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This article was originally published in issue #53
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Digitech to the rescue! If you’ve been following any of the more prominent pedal-nerd social media channels, you’ll no doubt have seen this cool-looking little silver box cropping up on the boards of those in the know, and with good reason - it’s incredible!
Incredibly authentic feedback simulation
Ethereal theremin-like tones
Totally unique effect
Requires 235ma at 9V to run, so you’ll need a pretty robust power supply
Designed as a natural feedback creator at any volume, with or without distortion. Digitech's FreqOut seems ideal for low-volume settings and in the studio. Here’s Nick Jennison to offer some feedback of his own.
Before we get into this review, let me impart a feedback-related tip that my guru Brian once gave to me. If you want your guitar to feedback in a musical and controllable fashion, touch your headstock to your speaker cabinet. Try it - you can thank me later.
There are, however, some issues with this approach. You’ll look pretty daft, for one thing. It’s also pretty hard to play in this position, and impossible to sing/operate your pedals/point and wink at the attractive individual in the third row. Not very rock & roll.
Maybe you can do the tried-and-tested Gary Moore method of walking around the stage in soundcheck and finding the perfect spot for musical feedback. Mark the spot with an “X” made of tape, and when it’s time to sustain a note - pretty soon nerdy guitarists will be turning up with stopwatches. Unfortunately, this also comes with a few drawbacks. First of all, you need a soundcheck, so festival gigs are a no, as are drop-and-go gigs in every major city in the world. It also assumes you have a large enough stage and a loud enough amp. If you’re using amp modeling, it’s harder again, and if you’re on in-ears, you can forget about it.
Digitech to the rescue! If you’ve been following any of the more prominent pedal-nerd social media channels, you’ll no doubt have seen this cool-looking little silver box cropping up on the boards of those in the know, and with good reason - it’s incredible! I’m deadly serious when I say this pedal is the most entertaining piece of gear I’ve played in years. Following in the shoes of their massively successful “whammy” series of pedals, the Freqout is essentially a pitch manipulation device that absolutely nails the sound of a guitar blossoming into harmonic feedback.
You can set the footswitch for latching or momentary operation, enabling you to quickly bloom the occasional note or leave the effect on for entire passages. The row of LEDs to the left display track the feedback signal as swells from subtle to screaming. There’s also a switch to mute your dry signal. With the dry signal on the pedal introduces convincing layers of feedback on top of your existing tone. With it muted, you can achieve haunting theremin-like swells.
The three knobs control the level of the feedback, the speed of the onset (from a natural swell to a near-instant leap) and the type of feedback. “Sub” booms with thunderous lows, while “natural low” and “natural high” produce random and authentic feedback sounds. Perhaps most interesting are the numbered settings, which refer to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th degrees of the harmonic series. These setting will reliably produce (in order) a unison, an octave above, a fifth above that and a major third two octaves up - essentially like the harmonics found on the 12th, 7th, and 4th/9th frets. Combined with a quick onset time, this can offer the creative guitarist some really cool melodic possibilities!
I can’t quite get over how mush fun this pedal is! It’s so much more than just an entertaining novelty though - it’s a potent and authentic sounding creative tool. At the time of writing, there’s nothing else on the market that even comes close to doing the things this pedal can do. I need one of these in my life, and so do you!
Natural Feedback at any level with or without distortion
Onset Delay and Level balance controls
7 Harmonic Feedback types