In the current age of computer-based recording, it’s easy for in-the-box effects like reverb, delay, and such to come off as sounding too “under control.” I’ve found myself extensively re-amping signals, printing real tape delays, using plate and spring reverbs, and blasting sounds out into my live room to add spatial depth and a certain randomness to my recordings and mixes these days. In my opinion, it helps avoid the possibility of sterile, overwrought computer mixes. So I’m always on the lookout now for new ambience-creating devices, and the SNAZZY FX Wow And Flutter stompbox certainly fits the bill. Housed in a kinda ugly (and hard to read) orange and blue case, this mono pedal sports nine knobs up top, indicating that something more than a typical digital delay might lurk under the hood. [I just saw a photo of it. Holy sheesh! –AH] You can get the typical delay sounds, and the slightly dark echo it produces sits musically on a guitar track or in a mix. (Yes, it is able to handle +4 dBu line-level signals as well as guitar pickups.) But when you tweak the Threshold and Warp knobs, you can induce some crazy “tape warpage” as sounds enter this device. Sure, it can be subtle warps, and it worked well on some backing vocals in a mix, creating a slightly wobbly delay, but when pushed far, this box goes totally nuts. It really does sound like a broken tape deck that keeps stopping, starting, and yet magically looping itself. Un-frickin-real. This pitch-bending chaos is hella fun. I can’t think of any other delay product that can do what this one pulls off. My only critique would be that while running it at +4 dBu levels, I had to put a gate on the output to reduce the constant background noise, but I have to do the same for my tape echoes and spring reverbs, so it didn’t seem that unusual. And I wish it were stereo, but I’m not so sure how that would work. Hell, just process the sound twice with slight variations, print both instances, and pan left and right — now that sounds cool. The Wow And Flutter is so unique and mayhem-inducing that I had to buy it. ($329 street; –LC

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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