So, it seems Kylie Jenner — part of the inescapable fame-chasing Kardashian Empire — will soon become a billionaire with her wildly successful cosmetics company. What does that have to do with this review? Well, nothing (I’m just frustrated I didn’t buy stock here). But, it reminds me that Danelectro is capitalizing on their esteemed brand with a wealth of new pedals — called Billionaire by Danelectro — that not only sound pretty damn good, but also offer a lot of bang for the buck. I decided for this review, I’d take out the Big Spender Spinning Speaker pedal for a whirl.
The Big Spender is a rotary speaker effect in a compact and rugged die-cast housing, and is true-bypass. Each control on the pedal is perfectly conceived to offer the most amount of versatility for the Leslie-type effect. Unity gain on the volume knob begins at nine o’clock, and as you increase it, it can either clean boost the signal or clip into overdrive. The treble knob doesn’t alter your tone but as you turn it up, it brings in noticeable sparkle. The speed control sets the fast and slow range of the spin, and in combination with the ramp footswitch, it gradually accelerates or decelerates from where you set the speed. It takes roughly ten seconds for the effect to ramp up from slow to fast and vice versa, indicated by an LED that blinks from green (slowest) to red (fastest) until it flashes solid where the effect remains. The pedal runs on a 9V battery or can be powered by a 9-volt AC adapter.
For a rotary speaker effect, I have to say the Big Spender is neither fat sounding, nor juicy, but it is incredibly clear with lots of shimmer, which makes the Leslie-like effect actually stand out. It nails some glossy keyboard textures, along with warbly vibrato. I also found that setting the speed knob at ten o’clock, the Big Spender has a pleasing slow speed chorus that sounds like a double-tracked guitar. Another nifty trick is you can tap the footswitch twice, from a fast speed to ramp up to an even faster speed to get Leslie organ stabs.
STREET PRICE: $79
MANUFACTURER: Billionaire by Danelectro, billionairetone.com (opens in new tab)