Posted by
Feb 11, 2021

Boston’s Source Audio is joining a growing trend among musical gear companies aimed at maximizing profits and skipping (at least in part) the distribution chain, by selling direct a limited number of Beta versions of their new pedal release before distributing it to their dealers.

The new device in question is the Ultrawave, a multi-mode, multi-band distortion pedal presented as a “Stereo multiband processor,” which appears to be an evolution of their older Multiwave Distortion, a pedal that split the incoming signal into 10 separate frequencies, distorted them separately, and remixed them at the end of the circuit’s chain.

This new version, upgraded to the company’s “One” series’ specs, can split the input into 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, or 10 frequency bands, and apply to each a collection of 44 distortion/fuzz types, including Tube, Diode, Foldback (a distortion often used on synths), Octave Up, Negative Flip Diode, and more.

On top of that, the pedal offers three extra sound processing “blocks” (aka other effects) that can be placed before or after the distortion, and are programmable via the Desktop Neuro Editor. These include a Multiband Tremolo, that allows to assign different LFO setting to the various signal bands, and Compressor/Expander, and an 8 Band Graphic Equalizer.

The four Knobs by default control Drive, Level, Sustain and Treble but they can be reassigned to control any parameter you wish.

The pedal can store up to two presets (many more can be stored in the app) and, through the Morph functionality, it’s possible to switch between them in a gradual, smooth way, creating interesting effects.

Notwithstanding its simple layout, this is a very deep pedal that it’s likely to inspire the most creative guitarists among our readers, in particular those who have grown to appreciate the wonderful world of Stereo effects.

Prior to the official release of the Source Audio Ultrawave Multiband Processor we are selling 50 limited edition beta units. Each pedal is individually numbered, assembled in our Woburn, Massachusetts headquarters, and features limited edition graphics with a special powder coat finish. Our goal in releasing these pedals is to gather feedback on the Ultrawave’s unique feature set, the user experience of Neuro Desktop Editor (the Ultrawave’s free editing software), and start building an expansive library of great user presets. Each pedal comes with our personal contact information – we want to hear directly from the owner of each pedal and find out what we can do to make the Ultrawave the best that it can be. Because Source Audio works in the digital realm, we always have the option of making changes to pedal firmware and Neuro Editing software. The Ultrawave is an extremely far-reaching effects unit, and we believe that all of you are going to take it places we never imagined, so please help us get a better understanding of what this pedal is and what it can do. And please know that all the Ultrawave Beta units are future-proof and will be compatible with all forthcoming firmware updates.

But what does the Ultrawave Multiband Processor do? Multiband processing splits the frequency spectrum of a guitar, bass, or synthesizer into multiple, discrete frequency bands, each with its own set of adjustable parameters. The Ultrawave takes this split signal approach to wondrous new heights. It offers an extremely granular method of overdrive and distortion. When a signal is split into multiple bands, the Ultrawave (via the Neuro Desktop Editor) provides control over the drive and output levels of each individual band. The result is a thick and rich distortion with loads of unique overtones and dynamic interplay. The signal can be split into 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, or 10 frequency bands, and all of the band splitting options can be applied to an exciting collection of overdrive types, including Tube, Diode, Foldback (a method of distortion often heard in the world of synthesizers), Octave Up, Negative Flip Diode, and more.

In conjunction with the Ultrawave’s overdrive possibilities, the pedal has an incredible collection of innovative sound processing blocks. There is the dual channel compressor block with studio level controls that can be placed before or after the drive circuits. The Multiband Tremolo block provides individual control of each band’s tremolo depth, rate, and start time as well as its LFO wave shape. This is an entirely new effects pedal technology. Changing the LFO wave shape and varying the tremolo start times of each frequency band creates fantastically propulsive sounds reminiscent of sequencer or arpeggiator effects. The LFO’s Ring Mod option creates waves of retro/futuristic industrialism. The Morph feature explores the marvelous potential of sound morphing, which allows musicians to smoothly transition from one super-charged tone to another with an external expression pedal, LFO, or envelope follower. The Ultrawave also has advanced stereo features that can send entirely different drive effects to each of the outputs or generate mind-spinning, ping-pong tremolo effects.

The Neuro Desktop Editor offers the following options. All parameter settings and routing assignments can be saved within each individual preset and uploaded directly to the pedal:
37 Different Band Splitting Options: Band Splitting options including single, 2, 3, 4, 8, and 10 bands. Each band splitting option includes several sub-sets with different band splitting frequency points.
44 Different Distortion Types: Choose from distortion/overdrive/fuzz types that include Tube, Diode, Foldback, Negative Flip Diode, Octave Up, and more.
Onboard Compressor and Expander: The Ultrawave’s Compressor features Input Gain, Threshold, Ratio, Attack, Release, and Makeup Gain controls with a detailed graphic monitor. The Compressor / Expander can be placed either before or after the overdrive module.
Multiband Tremolo: Use the Multiband Tremolo’s different start time options to create sequencer or arpeggiator type effects. Use the Band Phase Offset control to set up 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 or 10 beat patterns.
Stereo Ins and Outs: Create two entirely different presets and run them in series, parallel or run each to a separate output. Stereo options also apply to the Multiband Tremolo – use the Channel 1/Channel 2 Sync options or the Phase Offset control to create stereo ping-pong, tremolo effects.
Detailed LFO Controls: Use the LFO module to control the Ultrawave’s Tremolo, Morphing or Ring Mod features. Choose between a standard Sine Wave or use the Attack/Release option and its Attack, Release, Shape, and On-Time controls create highly customized LFO shapes.
Preset Morphing: Change from one sound to another with either an expression pedal, envelope follower or LFO.
8 Band Graphic Equalizer
Adjustable Noise Gate
Assignable Knobs: Reassign all four of the Ultrawave’s knobs to the parameters most useful for making quick, on-stage changes. Save a different set of knob assignments for every preset.
External Expression Pedal Control: Make simultaneous, on-the-fly changes of up to three parameters with an external expression pedal.
6 Toggle Switch Accessible Presets: Access up to 6 pedal presets with the Ultrawave’s toggle switch.
128 MIDI Preset: Store up to 128 MIDI accessible presets.
Create, Save, and Share Presets with the Neuro Desktop Editor: Use the Neuro Desktop Editor to quickly download presets created by other Ultrawave owners or create and publish your own presets and make them accessible to entire Neuro Community.