I've never heard a Mojo Hand FX pedal I didn't like, it's as simple as that. But if I could only choose ONE pedal out of the four they released at NAMM 2014, I'd choose the Speakeasy.
The Mojo Hand FX Speakeasy is based on the preamp tone of the Echoplex EP3. Despite being an expensive echo unit, some guys used to (and probably still do) turn the echo off and just use it as a preamp to colour their tone.
The Speakeasy not only offers the signature tone of the EP3, but also allows you to control the treble EQ - we're not aware of this function on any existing EP3 style pedal.
I was sold on this one as soon as I heard it.
JHS Color Box
I do not own a single JHS pedal, there I said it. But this could be my first JHS purchase.
The Color Box is a similar concept to the Mojo Hand FX Speakeasy, in a way. But instead of emulating the preamp sound of an Echoplex, the Color Box attempts to emulate the sound you get when you plug your guitar directly into a Neve console.
From adding a gentle glow to your sound, to completely crushing your tone and emulating the sound of turning up the input gain on a console and clipping it hard, this pedal has a lot of uses.
But it comes alive with just a touch of gain, highlighting the mid-range, and it works especially well if you pair it up with a drive pedal.
Cool pedal which you could pretty much fix on a certain setting and just keep it running throughout a gig.
Retail - $300 (projected retail price).
Wampler Tremolo prototype (deluxe)
Brian Wampler was kind enough to talk us through this pedal and arrange a demonstration of the product at NAMM 2014, and we were impressed by two things: it's flexibility; and how gorgeous it sounded on a smooth sine wave setting.
If you're one of those guys who is waiting for Wampler to bring out a phase pedal (like my colleague Rob is desperately waiting for), then this might just satisfy your appetite for some Wampler modulation in the meantime.
At the moment it's just a silver box with some scribbled words and the sort of red switch you used in DT class when building simple on/off circuits at school.
Anyway, this pedal sounded great, and if you don't have an amp with valve-driven tremolo (we're all agreed that's the pinnacle of tremolo) then this will be up there with the top crop of pedals vying for your attention.
Retail - TBC.
Rotating speaker emulation that sounds just like the real thing, this was one of the 'best sounds' I heard at NAMM.
We all know what the Leslie 'wail' is, and this thing really nails that beautiful choir of overtones.
It's not the sort of pedal that'd be first on your board, but it's something that you should definitely think about getting once you've got the bare essentials sorted.
Retail - $250 (best price I've seen it for online)
I don't have to do much justifying here. It's a great pedal that delivers a classic sound in a tiny stomp. I'll take two.
I've also seen it for as little as $130 online, which is a great price.