With tireless innovation, the hits just keep coming
If Mike Matthews had quietly disappeared from the music products industry after introducing his groundbreaking LPB1 Linear Power Booster at the 1968 NAMM show, music products historians would still be applauding his contribution to the industry. But despite all manner of challenges and reasons to leave, or at least play it safe, Matthews’ New York City-based company, Electro-Harmonix, has remained a constant source of cool new products that help keep guitarists engaged, playing, and in the market. Following slam-dunks with its B9 and C9 organ and Key9 keyboard emulation effects, recent additions to the decades-long string of hit products include EHX’s 22500 Dual Stereo Looper, Silencer Noise Gate/Effects Loop, and Cock Fight Cocked Talking Wah pedals.
The 22500’s name refers to its maximum looping time, in seconds (or six hours), with the included 8GB SD memory card. It will accommodate cards up to 32GB. Feature-rich yet compact for convenient placement on a pedalboard, it’s positioned neatly between the line’s existing Nano Looper 360 and 45000 Multi-Track Looping Recorder.
The 22500 facilitates easy simultaneous operation of two high-quality, uncompressed audio tracks. Its real-time overdubbing capability promotes spontaneous creativity. The loops can be played in parallel or series, enabling the player to punch in and out harmonies and rhythms or use each loop as a different song section. Loops are stored on the SD card in banks, and each card can hold up to 100 banks. The banks can be backed up on, and restored from, a PC or Mac via the onboard USB port, and an optional foot controller can be used to scroll through them onstage.
Loops can also be recorded freeform or accompanied by the 22500’s preset rhythm loops. (Users can also import their own drum loops onto the memory card.) In addition to being a great tool for practicing and performing, these rhythm loops can be used to establish loop lengths or compose songs. Users can also record quantized loops with an exact number of beats or bars. “There’s a ton of flexibility, and a lot of different ways to create loops in a live performance setting,” explains Chief Engineer John Pisani. EHX also built in old school effects such as reverse and octave.
Electro-Harmonix is best known for its stompboxes for electric guitarists, and the 22500 will certainly shine in that application. However, its XLR input with selectable phantom power and a separate mic gain knob invites use with miked acoustic guitar, vocals à la Reggie Watts, horns à la trumpeter Matt Von Roderick and, as Pisani puts it, “whatever you can think of doing with a microphone.”
Loop A and Loop B footswitches engage recording and toggle between playback and overdubbing for each loop with a single tap or double tap to stop. A third footswitch can be programmed to function as a master Stop, Tap Tempo, or Rhythm Start/Stop switch.
Outside of live looping, the 22500 Dual Stereo Looper (MSRP $359.97) is a great songwriting tool. The user can set its loops to the same beats per minute as their DAW and later export them to a computer.
Also new from Electro-Harmonix, The Silencer Noise Gate/Effects Loop kills not only the hum from the guitar’s pickups, which can be amplified by high-gain pedals such as fuzz tones and overdrives, but also any self-generated noise from a single pedal or cumulative noise from multiple pedals. In addition to being annoying, hum and white noise generated by multiple high-gain pedals can also corrupt the effects of a delay or echo pedal that follows them in the chain. The Silencer’s loop allows the delay to be inserted on the output to prevent this from happening. Because The Silencer (MSRP $76.80) gates the return of the effects loop, and the input is connected to the send, the return is turned on and off as determined by the user-adjusted signal strength coming from the instrument. Its Release time can be adjusted so that signal from the guitar fades out naturally over several seconds before the gate is applied.
“You can also have a lot of fun with The Silencer by using its effects loop as another effect,” notes Pisani. “For example, if you have a loop playing on, say, your new 22500, you can gate that loop so that it only plays when you play your guitar.” The effects loop remains active even if the Silence function is footswitched off (with buffered bypass).
The Silencer’s three-control layout provides precise fine-tuning to fit any system, instrument, and playing style. Threshold adjusts how much level is required to open the noise gate and allow a signal to pass thru. Reduction regulates the degree to which the gated signal is attenuated and is variable between -70db and +4db. Release controls how long the gate remains open after the signal drops below the Threshold. Release time is variable between 8ms and four seconds.
And because at Electro-Harmonix the hits just keep coming, EHX’s new Cock Fight Cocked Talking Wah pedal, hot off the design bench, is getting guitarists fired up just in time for the holiday shopping season. “Innovative products like our 22500 Looper and The Silencer are the lifeblood of our success,” says Matthews. “And already the reaction from guitarists and our dealers to our Cock Fight, which was just released, is astounding! Rock ’n’ roll!”
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