If you have ever asked anyone for volume pedal suggestions, chances are they will tell you to check out Ernie Ball’s Volume Pedal Series.
While they have a reputation for being near indestructible, they have been the only pedals Ernie Ball has produced since they were introduced in 1975. That is why I felt a bit skeptical when I first laid eyes on the company’s new pedal line, the Expression Series. It features two pedals, the Ambient Delay and the Expression Overdrive. My major question seemed to be, while they look totally stunning, do they stand up sonically to the competition? After trying them out, I can confidently say that Ernie Ball’s first offerings in the realm of effects are equally successful and impressive.
With digital delay and plate reverb, Ernie Ball has successfully engineered a highly-functional 2-in-1 hybrid pedal. Its rose gold encasement features a foot-sweepable design just like their Volume Pedal series. You have the ability to control the delay time (50ms – 1s), reverb level, and feedback level. Tap tempo is only accessible by the addition of an external footswitch (not included). The delay pedals I have owned in the past conveniently have the tap tempo built-in, but I understand that the foot-sweepable control function would not be accommodated with an integrated tap tempo switch.
While most delay and reverb pedals are controlled by simply switching the effect on and off, this pedal has the ability to swell into the effect. This allows for a seamless transition into warm, textured delay making the Ambient Delay extremely unique.
Just like its sibling, the Expression Overdrive offers the same foot-sweepable design but in gold housing. Ernie Ball engineered this pedal to make the transition from rhythm to lead guitar as easy as possible. With three simple settings, boost, tone, and drive, the ability to go between minimal, tube-like drive to grunge crunch was very easy. Integrating the Expression Overdrive onto your pedal board also makes your boost pedal unnecessary.
While the design of the pedals is completely efficient, they are a quite larger than most pedals. At first glance I found myself wondering if their footprint on my pedal board would be worth my making room for them. Once I tried them out, I found that was not even a question. Each pedal eliminates the need for at least one other pedal. These hybrids are incredibly adaptable while offering sincere, quality texture to your sound.
Bravo, Ernie Ball. You have managed to blend both auditory and mechanical ingenuity to create a highly desirable effects series. The Ernie Ball Expression Series pedals are available now.