see new stuff.
No one needs 25 different re-released overdrives to get a good sound. I also have no need to try and copy the sounds that some other artist created years ago.
ALABS guitar pedals has scratched that creative itch for me. I am going down a deep rabbit hole while recording my new album, and you can bet that ALABS will be featured on that album! All four of these pedals offer something familiar in sound, but also something new in the designs.
Just opening the box is a premium experience that reminds me of the days in my youth, buying albums and looking at the CD booklets. The stickers you get can be put on your guitar or pedalboard. But the pedals themselves have endless possibilities, and I am currently building a new pedalboard for the first time in years!
ALABS guitar pedals will be hitting the shelves soon, with a modest price tag that will probably shock most guitarists. This was just a post to get everyone as hyped as I am! I cannot wait to see what ALABS does next with guitar pedals, as there are plans in the works.
Editor’s Note: Update time, all 4 pedals are now available. Check the links below.
If you want to see a full review for each pedal, the reviews are coming! I will also update this article with links to buy as the time comes closer to full release. If you want to see some sound demos before anyone else? Subscribe to our new YouTube channel!