Cooper FX unveils Arcades, a multi-effects pedal that uses tiny cartridges to change sounds

Cooper FX has introduced the Arcades, a truly inventive multi-effects pedal that employs cartridges to swap between effects, similar to a videogame console.

Only instead of Super Mario Bros. or Sonic, each of the Arcades’ four cartridges contains eight effects in a category – delay, reverb, pitch and lo-fi.

The Arcades’ control set is simple – one screen, four knobs – but beyond that lies a seemingly endless array of sounds and functions. The swappable cards go from essentials like digital delay with tap tempo to far-out creations like dual pitch shifting and lo-fi VHS and vinyl.

One you insert a card, there’s a dedicated button page to toggle between two main pages on the screen: one accesses global controls like wet/dry mix and tone, and the other boasts adjustable card-specific parameters like reverb/decay, pitch intervals and grain size.

Additionally, footswitch/expression pedal pages can perform tasks like infinite reverb, delay warping or other parameter shifts.

The final configuration page deals with storing and loading of presets on each card, MIDI information and quantization.

Cooper FX Arcades

(Image credit: Cooper FX)

What’s more, Cooper Effects says there are additional cartridges on the way, including granular, reverse delays, generation loss and synth cards. The, um, delay in producing these cartridges is due to the fact that Cooper’s production plant is located in Wuhan, China and has been stymied by the coronavirus outbreak.

The goal, the company says, is to eventually team up with pedal influencers to release their own signature effects packages and, ultimately, “make this platform infinite”.

The coronavirus shortage has also led Cooper to limit the cards to two per customer at the moment. As such, the Arcades Delay/Reverb combo is available for $329 (Lo-Fi/Pitch combo is currently sold out).

For more information, including an in-depth run-down of each cartridge, head to Cooper FX (opens in new tab).

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.