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Electro-Harmonix Super Switcher Programmable Effects Hub

Could this be your multieffect preset world answer?

 

by Chris Loeffler

 

 

 

 

Multieffects are best. You can route effects and turn on as many as you want at the same time; essential for live performance or cover bands where you want to nail the original sound. Individual effects are best because they put all the control at your fingers and toes and YOU get to pick the specific overdrive or delay circuit you want. OK… both have strengths and weaknesses.

 

Electro-Harmonix looks to solve one side (the individual pedal side) by bringing the functionality and convenience of the multieffect preset world to whatever pedal board you are using. The Electro-Harmonix Super Switcher is a MIDI-based, 8 channel effects loop and switcher with 128 presets, 16 banks, global MIDI control, optional input buffering, output boost, and more. The Electro-Harmonix runs on an included 9v power supply drawing 150ma.

 

What You Need to Know

 

The Electro-Harmonix Super Switcher brings the convenience of MIDI rack systems to the pedal board, combining the customization and WYSIWYG controls of a pedal board with the presets, routing, and syncing of the MIDI world. The Electro-Harmonix Super Switcher features a mono input, six mono effects loops, two stereo effects loops, and insert loop between the mono and stereo channels and stereo outputs.

 

The six mono loops are run in series from first to last, while the first stereo loop has a mono input to stereo output into the second stereo loop, which has stereo ins and outs. Both stereo loops can be used in mono through the left send jack. There is a tuner output that constantly feeds a tuner signal with the ability to mute the output signal to your amp entirely for silent tuning.

 

At its simplest, the Super Switcher allows users to turn off individual effects one-at-a-time with dedicated footswitches and LED indicators for loops 1-8, just like they would with the actual pedals, while reducing signal degradation due to large cable runs and the negative effects of bad buffers. The LED indicators give quick visual reference as to what is on at a given time. The CTRL 1 footswitch can be set to a Master Bypass, meaning everything in effects loops 1-8 are disengaged, although whatever is in the insert loop between loop 6 and 7 will remain in the signal path.

 

Preset mode, however, is the reason most people will want a Super Switcher. In this mode, the eight footswitches dedicated to individual loops now become presets, where you can assign any combination of the effects loops to activate in a single stomp, meaning you can turn on (or off) multiple pedals at the same time. In practice, this means being able to jump from having a clean tone with chorus and reverb to a heavily distorted tone with an EQ pedal and delay instantaneously. There are 16 banks with eight presets each for a total of 128 pedal combinations available on the fly. Assuming you used four different settings in each song (which seems like a lot!) you’d have two songs per bank, or 16 songs in total without every using the same signal path.

 

Instant Access mode combines the above two scenarios to allow users to start with a preset combination of loops and then manually add or remove individual pieces on the fly. An example of this use would be in wanting to kick the gain off without making changes to modulation or time-based delays.

 

Saving presets is as easy as holding down the appropriate preset channel footswitch for a couple of seconds, and all presets and banks are accessible without needing to bend over or menu dive.

 

The Electro-Harmonix Super Switcher includes a stereo clean boost signal at the end of loop 8 to beef up the signal hitting an amp without changing your tone. Additionally, there is a buffer at the front end that can be activated to retain your signal at the front end.

 

Based on previous MIDI products reviewed, you either get it or you don’t, so I’ll leave it at if you know and use MIDI, you’ve got it. Whether having the Super Switcher be controlled by another MIDI device (if you’re a rack/pedalboard hybrid guy) or you want to use it to control the tempo of MIDI effects in the chain, you’re covered.

 

Limitations

 

Despite all the flexibility of the Super Switcher, the effects order can’t be changed, only what’s in the signal or not.

 

Conclusion

 

Many live performers want presets so they can instantly access the next tone they’re looking for without a bunch of tap dancing. Just as many people prefer individual effects they can turn on or off at a whim or be able to bend down and tweak knobs. The Super Switcher gives you access to both worlds without the need of adding additional MIDI equipment. Whether the intention is to remove the negative effects of vintage buffers or single-stomp tone swaps, it achieves the goal without introducing noise or complexity. While the three-pedal person may be challenged to justify the spend, if you’ve found your effects pedals have gone to a second (or third) row it is an investment worth considering. -HC-

 

Resources

 

Electro-Harmonix Super Switcher Product Page

 

Buy Electro-Harmonix Super Switcher at Sweetwater.com (MSRP $530.70, Street $399.00)

 

____________________________________________ 

 

Chris 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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