Designed for electric guitar players and other instrumentalists, the Source Audio Soundblox 2 Orbiter Modulator is a stompbox with 12 onboard effects including flangers, phasers, chorus, and tremolos. 9 adjustable parameters are provided, giving you a degree of control more on par with studio rackmount effects than your average guitar pedal. On the pedal itself, you can control aspects of these parameters with modulation sources such as envelope followers or LFOs.
This being a Soundblox series pedal, the Orbiter Modulator sports many external control possibilities, giving you a 3.5mm multi-purpose control input for use with compatible expression pedals, MIDI controls, and Hot Hand enabled controls. All of the pedal’s effects are achieved by means of Source Audio’s proprietary 56-bit DSP, with 24-bit converters provided on both the A/D and D/A stages.
Two presets can be stored and saved within the pedal. Using the footswitches, you can select between presets, enter tap tempo mode to further control LFOs, and bypass the effects altogether. Buffered and true bypass are both configurable on this pedal. The pedal includes a 9 VDC power supply.
Key Features at a Glance
9 Adjustable Parameters — Depth, Delay, Frequency, Feedback, Volume, LoRetain, Tremolo, Mix, and Speed.
Access to a wide array of control parameters typically found on large rackmount Modulator’s effect types for the added dimension of amplitude modulation.
Proprietary SA601 56-bit Digital Signal Processor and industry-standard 24-bit converters.
Compact and rugged cast-aluminum housing.
Bypass selectable between analog-buffered or relay-based true.
2 easy-to-configure user presets recallable via two footswitches.
Multi-purpose control input for use with Hot Hand, the Source Audio Dual Expression Pedal, or MIDI.
Multi-purpose control output for daisy-chaining expression control parameters throughout two or more Soundblox series pedals.
6 Modulation Sources — Sine Wave LFO, Square Wave LFO, Envelope Follower, Hot Hand, Expression Pedal, and MIDI.
Controls at a Glance
- DEPTH Knob: This control adjusts the range of the modulating signals.
- OPTION Knob: This controls six different parameters in conjunction with the OPTION SELECT button. The button selects the parameter, while the knob dictates the value, level, or frequency of the effect. The selected parameter is indicated by the three red/green LEDs. Green indicates the upper parameter, while red indicates the lower parameter.
- EFFECT Knob: This selects which effect type will be used.
- MOD SOURCE Knob: When Hot Hand, MIDI, or an expression pedal is not being used, the Orbital Modulator features three different types of modulation control within the pedal: Envelope Follower, Sine Wave LFO, and Square Wave LFO. This knob controls a gradual blend between them, so setting this knob between two of the modulation graphics will create a sound with elements of both modulation forms.
- SPEED Knob: Depending on the modulation source, this knob controls either the rate of the LFO, the attack and decay times of the envelope follower, or the smoothing of Hot Hand.
- OPTION SELECT Button: This button is used to choose which parameter will be controlled by the Option knob. Your choices are DELAY/FREQUENCY, FEEDBACK, VOLUME, LoRETAIN, TREMOLO, and MIX. DELAY adjusts the delay time between dry and modulated signals in Flanger and Chorus modes. In Phaser modes, FREQUENCY dictates the center frequency point of phase modulation. FEEDBACK controls the amount of wet signal fed back into the effect, creating a more resonant and ringing response the more you crank the effect. VOLUME adjusts output level, while LoRETAIN selects the frequency below with the signal remains unprocessed; this is useful in preserving the clarity and punch of lower frequencies. TREMOLO adjusts the amplitude modulation, and MIX controls the ratio between dry and processed signals.
- CONTROL INPUT Button: The CONTROL INPUT button cycles between external control options. There are four possible settings for OFF (where the MOD SOURCE knob remains the primary source of control), EXP (for apposite expression pedals), MIDI, and HH (for Hot Hand Control, explained later in the feature section).
- PRESET SELECT/BYPASS Footswitch: Allows you to store presets, switch between presets, and bypass the pedal altogether.
DUAL and QUAD: The DUAL and QUAD effect types are multi-voiced choruses. Both produce a more animated chorus than the CLASSIC effect type. The DUAL CHORUS has two modulating delay signals, while the QUAD utilizes four.
THRU ZERO: The THRU ZERO effect type is Source Audio’s version of tape flanging. The pedal achieves this effect with two delay lines. The first is a very short but stationary delay line, which functions as the dry signal while the other signal modulates. As the modulating signal passes through and moves ahead of the stationary tap, the particularities of the effect are achieved.
SHADOW: The SHADOW flanger features two modulating signals. This set-up generates a more animated flange effect, with the primary flange closely shadowed by a subtle, more resonant reflection.
RES 1 and RES 2: These RESONATOR flangers have four modulating signals. They are highly resonant and create a distinctly hollow sound with ringing overtones.
PHASER: The classic phaser is similar to a flanger, as both require two identical signals running in parallel. However, while the flanger’s modulating frequency peaks create that recognizable “whoosh” sound, a phaser generates modulating frequency notches, which create an undulating sound similar to that found in a rotating Leslie speaker.
VIBE: The VIBE effect type was modeled after the Shin-Ei Univibe, the original rotating speaker simulator. This effect contains 2 relatively wide frequency notches spaced farther from one another than a typical phaser.
VARIABLE STAGE PHASERS: As a rule, every pair of phase shift stages creates one notch in the frequency response, so these four-, six-, eight-, and 12-stage phasers produce two, three, four, and six frequency notches, respectfully. As you progress from the four to the twelve stage phasers, the effect will sound more complex and pronounced.
TREMOLO: Though TREMOLO is not one of the effects listed around the EFFECT SELECTOR knob, turning up the Orbital Modulator’s TREMOLO knob can produce several traditional or non-traditional tremolo effects.