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McHale's Pandora Stomp Review

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Joined: 10 Feb 2009
Posts: 2438
Location: B.F.E. Illinois

PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:57 pm    Post subject: McHale's Pandora Stomp Review Reply with quote

OK, so I picked up my Korg Pandora Stomp last night. I pre-ordered the limited edition orange one the day it was announced from Sweetwater but they still don't have them in yet and Guitar Center got in the black ones yesterday. I would rather have the black one now than the orange one in mid-November (est. delivery date).

Initial thoughts:
The modeling and effects are OK, not quite as good as on my BOSS GT-8 but the price difference and size convenience balance that out. The gain or output level on headphones and 1/4" out is lower than it should be. There is a setting where you can set that but it ships at Vol. 100 so I can't give it any more. But volume issues aside, the effects are pretty good and it's very easy to program with the software. In no time at all, I had all my "go to" patches programmed that I use constantly.

The issues:

I honestly believe guitar players never stage tested this thing. The "Multi-function foot switch" is missing the most important features of a foot switch. You can't use it to boost anything as you would for a solo or lead channel. You also can't use it to move through your patches for the night (or even a full set). You can only use it to cycle through a single bank (10 patches) only or your 4 presets (the switch can also be set the unit to bypass as well as turn on the tuner). The jog dial BLOWS for live use and since you have a librarian where you can move around your patches in order of your set list, why would they NOT give you the ability to go from patch 000 to 050 without turning that tiny little jog dial every few songs. Don't forget, since you can't use the "Multi-function foot switch" to boost your leads, you need to use multiple patches for every song: standard patch, lead patch, standard patch at a minimum. So you'll have many patches to go through for a full show... all using that tiny jog wheel.

The jog dial will be the first thing that fails. It turns pretty uneven and is hard to turn for about 25% of the rotation. Since you have to use it for everything, sadly even during live use, it will get used a lot. I also found that it isn't very high quality. While cycling through patches it will frequently skip over one or two even though I was being extremely meticulous and precise. Again, this will suck for live use if you use more than your 4 favorite patches.

The 1/4" output is mono. If you listen to the effects through headphones however, the unit is fully stereo. They had the room inside for two 1/4" jacks or even a stereo 1/4" jack. Why would they NOT give stereo out? Most people are going to run this through a PA or a keyboard type amp. This was extremely disappointing. If I were keeping this, I'd attempt to remedy this myself.

Did I mention that the bottom is plastic and it does not have a seal to protect it from water or moisture? I dunno about everybody here, but I play outdoor shows and sometimes the stage is wet from rain or moisture. I also play indoor shows and people spill drinks on stage.

There are a few things they could have done to make this a killer product as well. MIDI in for example. The ability to plug in a keyboard expression pedal or two to control things like volume and wah are another. No looper? No tap tempo? Most importantly, the ability to update the FW for new effects and features.

Sadly, this will be the first Korg product I've ever returned. Sad

Here's my obligatory internal shot. If tonight weren't Halloween and/or I hadn't already decided to return it, I'd give a full tear down.

Current Korg Gear: KRONOS 88 (4GB), M50-73 (PS mod), RADIAS-73, Electribe MX, Triton Pro (MOSS, SCSI, CF, 64MB RAM), DVP-1, MEX-8000, MR-1, KAOSSilator, nanoKey, nanoKontrol, nanoPad 2, 3x DS1H, 7x PS1, FC7 (yes Korg, NOT Yamaha).
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought this pedal second hand to extend my pedal board with a multifunction device.

My first impression is quite good, the preset effects that I tried sound good, and the mechanical robustness is convincing.

One of the reasons I bought this pedal for, was the 'SYNTH' Amp model. Which basically uses a pitch tracking and some simple synthesis using sine and sawtooth waveforms, a VCF emulation and an +/-2 octaver. The sounds are decent, but of course I could wish for more:
1. Complete suppression of the dry sound - I wanna hear the synth and not synth with underlying guitar.
2. Since the Pandora Stomp has a midi driver I could imagine to get the pitch tracking results transmitted to the computer that could use it as midi input to drive a VST instrument. Well, that would be a KILLER FEATURE. Impleneting this would make this stomp pedal to a real gem. And I do not really see what is hindering Korg to take this step ahead, since it would not compete with Korg's other equipments -as far as I know. But it would definitely outmatch other competitors.
Fresh wind over the stale waters of industrial music.
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