Red Witch Pedals has released a couple of dirt boxes for those sick of twiddling dials in search of a usable electric guitar (opens in new tab) tones – a big move for a company who brought us the “the most dial-able fuzz on the planet“ (opens in new tab) only last year.
The Xenia Overdrive Engine and Opia Fuzz Engine pare the concept of the stompbox down to the essentials, offering super-simple overdrive and fuzz pedal (opens in new tab) options for your pedalboard (opens in new tab).
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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), where there is presently a range of Black Friday (opens in new tab) offers, 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.