Big Ear introduces Albie, an ambient modulator for new-wave and post-punk

Based out of Music City, Big Ear Pedals has perfected the art developing clever effects pedals with setups so simple that even  guitarists can understand them. Big Ear's latest, an ambient modulator named Albie, continues in this vein.

It is Big Ear's first multi-effects pedal and was designed in collaboration with Joe McCaffrey of the New York indie rockers Nightmare Of You. 

Albie is a digital effect, with a simple two-knob setup on its ”Aqua Teal” enclosure  to control eight individual effects that offer a variety of "jangly, shimmering, modulated sounds," the likes of which were popularised during the heyday of post-punk and new-wave.

There are eight numbered LEDs lined up under the knobs, each corresponding to a different effect. Turn the effect knob to select your sound, then adjust the blend to bring in how much of it you want in your signal.

(Image credit: Big Ear Pedals)

Sometimes we need a cornucopia of choice. Our pedalboards would be a lot duller if they were populated solely by set-and-forget stompboxes. Options are good. But we like the looks of Albie – it cuts right to the chase.

Of course, there is a hidden function, a little like finding extra chips at the bottom of the bag. Hold down the footswitch and it opens up a secondary setting for each effect.

These are the Neil Modes, named for Neil Graham of Dr Scientist who programmed the digital magic in Albie's circuit, and who designed the bonus settings himself.

The Albie takes 9V DC power and draws a minimum current of 111mA.

Priced $199, it is available now direct from Big Ear. Shipping is free in the US, flat rate of 20 bucks R.O.W.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.