Solid cherry wood and internal piezo system offers self-sufficient percussion accompaniment
For solo players and small acts looking to enhance the extent of live performances, or perhaps simply provide an added dimension to their music, the Ortega® ANNAlog stomp box is an option to consider. The no-battery-needed operation lends to a simple but effective approach. Attractive ergonomics add a polished look and efficiency. But how the ANNAlog functions is what matters.
After purchasing, unboxing and examining the ANNAlog up close, plugging the unit into a three-watt Blackstar Fly mini-amplifier soon followed. Using a Fender® quarter-inch instrument cable, connecting the ANNAlog to the Fly is a breeze. As a foot stomp pedal, not requiring a power supply is a big plus. Also, make sure to use the amp’s quarter-inch input to have control over the onboard features, including delay and tone.
With the Fly’s overdrive off, gain level at twelve o’clock and volume close to the same, the ANNAlog’s single control, a volume knob, also resting close to twelve, creates an amplified kick drum resemblance. Another setting had a concise rhythm on the rim quality. But all that changed by increasing the delay level counterclockwise to about three and the time just above zero. The outcome offers a thicker percussive quality, particularly suited to slower time signatures. Playing around with the Blackstar ISF tone equalization yielded varying amp results.
On the playing side, wearing a shoe or sneaker is obviously louder than stomping bare foot, or a sock. Keep in mind foot placement on the ANNAlog helps shape the sound. Tapping down on the edge of the cherry wood block is different than banging near the center. Hitting close to the trademark face figure proved to be a sweet spot, conveying a bass cajon. Wanting to add brightness to the percussion, while sliding solo on an acoustic resonator, a foot tambourine is just the thing. While playing, moving the mini-amp a few feet away from the ANNAlog and the foot tambourine gives further depth. The same applies with a foot shaker.
On stage, street busking and in the studio, the ANNAlog’s cherrywood is handsome while presenting a low profile. As for ergonomics, form smartly follows function. In addition to a comfortable angular design, on the bottom, a ribbed non-slip surface helps keep the box from moving around. Nevertheless, finding a relaxed position is key for endurance. Furthermore, if desired, a guitarist can plug directly into an input on the right side of the ANNAlog for an unobstructed signal that passes through a single channel, to the amplifier.
On Amazon, the Ortega® ANNAlog currently costs $90.87. Established in 1994, Ortega® offers more expensive stomp box variants, including the digital Kick Horse Pro, equipped with five different percussion samples. There are also major competitors and smaller independents offering pricier percussion stomp boxes, while some are lower priced. Designed in Germany, manufactured in China, for a basic percussion complement, even with electric guitar, through an amplifier or PA, the Ortega® ANNAlog lives up to anticipation.
Paul Wolfle, the publisher of musicinterviewmagazine.com, is a web-based journalist who has written for several popular sites. Paul has a passion for connecting with a diversity of musicians who are looking to grow a positive presence on the World Wide Web.