Nothing says rock and roll like feedback. Although the noise is often unintended at high school talent shows, bar mitzvahs and weddings, when wielded properly, it can add a dramatic effect to guitar solos, putting your audience in a trance and causing their minds to be blown. The problem with feedback is that it can be difficult to use in its most desirable fashion in performance settings. It seems like you either don’t want it but can’t avoid it, or are trying to get it but are unable to due to stage layout constraints. Fortunately for you, DigiTech has created the FreqOut, a natural feedback creator housed conveniently in a stompbox for your rocking pleasure.
The pedal is housed in a solid metal enclosure that could double as a weapon of self-defense. Two concentric knobs control Gain and Onset. Gain is what you’d expect, while Onset determines when the feedback enters into your signal. For more natural sounding feedback, turn the knob clockwise. To get feedback faster, or imitate EBow sounds (more on that later), turn the knob counter-clockwise. The second knob selects the type of feedback, and you can choose from Sub, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, Natural Low, and Natural High. Two toggle switches control additional functionality: one determines whether the footswitch operates in Momentary or Bypass mode, and the other determines whether or not you have a dry signal. The nine-volt jack says 300 milliamps are required, so you’ll want to use one of the higher current outputs on your power supply for the FreqOut if you have such a device.
Lots of Freqy Fun
To start things off, I dialed in a classic feedback sound using the Natural High setting. With the dry signal on and the footswitch in Momentary mode, and the Onset knob set for a naturally occurring feedback, chords rang out in dramatic fashion with the simple click of the soft switch. I turned my amp up very loud, and then dialed it back to a whisper—the feedback happens no matter what volume you play at. Curious to see how it would compare to my EBow, I turned the dry signal off, dialed the Onset knob back to produce feedback immediately, turned the momentary function off, and used the 5th setting. I’m pleased to say the FreqOut can get pretty close to the real thing, but it can also make sounds that are a lot weirder, reminiscent of a ‘50s sci-fi B-movie, especially when adding the dry signal back in with the aforementioned settings. I found the FreqOut worked best running after dirt pedals, but you may feel differently, so be sure to experiment with pedal order. There are a lot of sounds, both conventional and wacky, to be found within the FreqOut, so be sure to spend some time with the pedal to get the most out of it for your style.
DigiTech has been killing it lately, and this pedal is no exception. The company has found a way to manipulate and create feedback in a way that is useful and musical. You may shrug when you see it, but once you play it, you’ll want it on your board forever. It’s the type of pedal that can quickly become a crutch, so you’ll have to force yourself to turn it off. Above all, it’s inspiring, and it makes you approach playing differently than you would without it. For a good time, call 1-800-Freq-Out—this thing is a blast!
What We Like: The ability to generate useful, musical feedback with ease. Can mimic an EBow on certain settings. Latch and Unlatch settings are equally useful.
Concerns: Certain settings can run away from you if you’re not careful, so you’ll need to spend time with the pedal to figure out what’s right for you.