Product Review: Red Panda Tensor Pedal

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As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 15 – Spring 2021 – Electrified!

It’s a bit hard to explain in words all that Red Panda’s Tensor pedal does in that does a whole heck of a lot (really, you have to see it to believe it), but I’ll do my best. The incredibly versatile multi-effects pedal, developed by Detroit-based engineer and music enthusiast Curt Malouin, is most certainly an audiophile’s dream. Best described as a “sampler” pedal, this all-in-one pedal loops, pitch shifts, reverses, overdubs, warps, changes speed, and more. I imagine that Radiohead and Muse are drooling right now if they don’t already have the Tensor in their arsenal.

I’ll start by saying that this is not the pedal for you if you’re a plug-and-play kind of person. Were it not for reading the enclosed manual and watching several demo videos, I would have had a rough time figuring this out just because of the sheer number of functions. However, once you overcome the learning curve, a whole world of possibilities opens up to you, especially if you’re into creating spacey, otherworldly soundscapes.

The Speed knob works similarly to a tape machine—changing the speed and direction of your audio when you record a loop, and you can change playback speed from forward to reverse (a little “Are You Experienced?” anyone?). Pair it with the Blend knob to get a more wet or dry signal. The Time knob slows down or speeds up the audio without affecting pitch. The Pitch knob, in particular, is a favorite of mine in that you can shift the pitch up or down two octaves. This is great for soloing or glitchy production weirdness. However, the fun is really in playing mad scientist and tinkering with each function, playing them against each other. If you’re bored with “forward” mode, you can completely reverse your loop or alternate it between the two in “alt” mode. If you really want to throw caution to the wind, crank the Rand knob, which will randomize your settings, adding stutters, repeating certain segments, or shuffling bits of your audio.

There really is nothing this pedal can’t do—just be prepared to do some homework if you want to maximize its potential.

I’d personally use this a bit more in the studio versus a live setting, in that there’s a bit of knob turning depending on what you want to get out of it, and that may not always be conducive when you’re playing a show. All in all, this pedal really is a great value considering all it does, and the quality of effects is top-notch. The Red Panda Tensor Pedal is fantastic, especially for gear heads and producers in that there is always something new to discover or play with. If tech doesn’t turn you off, and you’re looking for a boutique pedal that truly does it all and more, look no further than the Tensor by Red Panda.

Price: $299.00
For more information and full specifications, visit redpandalab.com.