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    Earthquaker Devices Swiss Things Pedalboard Reconciler

    By Chris Loeffler |

    Earthquaker Devices Swiss Things Pedalboard Reconciler 

     Will you be able to reconcile another pedal purchase?

     

    by Chris Loffler

     

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    How much would you pay for convenience? How about flexibility? Performance? The Earthquaker Devices Swiss Things aims to provide all three to those with more pedals on their board than fingers on one hand as a multifunctional AB-Y box, tuner isolator, clean boost with expression pedal control, dual effect loops, and buffer.

     

    The Swiss Things features input, loop one in/out, loops two in/out, and stereo outputs as well as a tuner out and expression pedal jack. A single knobs controls the Boost, a button controls phase inversion, and there are footwsitches for Loop 1, Loop 2, Boost, A/B, and Both outputs. Swiss Things runs on a standard, center-negative 9v power supply.

     

    What You Need to Know

     

    There’s a lot of signal routing to unpack with Earthquaker Devices’ Swiss Thing, but it’s simpler than you think, and nothing you need to learn if you’ve juggled a pedalboard before.

     

    The Swiss Things features a mono input that accepts the instrument. From there, the signal is routed to two channels, Effects Loop 1 (or the audio signal going to your amp) and a Tuner out. This immediately removes the tuner from the audio signal chain to avoid tone loss. The Effects Loop 1 is unbuffered to accommodate Wah, Fuzz, Compression, and general dirt, and the entire loop can be bypassed via footswitch. This means one could prepare multiple gain stages and have them activated with the stomp of a footswitch. For road warriors, it’s also a quick way to kill feedback if things go wonky. The lack of a buffer means the effects get as close to interaction with the pickups or your guitar as possible and improves the dynamics and response of the effects.

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    The audio signal then passes through a buffer that activates the signal to a consistent, always-on level that kills signal loss but breaks the direct connection to the pickup magnets. This stage also introduced the Volume Out expression pedal jack and gives players the option to use an approved expression pedal to manage the post-Loop 1 output volume without introducing additional circuitry or tone-suck to the signal. This feature earns the highest praise a volume pedal can get, in that it is entirely transparent and has no perceived impact on tone.

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    The signal then passes to Effects Loop 2; a channel intended for modulation, delay, and reverb effects that don’t require interaction with the pickups. In practice, this is effectively a reset in the signal chain but with a constant, active signal. Even with five or six pedals in the second loop, the high-end retention was obvious. The ability to turn on modulation, delay, and reverb at the same time made for rack-like levels of presets, with the ability to still tweak on the fly in real-time.

     

    After this, there is the Boost circuit, with is as neutral and clean as I’ve heard, that can be activated via footswitch. What’s true for me is I believe most players already have boost pedals if they are going to use them, but I immediately saw the benefit in how the boost could be a nudge in a live situation if you’re looking for more volume without upsetting the applecart of your individual pedal settings.

     

    From there, the audio signal hits one more buffer (super signal?) before splitting into Output A and hitting a transformer and phase shift to Output B. The Swiss Things allows for A, B, or Both outputs, giving a lot of flexibility to those with dual amp setups. It is worth noting that true stereo effects need to be run after the Swiss Things to be used in stereo, as the signal retains a mono status throughout the pedal.

     

    The elegance is in how it all comes together in a single package.

     

    Limitations

     

    Stereo effects need to be placed after Swiss Things, somewhat reducing the ability to turn on Channel B and activate multiple effects with a single stomp.

     

    Conclusion

     

    Swiss Things combines two true-bypass Flexi-Switch™ enabled effects loops, a Flexi-Switch™ AB-Y box with transformer isolation between outputs, a buffered tuner output, 20dB of clean boost with adjustable gain, an expression pedal output for volume control and a quiet, high headroom output buffer into a compact pedalboard-friendly signal routing junction box that lives at the top-right corner of your pedalboard and really ties your rig together without any signal loss. That’s a copy and paste from the manufacturer, because it’s what’s true. Whether you’re looking to reduce tone-suck, engage multiple independent effects at once, use multiple amps, or have a true no-loss volume pedal, the Swiss Things addresses it. It’s a rare pedal that I can say will make you sound better without changing a thing.

     

     Resources

     

    Earthquaker Devices Swiss Things Product Page

     

    Buy Earthquaker Devices Swiss Things at Amazon.com ($249.99)

     

     

     

     

     

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    rszchrisphoto-21e10e14.jpg.c5eaa8558d5c0431181f560ff56330f3.jpgChris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer. 

     

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