German music retailer Thomann has launched a free service that lets shoppers try out guitar pedals in real-time over the internet before they buy.
Stompenberg FX stars 150 pedals from brands ranging from TC Electronic and Boss, to MXR and Walrus Audio. The effects aren’t mere software emulations, either. Their physical circuits are housed in a gigantic rack pedalboard at Thomann HQ.
There are three ways to try out a pedal. You can run 14 pre-recorded loops – nine for guitar, five for bass – through an effect, upload your own loop, or play live through your computer. With the last, Thomann promises “a maximum of 200ms” in latency.
The platform allows you to access the full range of controls on each pedal. This means you can even test out momentary effects such as Electro-Harmonix’s Freeze, or even the hold function on the Red Panda’s eclectic pitch and time pedal, Tensor.
Particularly useful for testing out drive effects are five cabinet IRs, along with the option to load in your own.
Because each effect is tested in real-time, you may find yourself in a virtual queue should someone else already be trying out a particular stompbox. Thomann says “Currently, only one tester can be active per pedal at one time. If another tester connects to the desired pedal via an app, a countdown starts on both sides. The active user has 5 minutes left; the user in the digital waiting line can automatically take over after the active user has finished.”
Remote analogue processing may be new to the world of online music retail, but has already permeated the pro audio industry some time ago. Back in 2019, we reported on Access Analog, a subscription service that lets you virtually “borrow” analogue gear by streaming your audio to a robotically controlled hardware rack.
Try out Stompenberg FX yourself at thomann.de
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