The Electro-Harmonix Holy Stain is a multi-effect pedal that combines room and hall reverb with switchable fuzz and drive. Add pitch shifting, tremolo and tone control and you've got a wildly interactive multi-effect pedal that will inspire any guitar player to make their mark.
unregistered, on march 17, 2010 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: £ 60
Purchased from: eBay
Ease of Use: How easy is it to get a good sound out of it? This is a very relevant to this pedal as it is something of a victim of it's own ease of use.
Electro-Harmonix promote this pedal as their 'first multi-FX pedal' as the Holy Stain offers Hall Reverb, Room Reverb, Tremolo, Pitch Shift, Overdrive distortion and Fuzz in one compact box with 6 knobs and 2 footswitches.
The stripped back controls mean no fiddly menus and a clear layout, but this also cripples it in certain areas where a more expansive control system would have opened up the full potential of the sounds available.
Comes with a power supply as there is no battery option, which is not a bad thing considering the amount of time may find you need to fully explore and understand the options available.
Very hard to rate this section - I will base the score on my impression having owned it for a few months. // 5
Sound: My setup is not of importance as I am considering the pedal on its own, but I am using, at least, my Fender HR Deville 212 60W and a Fender Jazzmaster or other single coil guitar.
First the positives - it is very quiet when on, unless you are using the high gain settings which is to be expected. It is transparent when off which means it has very little intrusion to your tone.
It looks cool, is compact and has a funny name.
Now the issues - While this is a multi-effect pedal it is not geared towards live playing in that it is not a substitute for a Boss GT or a similar. This is mainly due to the sparseness of controls which has meant some compromises have had to be made.
Split the pedal into two halves; on the left are your Reverbs, Tremolo and Pitch Shift, selectable in this order in a cycle using the left footswitch. An LED light next to each effect listed on the front shows the currently engaged effect. Here is problem 1 - if you want to Switch from tremolo to room reverb when playing live you must hit the Switch 3 times, engaging pitch shift and hall reverb in the process before you get to the room reverb.
These 4 effects are controlled with the 2 left most knobs above - Mix blends the dry signal with the effect between 0% (no effect) 100% (just effect signal) and Amount controls the depth/size of reverb, rate of tremolo and pitch for the pitch shifter. Problem 2 - in a live scenario you need to constantly play with the settings when switching effects because it does not let you store settings for each effect.
Of the effects the reverbs are best, in fact, superb, and worth the relatively low price of the pedal alone. Tremolo is ok, but not strictly a tremolo as it adds some reverb to the signal too, oddly. Pitch Shift is perhaps the weakest effect. I think it shifts the pitch a 3rd down and a 4th up and anywhere inbetween, but either way it does not do a full octave which makes its use questionable as that is a common/basic requirement for this effect. It must be noted that this and the other effects can be controlled via an external expression pedal (not included) which may expand their use but I have not tried this yet.
On the right half of the pedal is the On/Off footswitch that engages the whole pedal, and the knobs above select the distortions on offer. A 3-position knob selects Clean, OD/Dirt and Fuzz. Note that this is once again selected only via the knob so you can't practically Switch to distortion without using your hands.
... And this is where it all falls apart for me. The 4 effects can be used clean or with the OD or Fuzz, infact there is always one of them on unless you turn the mix knob to 0, BUT the volume difference between Clean and the distortions is HUGE. Say I have the clean on about 3 o' clock. If I select fuzz it is super loud, so much so I need to turn the master volume knob back around to about 9 'o clock to match the volume of the clean signal. This, along with the lack of a clean/dist footswitch totally kills the pedal's potential for live use on anything other than really a single setting. // 5
Reliability & Durability: It is very reliable, solidly built with a metal casing and will withstand lots of use. It'll be little more than a pretty paperweight if you lose the power supply as there is no battery option. I don't know many people who backup their pedals so it would have to survive the gig anyway! // 9
Impression: It may sound like I really dislike this pedal but I don't. It is like owning a game console that doesn't always work. You know it's a bit rubbish and frustrating but when it does work its worth the fact that you didn't get rid of it.
The reverbs are, as I said before, superb and I would recommend this pedal to anyone looking for a reverb pedal as all the rest is then just a bonus. I bought it mainly on this merit. The pitch shift is lacking in usefulness but I have found a cool sound on a particular setting and if left just off centre creates a chorus like effect. The tremolo is ok but I already have a dedicated trem pedal that does it better, and while the OD setting is a bit fizzy, the fuzz is pretty nasty in a good way.
DO NOT expect this to be a versatile multi-fx unit that does 6 things in 1. Instead I find it does 1 thing at a time, but provides a pool of effects to play around with and many sounds to discover in order to make a particular sound to add to your setup. Then, when you are bored of that, take it away, find something new and give it another identity.
It would also make a good studio pedal as this environment is better suited to the control style of the pedal which it comes to switching between effects rather than the immediate demands of a live situation. // 7
hydroslanger, on march 07, 2008 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 99
Ease of Use: I bought pedal about a month ago mainly for the distortion as I was looking for something different than the Boss DS-2 that I own. It also has a muti-effects section where you can use reverb, pitch shift, or tremolo separately. I like the deepness of the Distortion. there are three settings: clean, fuzz, and Overdrive. I use the fuzz setting the most. there are two problems with the distortion, 1. there's no nob for amount so it's fully on and 2. when you use the clean setting to just use the effects it's not truly bypassed. For me the second isn't a big deal because I use it mainly for distortion. // 9
Sound: For the effects there are mix and amount knobs as well as a mode stomp to change the effect. for the most part I like the sound of the effects. there not that deep, but they will work if you are on a budget. The distortion is a different story. the thick sound of the analog distortion is the best I have ever heard both the Overdrive and fuzz sound really nice. That was the main reason for this purchase and it sounds as good as I would need or want. // 10
Reliability & Durability: This is built just as well as any Boss pedal if not better. I see no need for a backup unless you are really paranoid. I would have liked the stomps to be a little bigger. I like to be able to stomp two boxes at a time, but it's harder with this than with the Boss pedals. // 10
Impression: For the price this box is more than I wanted. It has the extra effects that I might use sometimes. The distortion is perfect for me and the main reason I bought it. I would buy it again if something happened to it as it has replaced many of my Boss pedals. // 10
eyebanez333, on february 12, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 60
Purchased from: ebay
Ease of Use: The Holy Stain by Electro-Harmonix is a multi-effect pedal that gives you two kinds of reverb, a pitch shifter, and a tremolo. Fairly simple pedal to use, has a bypass Switch to turn the effect on/off, and a mode Switch to navigate between the four effects. Other controls include a mix, amount, volume, tone, color, and dirt knobs. The color knob allows you to Switch from 'bright' to 'dark' to 'warm' and the dirt knob allows you to change between 'clean', 'fuzz', and 'Drive'. I got mine used so it didn't come with a manual. Most people should be able to figure this pedal out in a matter of minutes without a manual. // 9
Sound: I use this pedal with a few different Ibanez guitars, my other pedals, and a Peavey Windsor. The only complaint I have on the sound is the popping sound that I get when I change the color and dirt knobs with the effect turned on. However, since I got mine used I'm not sure if this is the case on all the pedals. The fuzz on the Holy Stain isn't terrible, but it's not great. This goes for the phase shifter as well. It leaves a lot to be desired. The rest of the effects sound great though... the reverbs especially. They sound similar, if not identical to the Holy Grail (I think that was the idea, right? ) // 10
Reliability & Durability: I've only had this pedal for a few months so I haven't had the oportunity to use it Live. However, I've owned many Electro-Harmonix pedals in the past and they're all built like tanks and none have ever failed me. I would definitely use this on a gig without a backup, especially since none of the effects it has are an absolute necessity for me. // 10
Impression: I play rock and metal and this pedal works great for me. I would say that the reverbs get the most use from me, followed by the tremolo. I have a Guyatone Vintage tremolo pedal also, so this provides me a different sounding tremolo option. I already mentioned the popping sounds, and my dislike of the phase shifter sound, but other than that this pedal sounds great. The reverb is definitely my favorite feature, and it's the main reason I bought this pedal. I figured that I could also have a tremolo, phase shifter, and fuzz sounds as well with this pedal. // 10