French pedal firm Puzzle Effects has launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance production of a series of modular pedals that connect together without the need for patch cables.
You might recall Guitar World reported on the first prototypes from Puzzle back in 2020. Since then, the company has been hard at work tweaking the designs and, as you can see from the pictures, a lot has changed in the intervening months.
Call us shallow, but we reckon the first thing you’ll notice are the overhauled pedal graphics, which look fantastic and are likely to prove much more appealing to the world’s effects fanatics – ie, those most likely to take a chance on the system.
Perhaps more importantly, though, Puzzle has tweaked the effects line-up for its debut proper, launching with the vehicular-themed Rocket Boost, Submarine Delay and Buggy Overdrive. This is somewhat removed from the Cloud Tremolo, Gold Digger Distortion and Silly Fuzz we saw teased in the firm’s initial posts.
The crucial selling point remains, of course, and that is a connection system that uses small contacts on either side of the pedals to enable them to connect to – and power – one another without the use of patch cables.
To connect them, you simply slot them together like puzzle pieces. On the back of the pedals you’ll find a standard jack in and out, plus a 9V power input, and you can place them in any order, no matter which one you initially power.
Puzzle Effects are predominantly analog designs with true bypass switching and are all designed and made in France.
Let's take a closer look at each piece of the puzzle…
Puzzle says its Rocket pedal combines everything it loves about JFET boosts, but mainly the “dynamic response and natural compression”. Alongside boost level, you also get active two-band EQ dials.
Sold as having a “deep, ambient echo”, the Submarine takes a hybrid approach to delay tone, using a PT2399 chip for digital delay processing and analog-like tone. Puzzle says the blend control is particularly good fun, as it goes beyond a simple wet/dry mix and offers “cavernous settings”.
The most appealing feature of the Buggy’s circuit is the charge pump which ramps up the headroom considerably to 18V. Clipping is handled by two rows of diodes in series and Puzzle says this all makes it extremely responsive.
If you like the look (and sound) of Puzzle Effects, you can head to Kickstarter to back the project, where pedals start at $179.