Preface: The Bolton based company, Rothwell Audio, manufactures a diverse number of guitar effects pedals, and here The Pro Audio Web Blog we have been lucky enough to take it for a spin - welcome ‘The Tornado’. This is an overdrive pedal that I have been looking forward to trying for a number of weeks now and I have finally had my chance. Throughout my career I have used a good number of effects pedals so far, so I really do have high expectations of what Rothwell Audio has to offer here! To conduct this review I have used a vide variety of amps that includes a number of Fender and Marshall amps, as well as and a selection of Fender, Epiphone and Cort guitars.
Unboxing and Build Quality: The Tornado pedal comes in a very basic but well packaged box that firmly has the pedal safe and secure in bubble wrap. In the package a user manual and 'Rothwell Audio' sticker is included - a nice touch. When you take 'The Tornado' out of it simplistic wrapping the 'wow' factor steps in because this pedal looks brilliant! It just screams vintage quality from the cream white metal housing and is polished off with a chrome foot-switch. In the hand it feels solid, extremely well designed and could definitely take the hits, bumps, and scrapes
Above: Rothwell Audio's 'The Tornado'
scrapes that it will inevitably face both on stage or in the studio! Functionally the front panel hosts the standard foot-switch, volume, tone and gain dials but by turning the pedal to the left and right sides you will notice the 1/4" input and output sockets. Furthermore, you will notice the ‘Shift button’ and this is something that we will come back to later and on the front of the housing you will find the optional 9v power input. With this said, the pedal has been built to happily run off a standard internal 9v battery.
Sound Quality: First things first, the Tornado is an overdrive pedal that boasts an “...overdriven sound that is much closer to that of an amp rather than a typical pedal but with pedal convenience.” In discussion I can confirm this statement is absolutely correct! Using single-ended 'class A' JFETs circuitry the sound is beautiful and could fool most guitarists into thinking that a high end amp was throwing out this signal that the pedal actually cooks up. An explanation of this is because JFET’s (Junction Field Effect Transistor's) behave similarly to valves and this really shows in the produced sound.
Overall the pedal pumps out a warm signal that I believe could give some expensive amps a fair run for their money. The shift button I mentioned earlier alters the curve of the tone control between a thick warm like sound to a shiny beautifully bright tone and another excellent quality this pedal has is the long and powerful sustain that bursts out of your amp; this is a factor that could be overlooked quite easily but it is highly important to note that this pedal has 'true bypass'. This means that it switches to a completely different circuit that bypasses all other hardware inside, and this means for a clean signal flow into what ever pedal you have next in your effects chain.
Conclusion: The Rothwell Audio 'The Tornado' is a pedal that gives you a very wide choice of sound that you can create, and I think that a lot of credit is due for the designer behind this awesome product. It is always great to see a British company that makes its mark in a pro audio landscape so 'The Tornado' certainly makes a bold statement. It has a simplistic style that is matched with a incredible tone and punch! It is with pleasure that I can only go ahead and award the Rothwell Audio'The Tornado' a well deserved 5 stars.