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Electro-Harmonix recreates lo-fi videogame sounds with the Mainframe bit-crusher

For all its insane creations, Electro-Harmonix has been lacking perhaps an example of the zaniest effects type of all, the bit-crusher, in its line-up. That’s set to change, however, with the launch of the Mainframe.

The Mainframe gets you cult sounds from arcade and videogames, using sample rate reduction ranging from 48kHz to 110Hz, and bit depth reduction that spans 24-bit to 1-bit.

Those bit-crushing artifacts can be further adjusted via a high/low/band-pass filter, while a cunning Sample Rate Tuning Mode sets the sample rate to the pitch of a note played on guitar. It will then track your playing and adjust the sample rate accordingly.

Electro-Harmonix Mainframe

(Image credit: Electro-Harmonix)

There are also secondary controls for input gain, filter strength and styles of sample rate and bit depth reduction, which can yield altogether fuzzier tones.

Other features include programmable preset or expression pedal setting, allowing you to save your sound or control the Mainframe’s knobs with an external expression pedal.

The Mainframe is available now for $179, include a 9V power supply. See EHX for more info.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.