Who: Daring Audio
What: Laser Cannon
Price (MSRP/PAID): $349 / $150
Power Supply: Yes 9V Center Neg (Boss Style)
Available from: Dealers
Size: 5″ x 4.75″ x 2.5″ (tall)(jacks and knobs included)
Review Date: 1/6/2013
Strikes the perfect balance of clean bass mixed with heavy distortion for that two-track sound popular with studio engineers. From moderate to crunchy distortion or even thick fuzz, the Laser Cannon allows your bass to cut through the mix in genres like rock, metal, industrial and hardcore. Silicon or germanium diodes in the same box selectable for distinctive distortion textures.
BLEND – Sets the mixture from 100% clean to 100% distorted signal.
ATTACK – Pre-distortion low-cut filter reduces upper harmonics for smoother distortion.
RANGE – Sets hi-pass cut-off frequency from full spectrum distortion to narrow mid-range frequencies
WAVE – Controls the amount of distortion.
E=PC – Selects diode type: Either silicon or germanium for distinct distortion textures
PAD – Engages -9dB pad for active basses
VOL – Sets the overall output volume of the blended signal. From off to +12dB boost.
- Noiseless true bypass
- Dimensions: 4.7″ x 3.7″
- Laser-etched, die-cast aluminum chassis
- Internal 18V operation for high headroom
- 9V batt or standard 9V center negative DC power
- Low battery LED indicator, visible LED settings during bypass
- Design and manufactured in the USA
My first visual impressions of this pedal were very positive, the custom laser engraved chassis is extremely attractive but the price point of this pedal (at $349) means it better do more than present a pretty face. My first aural impressions were not as positive, I found the knobs to be unintuitive and I struggled to get a good sound out of it, my state of mind at the time really wasn’t conducive to figuring it out, and it got stuck behind some other pedals on the shelf and I… forgot about it.
Fast forward to December 2012, and I started taking stock of what I had, and what I wanted to do with it. I set aside some time for each pedal I had in stock over the course of a couple weeks, and I finally got back to the Laser Cannon. My second impression of the pedal was pretty similar, but I was determined to fight through the preconcieved notions that I had and really spend some time with the settings to find out whats going on.
I’ll cover the bad first, and the move into what I do like about the pedal. The blend knob all the way counter-clockwise is ‘full blend’ with an increase in the amount dirt blended in as you turn it clockwise. This is backwards from most pedals with a blend knob, and it took me a bit to mentally adjust, but that’s my problem not the pedal’s. The issue I have with it is that the taper seems an odd choice with a dramatic proportion of the function of the knob being used up in the first 10% of the total rotation. This is a problem that is exhibited throughout the pedal, but is most notable on the blend, vol, range, and wave functions. The range knob is an odd duck that sounds good in the marketing list, but on the basses I tried it with it feels mostly useless. Only the last 40 degrees of the knob spin seem to do anything, starting to chop off the input range that is being distorted and then cutting the signal totally over the last 20 degrees of throw.
So, why should you bother with this pedal? 1) It sounds pretty darn good of many of the low and medium gain blended settings. 2) The attack knob is great.
The attack knob on this pedal is one of those things that I’m sure has been implemented before, but has never quite struck me the way it does on this pedal. It feels almost like a compression manager built right into the pedal, allowing you to control how firmly the fundamental of the note peeks out of the fuzz as you strike it. It shines when trying to find a lower gain setting that retains your dynamics at whatever level you desire.
I demand a lot from a pedal that comes with a price tag as high as this one, and frankly I’m glad I didn’t pay anywhere near full price. In the end, I don’t think it’s worth it as there are so many other cheaper, sonically awesome options in today’s crowded marketplace. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide if the features and sonic ability are enough to justify the price of a pedal, and there are a few tricks from the Laser Cannon that might be hard to find elsewhere.
A mixed bag, non-intuitive design with strange knob tapers with a killer feature and some useable sounds.
Photo Gallery and Video:
As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment or let me know Note: A rating of 5 = acceptable and should be considered a ‘good’ basic score
|Sound Description: Flexible, Attack Control, Best at lower gains and blended|