As soon as you open The Electro Harmonix Superego+ (Plus) box, you can read:
“Your psychological thriller”.
The pedal delivers some very intriguing, lush and organic sounds, especially when it comes to pads, drones, infinite sustain and synth-ish sounds. And you can definitely come up with some thrilling ideas by playing with it.
The pedal comes in a light but well built metal case, and with its own 12V power supply. Electro Harmonix absolutely recommends that you use their own supply instead of one of those multi-powering devices for pedals.
The controls on the pedal are:
- Dry – controls the level or your pure (guitar or whatever) input signal
- Effect – controls the level of effected signal.
- Attack – controls how fast the effected fades in, so you can create swells
- Decay – controls how fast the effected signal decays after you step out of the “bypass” control
- Threshold – controls the threshold where the frozen/synthesized signal kicks in. This is critical to obtain clean sounds
- Layer – controls how much you want one frozen sound to layer on top of another, to create massive pads or ethereal ambiences
- Gliss – Similar to a Portamento control on a synth, regulates how fast the frozen sound transitions to pitch.. A great idea, but not always working correctly .. sometimes it creates a lot of artifacts
What sets the Superego+ apart from its predecessor (the Superego) and other similar pedals on the market, is the built-in effects section.
While primarily conceived to add modulations and expand the sonic possibilities of your frozen sounds, the effects section can also be used “standalone” to process your dry guitar/synth signal.
The available effects are:
- Echo Delay (tape delay style)
- Delay (digital delay style)
- Rotary speaker emulation
- Pitch Shifting
Each effect can be tweaked using the white Rate and Depth knobs.
Rate controls the speed of the effect while Depth controls the intensity.
Here are some settings to try, courtesy of EHX itself:
As usual, when it comes to reviewing gear, I try to use the new equipment as a musical instrument instead than going through all the features in detail: you can find plenty of reviews on YouTube for that.
Overall, I’m enthusiastic about this device. It really can help the musician explore sounds that go well beyond standard patterns and come up with entirely compositional ideas.
It inspired me to write new material from scratch, which was what I hoped for when I ordered the Superego.
The effects section is a huge, huge swiss knife and is worth the 269€ street price. It can bring your sounds from angelic and lush to crazy and psycho, to moving and dreaming.
Not all effects are great, but Filter, Pitch, Detune, Echo and Delay can definitely take you into untapped sonic territories. Terrific!
After a while using the pedal I noticed that it had some “tracking” problems. Every now and then the chords i strummed on the guitar came out “distorted” from the pedal, full of artifacts, as the pedal struggled to pick the signal up and sample it.
I figured out that using a compressor would help the pedal even the signal out of the guitar – and that was true: so my first advice is … use a compressor in front of the pedal for optimal results!
Some examples I suggest:
- Set “layer” at 12 o clock, “dry” at zero, “effect” at 12 o clock, threshold at 9, attack at 9 and decay at 12.
Then use the Echo effect and dial a fast echo with depth at 3 o clock.
Lush, layered, echoed drones!
- Use the Filter effect with a low Rate and Depth around 12 o clock to get some synthesiser-like sounds from your guitar
- Use the Delay effect with Dry and Effect at 12 o clock, a fast attack and fast decay to create super lush pads you can play delayed melody lines on top of
- Use the Pitch effect with Dry at 0 and Effect cranked. Then dial in the right pitch shifting effect with Rate and Depth … massive, massive synth pads!
Flanger and Phase effects are not my thing. I think they are too emphasized.
Tremolos are ok but not the best.
The pedal also features a dedicated send-return for connecting further effects and an Expression pedal in ..which I didn’t try but I’m sure can bring even more fun to the whole experience.
Another word of advice: On guitar, I found that complex chords are better tracked when plucked with your right hand fingers instead than using a pick. I don’t exactly know why. The compressor helps a lot but probably the pedal doesn’t really “like” pick noise or fast transients.
I fired up Logic Pro X (my DAW of choice), connected my self-built HSS Strat/Tele hybrid to the Friedman Dirty Shirley amp and recorded the direct guitar -> compressor -> pedal -> amp signal via the line out of the Rivera RockCrusher.
For cab simulation, i used some 2×12 Bogner cab fitted with Pre-Rola Celestion 75 Impulse Responses by OwnHammer.
I used only the Superego+ to create all sounds (except of course for bass and drums).
I particularly appreciated the fact that you can use the Superego+ as a pad/synth/infinite sustain device and as a standard effect stompbox.