31 July 2010
First off, let me start by saying I am a gear nut, and I have been playing guitar for almost 23 years. I am a total shoegazer and effects freak, but I am not a technician. I like what sounds good to my ear, so do not be expecting a "techy" lingo fest, or schematic diagrams of the reviewed item(s). I will be regularly reviewing some killer shoegaze/dream pop gear for When The Sun Hits, and hopefully we will all learn something.
The EX7 is a multi-effects processor made by the mad scientists at Digitech. I have owned many pieces of Digitech gear over the years and I must say I am happiest with this. As far as being user-friendly, this thing can be used by ANYONE! I decided to purchase this pedal because it is virtually impossible to find the "Space Station" pedal (very sought after by shoegazers) for under $500 dollars, and this has the best sounds (and then some!) from that notorious piece of gear, and it costs under $200.
Here are the sounds it contains: the Dunlop Cry Baby Wah, Vox Clyde McCoy Wah, DigiTech XP300 Space Station, DigiTech Whammy, Unicord Univibe, Leslie 145 Rotary Speaker, and the A/DA Flanger. That's not to mention the seven (count 'em, SEVEN!) distortion pedal/amp/cab configurations! They are as follows: the Ibanez TS9 through a Fender 1965 Deluxe Reverb 1x12, the DOD 250 through a Marshall 4 x12, the Boss DS-1 through a Johnson Amplification 4 x12, the Pro Co Rat through a Fender Bassman 2x12, the Boss Metal Zone through a Johnson 4x12, the DigiTech Metal Master through a VHT Amplification 4x12, and the EH Big Muff pi through a Marshall 4x12 with 25 watt Celestions. This thing gets as close to the sounds as you can find without spending thousands of dollars. Each pedal model has 6 controls - 3 expression effect controls plus 3 distortion controls. Flexible output mode and separate amp and CIT (cab modeling) mixer outputs that feed your stage rig and PA system. Rugged cast-metal treadle and chassis. It also includes a power supply.
I am telling you here and now, the Digitech EX7 Expression Factory is a monster! Not only does it do what it says, it doesn't affect the overall tone of your rig! That, to me, says it all. I was worried it would be a "tone sucker", but it is not. I have not used it to record with (yet, that is), but I have used it to play out and it sounds immaculate. It's like instant Slowdive/Cocteau Twins in a box! It is very rugged and solidly built. It is of metal construction and has rubber pads to keep it in place while in use. I have had no issues with the overall construction, and it is no bigger than a standard wah-wah, so it fits in most pedal boards with ease.
To activate the expression effects you click it forward like a standard wah pedal,to activate the distortion effects you click the heal down position. It's really easy to activate, so you must be careful when playing live not to engage the distortion while using it in the other mode. The only other thing I can find that I do not like is the expression pedal itself has a very tight ratio of movement - it is not forgiving. You have to learn to use it, it's not like a crybaby or volume pedal, it is very "fast". I also wish they would have included the FS3X Foot Controller, which will allow you to change effects in real time, but it can be purchased for a mere $30-40 dollars more.
Overall I am very, very satisfied. I am going to give it 4 out of 5 stars. Only 4 because they could have included the extra pedal, and it's fast movement is a little tricky. Nevertheless, it's an amazing piece of user friendly gear!
Review by: Danny