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Electro-Harmonix Freeze Sound Retainer Compression Guitar Effects Pedal
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- Real-time sample capture with perfect loopingLatch mode for infinite sustain at the touch of a momentary switch
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From the manufacturer
Freeze Sound Retainer
Capture a frozen moment and turn it into a tonally unique sonic foundation. The Freeze Sound Retainer delivers infinite sustain of any note or chord at the press of a momentary footswitch. Release the footswitch and you are again sample ready. Three selectable decay rates, including a latch mode, guarantee liquid, smooth tonal transitions. Hook the Freeze up with your favorite pedals for a sonic collage that will be unlike anything you have ever heard. It’s like adding an extra musician to the band.
Selects between one of three effect modes: FAST, SLOW, and LATCH. See the MODE DESCRIPTIONS section for more detail.
EFFECT LEVEL KNOB
Controls the volume of the sustained sound. The output always contains the dry signal at its original volume
Want to wow the crowd and freak 'em out with your otherworldly guitar sounds? Then you need the Freeze pedal from Electro-Harmonix! Check it out: you can pluck a note or strum a chord, stomp the Freeze pedal, and hold a smooth-sounding, sustaining sample of that sound for as long as you want! Go with a long or short decay, or use the Latch setting to hold that sucker forever. Freeze is perfect for all kinds of styles; you can blend in the effect just the way you want it and go from tasteful self-accompaniment to over-the-top sustaining madness. It works well with other pedals too!
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If you're looking to have some fun and come up with some unique sounds, this is a pedal I'd start with. You can get some really emotive effects going on with this pedal. Maybe you want to sound rich and full, like a wall of sound, or maybe eerie or bleak, like you could accomplish with an organ. Or maybe you can get some trippy-spacey effects going. You'll never get bored. I don't know what else to say - get yourself one.
And if you're a real solo-artist/mad scientist, I can imagine having a full sound workshop with this pedal, a looper, a volume pedal, a wah pedal, some distortion, and maybe a couple of the standards like phaser, rotary, delay, etc. You'll be so cool, you won't even need a beard or plastic frame glasses.
The way I use it is a mix of how pianists use their sustain pedal and rock guitarists use feedback for infinite sustain on certain notes. While playing lead, I leave it in latch mode and freeze a note within my improvised line, changing it constantly (or not) as my ear dictates. If I want to play it safe and tension-free, I might hit the tonic note of the chord as I pass through it on a scale or riff. Or the third or fifth. If I want more color or tension, I'll hit other notes instead. For extreme tension, I'll freeze a half-note away from whatever note I intend to treat as “home” for the next few moments. On a slow run I might freeze every single note, one after the next. When I'm in the zone, I don't think about what note I'm freezing, relying on my muse to pick it for me.
Changing the frozen note this often allows me to color my leads with a drone from any note in the scale. When it changes that often, a casual listener can’t even tell there is a drone, but of course it affects how everything else sounds. The result often resembles feedback sustain but with incredible flexibility on which note is chosen – plus you get to keep playing over it at the same time. Other times it sounds like a bagpipe drone.
Like all unusual pedals, Freeze inspires me to explore music in different ways. For example, it helps me focus on how each note sounds over each chord and relative to other notes. It’s also inspiring me to simulate the freeze effect manually by anchoring notes with my fretting hand -- or via float notes on open strings -- as I improvise around them. That will keep me busy for a few years right there…
A few tips: You can set the volume of the frozen note independent of your live guitar. While practicing I might turn it louder than my guitar to hear what is happening more clearly; while actually playing I usually dial it way back for a more subtle effect. But sometimes I crank it for an extreme sustain-soaked sound. For louder sustain, I freeze right as my pick strikes the note; for quieter sustain, I wait a moment after striking. To turn off the effect without needing to double-click with my foot – for example, to kill a drone that doesn't sound good -- I just freeze the silence in between notes.
The only problem, as others have noted, is the insanely loud clicking of the switch. I play acoustic guitar through a pedalboard, so it’s extremely noticeable to me. I am deliberating between two solutions for this:
1. Purchase an quiet & durable arcade button here on Amazon to modify it, per this guy’s suggestion:
2. Pay JHS Pedals $50 to add a footswitch jack and trigger it via a remote. I will probably go this route since I hit the switch so often. Much easier to replace a worn-out momentary switch than the entire device:
other pedal I own is a Keeley 4 Knob compressor as well, which is a pretty straight forward
pedal to use.
That said, the Freeze [Nano sized] has quite a learning curve (for me) and is somewhat
limited in what it does. I knew that going in, but was intrigued by the sustain claims. Yes,
it will sustain forever, if you want it to do so. The learning curve is in the timing it takes to
Click-IN the effect.
It has 3 selectable decay rates, includes a latch mode, and can achieve smooth transitions.
That is another part of the learning curve.
I can see it being used for intros where one hits a chord or note, sustains it, and then play
a riff, chord or lead over the sustained sound. Then maybe using it again during a break, or
middle eight section, or maybe at the end of the piece.
I do not, for my application, so far, see it being used on every song I play. Possibly a very
creative guitar player could utilize this pedal far better and more than I. Seek out videos on
the web for some demonstrations. Well worth the effort.
I gave it 4 stars based on the learning curve it takes to use and the price. It is solidly built
and can only be used with the provided AC/DC adapter; no option for batteries. The bundle
I purchased comes with two 18.6-foot guitar cables and two 6-inch connectors. Don't
expect top of the line cables but they do work.
I would recommend this pedal but go into it with eyes open and you won't be disappointed.
It does one thing and it does it very well. Have fun!
Note: I am also able to use the AC/DC adapter (9VDC Neg-tip) with the Keeley pedal. It
appears it can also be used with Boss and Ibanez pedals.
This is NOT a looper, it simply holds the audio signal present the instant you press the button. I like to play chords with heavy reverb and light delay, and tap the button immediately after I strum the guitar. The held chord will sound similar to an organ, and you can play some licks over it before switching to another chord. It takes some time to get used to synchronizing the taps and the strumming, but this is HIGHLY ADDICTING little device so you'll get the hang of it before you know it!
If you are really into ethereal, experimental music or are just getting bored of your pedalboard, this little guy might be worth checking out.