Alabs Novadrift Modulation Pedal Hands-On Review: Top Guitar Gear?

4.0 rating

When you’re jamming out on your electric guitar, having a robust modulation pedal can paint your music with vibrant sonic colors. Modulation pedals offer a playground of effects from lush chorus sweeps to pulsating tremolos, injecting life into your sound. For those who love experimenting and pushing their creativity, these pedals can be the salt to your musical recipe, giving every note a distinct flavor.

ALABS NOVADRIFT Modulation Pedals for Electric Guitar, with 9 Stereo...
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I recently had the chance to play around with the Alabs Novadrift. It’s a compact kit with a range of genuinely stereo nine modulation effects, from a classic Vibe to an enveloping Rotary and even a quirky Ring modulator. The standout feature for me was the “∞ Creative Mode,” which feels like an extension of your creative will, remembering the manipulation of various parameters over time and playing them back. This, along with two tapping tempo rhythms, helps sculpt very personal and textured sounds.

ProsCons
Nine different modulation effectsPower supply not included
True Stereo mode with an analog dry-through for pure soundMight be overwhelming for beginners due to its extensive features
Tap tempo with two optional rhythm modes for flexible control
Advanced audio algorithm engine for high-fidelity effects
Unique ∞ Creative Mode for creative expression

My rating for the Alabs Novadrift pedal is a solid 4.5 out of 5 because of the potential it brings to the table for both live performances and studio sessions.

Alabs

Though you may need to be more deeply familiar with the specifics of pedal manufacturers, Alabs is one such name that’s been growing in prominence within the music tech community. Originating from Singapore, this pro audio company has paved the way for itself. It is primarily known for developing and introducing a new stompbox pedal line accessible to guitarists at various skill levels.

Their focus isn’t just on creating run-of-the-mill effects pedals. They try to pack each device with versatility and sterling audio fidelity while keeping things affordable. Their “Adam Adventure Series” stands out as a testament to their innovation-compiling a suite of pedals that includes the likes of Timeslip Delay, Orbital Pitch Shifter, Cetus Reverb, and, of course, the spotlight-grabbing Novadrift Modulation. Each unit is crafted to provide you with true stereo input and output, ensuring the audio quality remains unadulterated by the conversion process, whether on stage or in the studio. With its commitment to both quality and accessibility, Alabs seems poised to be a mainstay on pedalboards around the globe.

Alabs Novadrift Modulation Specification

After spending some quality time with Alabs Novadrift, what stands out is how its features suit different playing styles. It has a good range of effects with nine modulation variations, tap tempo control, and smart expression parameter automation to control your sound. For the price offered, the sound quality and versatility are pretty impressive.

Features:

  • Nine treasured stereo modulation effects: Vibe, Chorus, Multi-Chorus, Phaser, Filter, Rotary, Flanger, Tremolo, and Ring
  • True stereo I\O
  • Intuitive tap tempo with a dual rhythm pattern
  • Pure signal integrity with analog dry through
  • Alabs’ Wizard Audio Virtual Engine: 32-bit DSP
  • Smart expression parameter automation for dynamic playability
  • Electromechanical relay-base true bypass or Analog buffer bypass
  • Power requirements: Standard 9V DC, minimum 250mA (not included)
  • Dimensions: 4.83” (12.2 cm) L x 2.57” (6.6 cm) W x 1.40” (3.6 cm) H
  • Weight: 9.2 Oz (260 g)

Allow me to share some insights about each aspect of this pedal, shaping the soundscape with finesse and precision.

Professional True Stereo 9 Modulation Effects

Playing through the diverse modulation options, the guitar’s voice transformed with every selection. Each of the nine effects – from vibes, chorus, phaser, and beyond – is crafted to enhance your guitar’s sound with a full, immersive stereo field. The experience is akin to bringing studio-grade effects right to your feet, which is a boon for enthusiasts eager to explore different sonic realms. It offers Vibe, Chorus, Multi-Chorus, Phaser, Filter, Rotary, Flanger, Tremolo, and Ring effects.

Tap Tempo with Two Rhythms

With the inclusion of tap tempo, syncing up with a band or creating a rhythmic pulse to your playing is effortless and precise. The dual rhythm options add depth to your modulation effects, letting you alternate between different rhythmic feels on the fly. This feature allows you to seamlessly adapt to various musical scenarios without missing a beat.

Analog Dry Through for True Tone

Thanks to the analog dry-through design, your guitar’s core sound remains untainted. When engaged, the pedal cleverly blends the effect with your dry signal, preserving your electric guitar’s tonal integrity and warmth. This level of sound fidelity is particularly appreciated by purists and professionals who require their instrument’s natural voice to be at the forefront of their mix.

Advanced Audio Algorithm Engine

The power lies in its advanced audio algorithm engine. It ensures that each modulation effect is lush, detailed, and free of digital harshness. The nuanced tones emerging from this compact device are a testament to the sophisticated technology housed within its green enclosure. It’s an intelligent design that promises to elevate simple riffs to enthralling musical expressions.

The Creative Mode

The Creative Mode, shown with the ∞ sign on the pedal, is one of the selling points of the unit. What it does is allow the pedal to memorize or record the settings you put to the Depth, Rate, Mix, and Tone knobs in 5 seconds. Then, you can recall the settings whenever you want.

So, for instance, you can turn on the Rate or Depth knob gradually from 0 to 100 in five seconds. The pedal will remember this change, and when you recall the setting, you will have the depth or rate setting going up when you play. This allows for building many interesting tones.

The X Parameter Control

Lastly, the multi-expression control offers a dynamic edge to playing. It controls the regen function for the Vibe, Phaser, and Flanger and is accessed through the Tone knob. If the toggle next to the knob is switched to the Tap mode, the knob controls the X, which offers different parameter controls for each modulation type. If the toggle is switched to Creative Mode, then the knob sets the Tone parameter.

Alabs Novadrift Manual

I highly recommend reading the manual before you start using the pedal.

Alabs Novadrift Modulation Sound Quality

When you plug in Alabs Novadrift, you tap into many sound-shaping possibilities. Built to offer a range of tones from classic to avant-garde, this pedal is known for delivering high-quality modulation effects while preserving the integrity of your guitar’s original tone. The sound remains robust and clear, ensuring that the modulation effects amplify your music without degrading the sound.

Modulation Effects:

  • Vibe: Offers a warm, swirling modulation that adds a liquid, almost hypnotic texture. 
  • Chorus: Imbues your sound with a rich, shimmering quality ranging from subtle to lush.
  • Multi-SH: Offers multi-band chorus effect for a deeper and wider tone.
  • Phaser: The effect moves from a gentle sway to a pronounced swirl.
  • Filter: Selectively emphasizing or attenuating certain frequencies, creating dynamic, often funky or synthetic-sounding textures.
  • Rotary: Producing a lush, shimmering modulation that can vary from a slow, rich chorus to a fast, pulsating tremolo.
  • Flanger: Creates a futuristic, swooshing, jet-like whoosh that modulates in pitch and intensity.
  • Tremolo: Creates a rhythmic pulsing or wavering sound by rapidly modulating the volume of the signal at an adjustable rate and depth.
  • Ring: Produces a complex, dissonant, and often metallic-sounding tone by multiplying the input signal with a carrier wave

The Novadrift pedal provides an expansive sonic landscape while maintaining crispness and clarity. Whether you’re looking for a gentle enhancement or transformative modulation, the pedal retains your guitar’s character even with the most profound effects engaged. Its ability to deliver full stereo modulation ensures that your playing will stand out.

Alabs Novadrift Modulation Is Perfect for Whom?

If you’re the kind of guitarist who revels in the lush landscapes of a chorus, the warble of vibrato, or the expressive sweep of a phaser, the Alabs Novadrift is tailormade for you. 

It’s a modulation pedal that offers versatility and creative control, making it ideal for musicians looking to broaden their sonic palette without cluttering their pedalboard. 

With nine different modulation types at your disposal, it’s suitable for both experimental players and those looking to recreate classic tones whether you’re jamming at home, performing on stage, or laying down tracks in the studio.

What I Think About the Alabs Novadrift Modulation

it’s clear that versatility is the strong suit of the Novadrift. Whether you’re crafting lush soundscapes with its Chorus or dialing in some psychedelic ambiance via the Phaser, the pedal feels intuitive and dynamic. The Tap Tempo feature is a standout, offering rhythm options that can really enhance your live playing experience.

The pedal’s True Stereo Mode does wonders for the spatial dimension of your sound, making it feel fuller and more alive. It’s also reassuring that the Analog Dry Through maintains the integrity of your original guitar tone. 

However, one area for improvement would be the pedal’s shiny knobs which have a reflective surface and can be inconvenient when you look at them.

The absence of a power supply is slightly inconvenient, so be sure you’ve got the right 9V adapter. Despite these small critiques, the quality of the effects, at this price point, is truly impressive. It’s a solid choice for those seeking depth and versatility in their modulation effects without breaking the bank.

The Creative Mode, for me, was another strong point as I like to experiment and create different tones. This mode makes the unit much more interesting and allows you to create unique effects that you commonly do not get from standard modulation pedal in the price range.

3 Alabs Novadrift Modulation Example Settings

You’ve got your hands on the Alabs Novadrift pedal and are eager to see what sonic landscapes you can sculpt. With its range of modulation types, this pedal offers a playground of tonal possibilities. To get you started, here are three example settings that showcase the versatility of the Novadrift, each providing a distinct effect that can transform your sound uniquely.

1. Lush Chorus: Get ready for waves of rich, undulating chorus. This setting is perfect for creating a dreamy texture that doesn’t overpower the original signal.

  • Modulation Type: Chorus
  • Rate: Medium – around 50% – Set around 12 o’clock
  • Depth: High – around 70% – set around 3 o’clock
  • Mix: Medium – 50% – around 50% – set around 1 o’clock
  • X: High – around 80% – set over 3 o’clock
  • Tone: Max – around 100% – set to 5 o’clock.

2. Slow Rotary Swirl: Dip your sound into the cool, slow-moving waters of a rotary speaker simulation. It subtly gives your tone a vintage vibe without stealing the show.

  • Modulation Type: Rotary
  • Rate: Slow – around 30% – Set around 9 o’clock
  • Depth: Medium – around 50% – Set around 12 o’clock
  • Mix: Medium – around 40% – Set around 12 o’clock
  • X: Low – around 20% – Set around 8 o’clock
  • Tone: High – around 70% – Set around 3 o’clock

3. Pycadalic Vibe: Infuse your riffs with the vintage 60s psychedelic sound, adding a subtle, swirling depth to your music.

  • Modulation Type: Vibe
  • Rate: Medium – around 50% – Set around 12 o’clock
  • Depth: High – around 85% – Set around 4 o’clock
  • Mix: Max – around 90% – Set around 5 o’clock
  • Tone: High – around 70% – Set around 3  o’clock
  • X: Medium – around 40% – Set around 11 o’clock

Top 3 Alternatives to the Alabs Novadrift Modulation

If you’re considering options besides the versatile Novadrift pedal, here are a few alternatives that might catch your interest. Each comes with its own set of characteristics that can enrich your sound.

Boss MD-200 Modulation Pedal

Boss MD-200 Modulation Pedal
  • Expression Pedal/Footswitch Input
  • Modulation Effects Pedal
  • with 12 Modulation Modes
  • Stereo I/O

The Boss MD-200 offers an array of effects with the reliability Boss is known for. Its standout feature is the intuitive interface; tweaking settings on the fly is a breeze. The sound quality is impressive, with options ranging from classic to modern. The versatility makes it suitable for any genre.

Electro-Harmonix Mod 11 Modulator Pedal

Electro-Harmonix MOD 11 Modulation Pedal
  • Intuitive “hidden” parameters accessible through its Secondary Knob...
  • Tap Tempo via the built-in footswitch or an external one
  • Momentary Mode to switch effects in or out
  • Comes with a standard EHX EHX 9.6DC200mA power supply

For those who fancy a more experimental edge, the Mod 11 pedal from Electro-Harmonix is a delight. It’s got 11 modulation styles packed into a compact unit. The Tap Tempo feature and built-in modulation algorithm add depth to your performance without overwhelming your original sound.

FLAMMA FS05 Multi Modulation

FLAMMA FS05 Multi Modulation Pedal Stereo Effects 7 Storable Slots 11...
  • 【11 Modulation Effects】 from classic to experimental: chorus, flanger,...
  • 【Stereo】High-quality stereo & digital modulation effects.
  • 【7 Presets】7 preset slots for saving your favorite settings.
  • 【True Bypass】 to reduce signal loss.

The Flamma FS05 is a multi-modulation pedal offering 11 high-quality stereo effects, ranging from classic to experimental, with seven preset slots for saving settings. It has an intuitive interface with versatile control options, allowing for deep customization of each effect to suit various musical styles and preferences.

Conclusion

After experimenting with the Novadrift pedal, I’ve gained a genuine appreciation for its versatility and sound quality. It’s clear that Alabs offers something special for every guitarist looking to add some modulation to their tone. While the construction is robust, offering a reassuring sturdiness to each stomp, the shiny knobs can be impractical under certain lighting conditions. 

Thankfully, the sound quality overshadows this minor gripe with an impressive range of modulation options. If you’re chasing a multiple modulation effect, this pedal may be the right choice for you at this price point.

If you found this article useful, you may want to save this pin below to your Guitar board.

Last update on 2024-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jacob

I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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