Review:GTC Sound Innovations Revpad

(Image credit: GTC Sound Innovations)


Although the very first XY pad controllers introduced more than 20 years ago were built into keyboard synthesizers and subsequent XY pads were designed for DJs and EDM artists, the XY pad is really most ideally suited for guitars. A few visionary players like Matthew Bellamy of Muse realized this and went to great trouble, effort and expense to build custom guitars with XY pads built into them.

In the last few years, a handful of affordable production guitars with built-in XY pads hit the market, but given a choice most players would prefer the option of using their personal favorite guitar than an off-the-shelf alternative.

The Revpad from GTC Sound Innovations is the perfect solution for guitarists who want to explore the incredible expressive capabilities of using an XY pad to control effects without sacrificing the comfort and familiarity of their main guitars.

The GTC Revpad is a system consisting of the compact Revpad Touchpad wireless XY pad controller, which mounts on any guitar and features rechargeable batteries, and the Revpad base unit, which functions as a wireless receiver for the Touchpad, floor-mounted effects processor, and foot controller. The Touchpad features a 1 x 1 3/4–inch XY pad, three assignable control buttons, on/off switch and mini USB port for charging the Touchpad, updating firmware or “wired” operation.

The base unit provides four footswitches for selecting or bypassing effect banks and presets (the unit stores up to 200 presets), a navigation wheel configured similar to an iPod jog wheel, individual buttons for saving presets, accessing system parameters and assigning X Y controller parameters.

The base unit’s back panel features a guitar/line input level switch, mono 1/4-inch audio input, effects loop send and return jacks, MIDI In and Out/Thru jacks, 1/4-inch left and right (stereo) audio output jacks, amp/line output level switch, a mini USB jack for the Touchpad and a standard USB jack for connection to a computer.

The Revpad base unit is a sophisticated multi-effects processor that provides a comprehensive range of standard guitar effects (overdrive, distortion, compressor, chorus, phaser, flanger, tremolo, delay, reverb, pitch, and more) as well as unconventional effects that take full advantage of the Touchpad’s expressive capabilities, including EZ-Tap, EZ-Arp (arpeggiator), dynamic kill switch, symphony, techno wah and bomb. The Revpad can even be programmed to control MIDI effect processors or VST effects via the Touchpad.

Installing the Touchpad controller on a guitar couldn’t be easier. It affixes to the top or pickguard with two stickers with a firm adhesive that won’t damage the guitar’s finish. Hook and loop material allows users to remove the Touchpad when recharging batteries. The Touchpad can be installed anywhere that it fits, but most players will opt to install it just below the high E string where the picking hand’s free fingers can easily reach the XY pad and controller buttons.

The base unit can be powered by the included nine-volt adapter or a pedalboard’s power supply. Using the Revpad is also easy and intuitive. The wireless connection links quickly and remained strong and solid for hours without interruption. Once connected it’s easy to get lost for hours in the Revpad’s highly expressive capabilities. Each preset can store up to eight different effects and eight parameters per effect that can be controlled simultaneously, so it can generate some seriously trippy sounds, such as morphing from compressed chorus clean to blazing distortion that twists out of shape with increasing levels of flanging, delay and reverb.

Some of the wildest effects are synth-like, but even if you are a more conservative-minded player it’s hard not to be impressed even by the simplest setups that let players control two parameters at once or perform fades with a stroke of a finger.

LIST PRICE: $1,099
MANUFACTURER: GTC Sound Innovations,

• The Revpad Touchpad controller affixes to any guitar and communicates with the Revpad base unit via a reliable wireless connection.

• The Revpad base unit provides an impressive variety of traditional guitar effects as well as custom effects well suited to control via the Touchpad’s XY surface.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Instead of forcing you to use a specific guitar or make complicated, evasive modifications to a favorite instrument, the Revpad allows guitarists to take advantage of the incredibly expressive creative capabilities of an XY pad controller with any guitar.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.