Gear Review: Red Panda Labs Raster 2

Red Panda packs as many features into their pedals as anyone I know and you’d think that
would mean they’re overly complicated, but they’re not. You can deep-dive if you’re into that sort of thing but all of the tactile, manual features at your fingertips are highly useful and easily accessible.

At its heart, the Raster 2 is a digital delay with pitch and frequency shifting integrated into the feedback loop. Stock delay time is 1600ms, which can rise to 3200ms via their web app. The web app includes control over many other deep dive functions and greatly increases the functionality of the pedal and lets you assign MIDI and other applications if you wish.

Infinite repeats start at 3 o’clock on the feedback control and above that lives beautiful chaotic mayhem. Resonant feedback sounds are also available through three delay ranges fixed by a switch. The left and right delay times (that’s right, two delays) can be set in series, parallel or ping pong and can be set as a ration so a single knob changes both in sync. The tone control varies, from darker analog-voiced repeats counter-clockwise to bright, crisp color fully clockwise, emphasizing your attack.

But of course, the real star of this unit is the pitch shifting and the various combinations thereof that should really spur your creativity, and isn’t that what any new music toy is really about? Where does it lead you and what new sounds do you come up with? The shift knob is the key element for shifting the pitch. Counterclockwise is below standard pitch to minus 1 octave and clockwise past noon is 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, etc., to plus 1 octave. In between, you will discover inversions and chords along the way. It’s very handy that you can use the pedal as a straight delay with no pitch shifting at all and simply add the shifting via the dedicated left footswitch.

So the technical stuff is cool but how does this sound in practical use? So, for instance, you’re playing along and you’ve got a groovy little part going with some nice clear delay, a little modulation and you simply step on the left switch and you will have a rippling, cascading goddess flowing through your signal. It’s a glorious sound. Add to that the fact that you can really customize the LFO modulation by scrolling through different waveforms, different rise and fall choices for both speed and depth using the alt switch that’s part of the wave button and you really have a sonic, cosmic dream. Tremolo is also possible as are glitchy, stuttering pulses to chop up your sound anyway you like. Half, whole, or quarter note divisions are also available for the delays as is whether the feedback cycles forward, in reverse, or infinity (back into itself).

The footswitches can be configured to be momentary or latching and there’s also a control input for expression pedals which can be assigned to affect any parameter you choose. Four presets are available on board with the additional option for up to 128 presets via MIDI. It takes 9v power and needs at least 250ma to run properly. Whether you’re a singer-songwriter, rocker, or ambient player, the Raster 2 is guaranteed to bring something new, wild and exciting to your sound.

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