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Sound Quality

Contrary to the other review I say sound quality is excellent. First of all despite the name, the built in synth and the step sequencer, this unit is NOT A TB303 CLONE. It is a terrible 303 clone. The only way to program notes is through the sliders. Glide is not adjustables and there is No Decay and no envlope setting. This machine is not a synth, notice the name "Groove EFFECTS'. Now that I got that out of the way, effects is what this machine is all about. The EF-303 does everything that the VF100 Voice Transformer does. It makes Robot Voices and gender changing effect. however it is also one of the most versatile Vocoders available. You can plug in Microphone and Vocode voice or anything against the internal synthsizer, and that is where the internal synth really shine. Unlike some rack-mount vocoders you can step sequence the synth while vocoding, or you can use the 16 buttons as a keypad, the buttons light up in keypad mode to let you know which ones are black keys. Unfortunately the keypad cannot be used for step note entry. However you can play the internal synth via midi, but itf you have a midi irg you probably will us an external synth and the 303 will happilly mix an mush any two sounds through its input. Since the Boss Voice Transformer costs about $250 but doesn't have midi or the ability to step sequence parameter changes I thing the EF-303 is worth about $400 right there. But it doesn't stop, it's got a Low Pass Filter algorythm that is awesome, AND NO IT DOES NOT STEP. The filter algorythm is smoooooth! and it self-oscillate like a beast master. And of course you can step sequence Cutoff or Resonance. In addition, you can set it to a 3 way band pass, allowing only Hi, Mid , or Low to get through. Once the appropriate frequencies get through you can then low-pass them. This is great for playing a record through it and applying the filter to just the Hi-Hats or just the snares, and leaving the kick untouched with the insane amount of resonance you will surely apply. Next up Slicer. Step Sequenced gating. As I'm wirting this write now I'm listen to some Internet radio station on Itunes and then running the techno through the Slicer (which can simultaneously Pan) It sounds great. Tap you finger allong to the beat and the EF303 handles all your syncing. You just throw the sliders in any old position, and the 303 loves you back. Next, the Isolator, this is just a 3 band EQ that can go all the way to kill on each of the three bands. However it is a very nice sounding EQ and ofcourse you can step-sequence all three band or an combination at the same time. You can switch back and forth from one band to the next seemlessly. Next there's RingMod, Phaser, Flanger, all really good Roland quality, and of course syncable. The Reverb is a nice Reverb but, lets face it if your into sonic manipulation at the level of which you probably are if your looking at this machine then you probably have a decent Reverb machine. I think I'll stick to my DP/4 and Sony HR-MP5, and TC Native reverbs. However the step modulation might be interesting for drum loops. Not sure yet. LoFi - I don't understand the concept of the LoFi effect, it's basicaly just bit reduction. I didn't notice any stepping in te LoFi algorythm, but I think I would still do bit reduction on the Mac with any old editor. Pitch+Delay - Boss sells the Pitch Shifting Delay for 150. This machiine gives is midi control and sequencer while still maintining the intuitive 3 knob interface. This is truly an effect for spacemen. Syn Rythm - DAMN this thing IS A DRUM MACHINE. Well not exactly. There are 4 kits in the machine with kit, snare, open hi, closed hi. You can use the sliders to create rythms, but only one note polyphony. This is really just usefull for making some quick hi hat patterns, but since you can sequence the volume at each step you can quickly and intuitive come up wilh some great hi hat that


It's metall and the knobs seem pretty decent. But I've only had it a week.


General Comments

There isn't anything like it, except maybe the korg Kaoss Pad or the Alesis spaceman thing, but there is no other dedicated Step effect processor with LowPass filter, Vocoding, Voice Transforming, and Slicing.

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