Now you can get 'relic' FX pedals too

Looking just like it's been tossed into gigbags and stomped on for two decades...
Looking just like it's been tossed into gigbags and stomped on for two decades...

Before digital amp modelling was even the merest glint in a designer's eye, for sheer flexibility and tonal range, the SansAmp was king. Indeed, many devotees would argue that its analogue tones are still preferable to any digital alternatives.

While there are now 15 different variations on the theme currently available, it all began in 1989 with the SansAmp Classic, designed by B Andrew Barta.

In recognition of the 20th anniversary of a pedal used on innumerable records and live performances by artists as diverse as Foreigner's Mick Jones and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, a special relic-style version is set for release.

The exterior design looks authentically battle-scarred and is taken from an original first generation model used across the globe by an unnamed 'renowned artist'.

Inside, the SansAmp's 100 percent analogue heart remains almost unchanged. Barta explains his devotion to all things analogue:

"Overall, I think analogue is much warmer, more organic and more responsive. There's also the issue of clarity. At extreme settings, digital tends to produce more artefacts and unnatural noise in the background.

"So, in turn, this needs to be reduced by artificial means such as a noise gate, which I am not fond of. I also prefer analogue because there's no latency. No matter how minor it is, even with the improvements in digital technology, latency can still be felt and I find it distracting while I'm playing."

The unit features a bank of eight character switches to adjust tonality, harmonics and dynamics. A three-position input switch offers a choice of preamp styles, while four pots shape preamp contours, power amp contours, volume and final tone.

Given that your audience will never see it and, unlike in the case of artificially-aged instruments, there are no benefits in terms of feel, the idea of a relic-style pedal might seem a little nonsensical to some. But we think it looks cool.

US RRP is $375. Visit the official Tech 21 website for more.

Chris Vinnicombe worked with us here on the MusicRadar team from the site's initial launch way back in 2007, and also contributed to Guitarist magazine as Features Editor until 2014, as well as Total Guitar magazine, amongst others. These days he can be found at Gibson Guitars, where he is editor-in-chief.