Back in 2019, Crazy Tube Circuits rolled out the Sidekick – a feature-packed stompbox that sought to place the most common time-based effects into one compact unit.
Well, the Greece-based brand has now updated (yet simultaneously streamlined) its feature-packed three-in-one reverb, delay and modulation pedal in the form of the Sidekick Jr. – and it might just be the holy grail one-stop-shop for harnessing ‘80s-era effects.
Though it comes in a far more pedalboard-friendly package in comparison to its older sibling, the Sidekick Jr. notably boasts superior FX algorithms and more DSP power, and (almost) gives players ultimate control over each independent effect.
Such effects, as noted above, include reverb, delay and modulation, all of which have been tuned in an effort to deliver a range of contemporary and “classic ‘80s-style” sounds.
Taking things one effect at a time, the reverb side of the pedal – engaged via its own footswitch – is divided into two separate banks: Bank A is an all-rounder pool comprising Plate, Spring and Hall voices, while Bank B is all about the ‘80s, offering Gated, octave-up Shimmer, and the CTC-signature Exciter, which is a “big-hall algorithm with almost infinite reflections and decay”.
The different Banks are selected via a top-mounted button, the different algorithms can be chosen via a toggle-switch, and the overall sounds can be sculpted via Mix and Excite knobs, the latter of which operates differently depending on the chosen ‘verb.
As for delay, two options are on tap: Tape, which is inspired by “the sweet and vibrant sound of a tape echo with a freshly installed tape running through a colorful preamp”, and Digital, which takes cues from ‘80s-era rack units.
These modes can be navigated by way of a button, and can be tweaked via Tail, Time and More parameters. More is just another word for “Mix”, in this case.
In the modulation department, another switch chooses between Dimension, Flanger and Ensembler effects, and Depth and Speed knobs are given the responsibility of sculpting them as you see fit.
There are only two footswitches, and they’re awarded to the reverb and delay circuits. That means, thanks to a “Smart Switching” toggle, the modulation tones can be triggered simultaneously with either effect, or it can be treated as an independent mode if the Sidekick Jr. is paired with a smaller XT footswitch.
For our two cents, it looks like an impressive kit, and while Crazy Tube Circuits' attempts to squeeze three effects into such a small chassis means the Sidekick Jr. misses out on deep-dive tonal options, it seems to have all the basics you'd want for such a small package – that, and it's absolutely nailed the retro '80s vibe.
Plus, Crazy Tube Circuits is something of a specialist when it comes to pairing effects together. Case in point, its Big Muff and ProCo Rat Motherload, Klon Centaur and Dumble Unobtanium, and Fender amp and Tube Screamer Crossfire.
The Sidekick Jr is available now for €289 (US price yet to be confirmed).
Head over to Crazy Tube Circuits to find out more.