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Electro Harmonix Switchblade Pro


SumOne
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Electro Harmonix Switchblade Pro https://www.ehx.com/products/switchblade-pro/ 

 

Lots is possible with this £100 pedal. I've done an old fashioned written review rather than video but I think this is a pedal where you can get away with that as it doesn't produce sounds of it's own as such - it opens up possibilities for how you order and blend your clean signal and pedals and that means lots of potential for new sounds (depending on your selection of other pedals of course).

Features:

  • Change order of pedals in series e.g. Chorus before fuzz - click a switch to have or chorus after fuzz. And can also add mix of clean dry signal.
  • Place pedals in series or parallel e.g. envelope filter running series into distortion - switch to have envelope filter and distortion playing in parallel, can also add mix of clean dry signal - it's like having three instruments playing at once. (can also potentially mix signals from three instruments together and control the volume of each and run them into one amp, or could route one instrument output into two separate amps.)
  • Volume/mix: Mix clean signal with pedals, and/or mix pedals in Loop A with Loop B  e.g. add clean to a fuzz that doesn't have a clean blend.  Or just use it for volume control e.g. some pedals like chorus and phasers don't have volume controls - can adjust that and mix with clean signal. Can also just boost clean signal upto 6dB of clean gain. 
  • Loop switching: Can have multiple pedals in both loops engaged/disengaged with one click of a footswitch - no frantically trying to engage/disengage multiple pedals quickly for a few bars of a tune that need more than one pedal turned on/off at the same time.  
  • Bypass pedals when they're not in use - reducing tone suck from certain pedals and lots of cables. (And it seems transparent- no noticeable changes to tone).
  • Well built, grips onto cables like a vice, soft switching, comes with power supply, reasonably priced. 

Alternatives:

  • Bright Onion Dual Reverse looper: Simpler and cheaper and works well but doesn't have as many features- just 2x loops on/off and their reverse order, I have bought the Switchblade Pro as it's upgrade.
  • Old blood noise signal blender: Doesn't have as many features, only parallel, no order switching and I found the clean channel coloured the sound.
  • Helix FX: I didn't find adjusting the 2x external FX loops to be intuitive or good to do one-the-go  (you have to go into menus and signal path re-ordering and save different presets for the different loop orders and adjust parallel/series/volumes etc. then you'd need to know what that preset represents and have one for each eventuality such as loop A in parallel with loop B and 25% dry blend etc....not very hands on or intuitive for quick changes or being able to see in live settings).
  • Boss LS2: Doesn't have as many features or the signal re-ordering, and, I haven't tried these pedals but as far as I know the Boss ES 5 & 8 can do the loop re-ordering (not sure about control over volume for clean and each loop though) but they're big and expensive and need menu diving and saving presets for all of the potential eventualities so doesn't seem as hands on and interactive or quickly visually obvious about what's going on as with the Switchblade Pro.

Issues:

  • Potential for switching confusion: The Switchblade Pro can do a lot so it can get confusing - this could be trouble in a live setting if you don't  know the pedal switching controls and and how your loops interact (e.g. In series mode is green/red light above the A/B switch representing loop A or loop B first, and which volume controls each loop? Why is the dry signal still being mixed with pedals in Loop A when dry control is set at at zero? (that was because it was set to parallel mode with A+B switch engaged but with no Loop B pedals active - this is a useful instant footswitch control of clean blend on/off, but something to look out for when that's not what you're after)).....with great opportunities comes great responsibility! There are opportunities for mucking up your sound with a mis-placed footswitch click or parallel/series toggle in the wrong position if you aren't careful. I've added stickers to make things it a bit more obvious. 
  • More variety of lights could reduce potential for confusion:  A few different LED colours would be helpful when quickly glancing down - rather than what it is with 3x red with one that turns to green depending on the order of A/B being selected, perhaps the bypass as a different two colour LED that also indicates if it's on as series/parallel, or perhaps lights under each volume control when that loop is activated. Or at a minimum just something that more obviously links the green/red of A/B to their corresponding volume controls like I've done with stickers or the old blood noise signal blender does with it's graphics. And I'll be getting out the tipex or for the volume controls -  the thin dull white lines aren't obvious enough.
  • Perhaps it could do with phase switches for certain pedal combinations - I haven't ran into any issues though.

Overall:

  • 9/10.  Only loses a mark because it could be confusing if you don't learn it's various ways of switching and how they interact with the many potential various pedal combinations in your loops - there are lots of potential combinations (which is a good thing) so you need to know how to control them and what works and what doesn't. Perhaps some small design changes could reduce the potential for confusion.  It's a bit of a game changer if you spend time to learn how everything works and interacts with your pedal combinations -  it opens up lots of new sound options. Highly recommended.

 

 

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Edited by SumOne
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