Red Witch Pedals has released a couple of dirt boxes for those sick of twiddling dials in search of a usable electric guitar tones – a big move for a company who brought us the “the most dial-able fuzz on the planet“ only last year.
Both arrive in mini metal enclosures painted cream with typically witchy and pagan art on the front – purple design for Xenia, red for Opia – and these siblings are designed to be more versatile than their no-fuss format might suggest.
Let’s look at the Xenia Overdrive Engine. It, at least, has a control to speak of, a single, side-mounted dial to set the preamp gain, and one footswitch to engage or bypass the effect. No need for a manual or YouTube tutorial. And no presets either.
But via this single control, Red Witch promises a huge sweep of gain and an abundance of juicy, musical drive. Set it low to add a bit of warmth to your sound, then dial in a little hair for a bit of grit for blues and blues-rock.
But as you crank it to its mid-point, the Xenia yields an amp-like classic rock tone based on “the greatest British fire-breathers of the last century”, with crunchy metal guaranteed at the end of the knob’s travel. Neat.
There is an internal trimpot for adjusting the master volume – the sort of thing you adjust once and leave it.
As for the Opia, you’ve got a footswitch and that’s that. Red Witch describes it as “a romantic getaway between your guitar and your fuzz tone”, clearly designing this unit for players who like to crank a guitar amp loud and jockey their guitar’s volume control to adjust the gain.
To accommodate that playing style, the Opia has a dynamic, touch-sensitive circuit, comprising dual silicon transistors, and there are two internal trimpots for fine tuning your fuzz and for output volume – a set-and-forget deal.
Both pedals are true bypass, hand-signed and numbered, and will draw 15mA of current. The Xenia is the heavier of the two but at 145gm it is barely a paperweight. That extra mass perhaps owing to its machined aluminium dial.
The Xenia and Opia are priced $149 and are available direct from Red Witch Pedals, where there is presently a range of Black Friday music deals, with 10 per cent off when you spend over $140, 15 per cent off orders over $200, and 20 per cent off orders over $290.