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Five pedals, five great names – now shipping
It’s kind of cool how Budda has named these pedals. In this article I’ll try to figure out what the name has to do with the function of the pedal. After days of spitting out specs on NAMM gear, this might be kind of fun. Maybe Budda didn’t intend anyone to think about this at all, but I am thinking about it – so here we go.
Chakra: In general terms, and not getting too much into any one particular belief, Chakras are the centers or life force or vital energy. They play a role in channeling elements of the body into the central channel. When these elements of the body are not balanced, it is said that we don’t feel well – or balanced, in one or many different areas. What’s that got to do with compression? Compression definitely balances a signal – and keeps it within “happy” ranges.
The Chakra Compressor
This unit was designed to emulate the optical compressors that were popular in 1960s studios. It’s got gain, level, compression, and attack knobs, and it is said to provide everything from warm barely detectable effect, to a fully squeezed sound. As you up the gain, the attack and compression respond accordingly.
Karma: Again, in general terms – karma is cause and effect. Sowing a seed and reaping a result. Since Chorus is two or more signals, slightly delayed and slightly pitch modulated – maybe Budda is referring to one of the signals as cause and the rest as effect? But wouldn’t that describe every effect pedal in the world? Or maybe they’re saying it’s “Cause it’s an effect”. I don’t know. Budda stumped me on this one. Their site has a little quip – not sure if this is the answer, but “The Karma Chorus gives as much as it gets with its included vibrato effect.”
The Karma Chorus
As we know, it does come with a Vibrato effect, which is very cool on a chorus pedal. You can set up your chorus and vibrato, and blend them perfectly with the vibrato mix knob. The pedal also includes controls for speed, depth, and level controls. It has two foot switches – one for the vibrato, and one to bypass (the chorus, evidently).
Om (Aum): Translated literally as “that which is sounded out loudly” or “to shout, sound”. This one is easier. It’s an overdrive pedal.
The Om Overdrive
One of the main purported benefits of this pedal is that it gives you just the right EQ to cut through a mix – especially during a solo. The Om includes basic controls – gain, tone and level.
Samsara: It refers to a “continuous flow” or the repeating cycle of birth, life, and death – for those belief systems that support such concepts. It also has to do with fixating on oneself and experiences. This one is easy – it’s a delay pedal, it creates its own flow out of itself – over and over, as long as you’d like it to. Pretty cool, Budda.
The Samsara Delay
This delay comes out of the gate with 20 – 600 milliseconds of delay – just a touch over half a second at the top range. Budda says the tone control is capable of generating sounds ranging from the low-fi sounds of analog delay, all the way up to more modern crisper sounds. The 20-600 milliseconds also gives you plenty of range, from the quicker ping-pong sounds all the way up to some real room filling ambiance. The controls included are: Level, time, feedback and tone.
Zenman Overdrive / Boost
Zen: It means to be absorbed, or to be in a meditative state. It’s also got a lot to do with enlightenment. I think this time Budda is just trying to tell us that this is a great sounding overdrive that might sound so good and do so much that you’re likely to reach guitar enlightenment!
The Zenman Overdrive
The Zenman really does quite a bit. It offers settings for many types of guitar music. Budda says that it works for “smooth overdrive to all out crunch”. On top of that, there’s a phat / vintage switch, which allows you to switch between two different base EQs for more varied sounds / eras. It’s also got a a boost that has it’s own level control, so you can use the pedal as an overdrive with a solo boost, or just use the boost feature alone. Like I said – with the Zenman, you’ve got tons of options.
The folks over at Budda make some great pedals – all of which are built like tanks, and feature true bypass so they wont suck your tone away while they’re not in use. Also, Budda has positioned the jacks at the top of the pedals so you can squish them all up against each other on your pedal board – unlike pedals with side jacks.