In the world of multi-FX processors, you have to really look high and low to find the ones that are worth buying. Electro Harmonix’s “Holy Stain” pedal is a multi-FX processor, and is a quality one at that.
When it comes to multi-FX processors, a few things probably come into the minds of several guitarist. “It’s too confusing! Too many buttons, and the manual is no help! It sounds poor, and unreliable!”.
Not the Holy Stain. Six knobs, two buttons, and runs only off of a 9V adapter (included), makes this pedal very simple, and versatile.
From left to right, the knobs are in the fallowing order: MIX – AMOUNT – VOLUME – TONE – COLOR – DIRT. Lets break them down, to explain what each one does.
MIX – is the volume of the effect.
AMOUNT – is the amount of the effect (like the feedback on a delay pedal. The amount.)
VOLUME – sets the overall volume for the pedal, when engaged.
TONE – Plain and simple. The tone of when the pedal is engaged.
COLOR – There are three types of color to give your tone. Bright, Dark, and Warm. I personally keep mine on Warm, but switch things up occasionally.
DIRT – Yes, this multi-FX has distortions in it as well! Not to add another stereo type to the multi-FX name, but this pedal has three different types of “dirt” on board. Clean, Fuzz, and Drive. Now I’m not to big on the distortions, but we’ll get to those in a little while.
Moving on to sound quality, the “Holy Stain” is a small, compact power house of great FX. No cheesy, bad, lame effects will be found here. The four effects being “Room Reverb, Hall Reverb, Pitch Shifter, Tremolo”, they are all useful, and sound great.
Focusing on the “Room Reverb” effect, I don’t really use this one too often. I prefer the big sound of the “Hall Reverb”, but for what it’s worth (and keeping in mind the settings this pedal lives in), it is a nice reverb. Natural sounding and authentic.
The “Hall Reverb” is my second favorite effect in this pedal, but I use it the most. It, mixed with my Boss DD-3, is the back bone to my rig’s tone. I won’t give away my sweet settings, but I will say this is one of the best reverbs I have heard, and I love it. I would buy this pedal, for the reverb alone (so the holy grail, from EHX!).
The “Pitch Shifter” is a cool effect, and is the reason this pedal features an out put for an expression pedal, to use as a whammy on a budget. I don’t use this effect for that, I use it to make a harmonizing sound, and make for some sick leads! This is for sure, the coolest effect in the pedal, and my personal favorite! This almost makes the pedal!
The “Tremolo” is a bit odd, but in a good way. It sounds almost like there is some kind of flange, when on the right setting. I don’t use this a whole lot, but when I do it comes in handy. From the most suddle trem, to the most intense and obvious trem, it works great personally (being an instrumental guitarist).
Now I will admit this pedal isn’t perfect. But when I started running it in the FX loop of my amp head, it was so much better. The distortion of the amp messed with the effects and drowned them out and made them sound nasty. But in the FX loop, it became a beast! I can say I found the secret to the “Holy Stain”!
After that, we have the “dirt” section to look at. In front if the amp, the distortions are unlike any other multi-FX systems. Their usable! In the FX loop, at least in my amp, forget it. It sends the signal sky high, and squeals. If I need the “dirt”, I will use it in front of the amp (I REALLY liked the fuzz more the the drive!).
(Check out the the video below, to hear this pedal in action)
With all of that being said, that wraps up this review, and is the many reasons, why the Electro Harmonix “Holy Stain” is one pedal, you not only need to check out, but need to have on your board!
I’m Lee Chavez, and thanks for reading this review, and keep visiting and spreading the word of Effects Bay (they rock!)
You can pick up the Electro-Harmonix XO Holy Stain Guitar Multi Effects Pedal for $118.50 at Musician’s Friend.