If you consider yourself a staunch traditionalist, play only the blues or neoclassical shred, and think The Edge’s playing sounds weird, turn the page now. On the other hand, if Radiohead, Sonic Youth and David Torn are on your iPod’s playlist, read on. The Electro-Harmonix Superego is a category-defying effect pedal that falls into a foggy region between reverb, sustainer and synth engine and generates some of the most mysterious and ethereal textures ever to emanate from a guitar. Offering simple but powerful controls and an effect loop, the Superego delivers a seemingly endless variety of textures, keyboard-like tones and soundscapes that will inspire adventurous players for a lifetime.
Basically, the Superego samples a brief snippet of sound and “freezes” it. Once it’s done this, you can sustain the sound infinitely, glide from one sound to another, or layer it with other sounds. How the Superego responds depends primarily on the mode selected: Latch, which provides infinite sustain; Momentary, in which the effect is active only when the pedal is down; and Auto, in which the Superego detects each new note or chord and sustains and decays it automatically.
While the Superego can create some impressively complex effects, it is exceptionally simple to use. It has controls for speed/layer, glissando, dry level and effect level, and a three-position mini switch for selecting modes. In addition to mono 1/4-inch input and output jacks, the Superego features effect-loop send and return jacks for expanding the Superego’s capabilities with additional stomp boxes or processors.
The Superego opens up an entirely new sonic territory, so the best way to use it is to dig in and experiment. With Latch mode, you can hold whatever sound is played at the moment the effect switch is engaged, then improvise over it with a dry signal. If you press down on the footswitch again, an additional sound is layered on top of the previous sound. The number of layers, from one to infinity, can be selected with the speed/layer control. In Momentary mode, the speed/layer control adjusts the attack and decay of the “frozen” sound. In Auto mode, each new note, chord or sound played automatically sustains and decays at the speed determined by the speed/layer knob, as long as you aren’t holding down the footswitch.
The Superego sounds great on its own, but it really becomes mind blowing when tremolo, delay, phasing, flanging, vibe, pitch shifting or combinations of effects are patched into the loop. The send jack can also function as an effect-only output, transforming the main output into a dry-only output when nothing is patched into the return jack.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Electro-Harmonix Superego provides a lifetime of inspiration, exploration and truly musical effects for guitarists who want to boldly expand the sonic capabilities of their instruments beyond traditional sounds.
LIST PRICE $283.60
MANUFACTURER Electro-Harmonix, ehx.com