Rotating speaker cabinets has been an essential part of David Gilmour’s tone since the early 70s. There’s been many pedals over the years, trying to capture that elusive tone and some has indeed succeeded. The newest on the market is the Pulse from Dawner Prince Electronics. Here’s my review.
I’ve had the pleasure of playing through Leslie cabinets in the studio while recording and it’s quite the experience. Still, dragging a Leslie on tour is a real hassle, so enter the pedals.
I have no idea what it takes to create a pedal as far as the electronics go but what I do know is that a rotating speaker isn’t really an effect like a distortion or a delay. It’s more a physical phenomenon that occur when sound moves. Some rotary pedals sound like a chorus and are not very convincing. Others have manage to capture that physical 3 dimensional character.
The Pulse is, as the name implies, based on David Gilmour’s custom Doppola open speaker rotating cabinets that he used during the 1994 Division Bell tour. These had two 6 inch 100w speakers each and were based on the Gibson Maestro Rover that David used for recording Division Bell.
This strange looking satellite Maestro Rover sounded very different from a classic Leslie. While a Leslie has a rotating horn and a distinct tremolo-like modulation, the Doppolas and Rover had a much more airy, almost flange-like tone. David would blend in just a hint of that modulated character to his dry amps and pedals.
If you’re mostly used to hearing a Leslie or pedals like the Strymon Lex, you might need some time getting used to the Pulse. It sound very different but, spot on what it’s supposed to do.