US600 Ultra Shifter/Harmonist review by Behringer

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  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Sound: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 1
  • Overall Impression: 1
  • Reviewer's score: 4.5 Poor
  • Users' score: 6.4 (28 votes)
Behringer: US600 Ultra Shifter/Harmonist
2

Price paid: € 35

Purchased from: Music Store

Ease of Use — 9
The controls are easy to understand and set up in a few seconds. The knobs have no physical stop points but a red led flashes when you reach the next setting. Works well. A blue led indicates when the pedal is active. The knobs are very stiff and will never accidentally change settings even if you happen to step on them or transport the pedal in your guitar bag. Sadly that's the best thing about this pedal. If you have ever used a Big Muff with its ultra-light-turning knobs you learn to appreciate this. However, returning it every few months because it broke again will reset your settings - which might be a bit annoying. ;)

Sound — 7
1 octave down works well and sounds pretty good. Up-shifts sound a bit artificial but still ok for a short effect in a solo. Speed control allows from instant to very slow pitch sweeps. Mix control allows anything from pure wet signal to pure dry signal. There is a noticeable but manageable delay. Flutter is a very interesting... and completely useless feature that will give you a good laugh the one time you try it. Detune setting sounds like a bad chorus and harmony sounds like... artificial harmonies. In all fairness, the pitch shifter sounds WAY better than both pitch shifters on the Zoom G3 (which is the same price as a Whammy).

Reliability & Durability — 1
My Behringer pedal an I shared a relationship full of love and sensitivity. I stepped on it lightly and it gave me pleasant pitch-dives down 1 octave. I really liked that about it, but, alas, our love was not meant to last. I only used it once per week for one single song! That's like 20 minutes per week. Maybe that was simply too little time and my lack of devotion broke its heart. I mean it! The plastic casing and switch never failed, it was the cable input jacks or internal electronics that caused a slack joint.

In fact it broke 3 times in the first year after buying it (new). When the pedal left me for the first time I was sad and full of despair. What had I done wrong to deserve being left alone like this? When it returned to me after the short separation of 8 (!) weeks (an identical clone to be more precise, Behringer wisely does not bother to repair them but sends replacements), I was happy again. The second time (8 weeks again) I was just angry, shaking my fist at the Behringer website and shouting insults my mother surely would have disapproved of.

The third time I used the 8 weeks to think about my place in the universe and the message life was trying to convey to me. I am a wiser man now and share my insight with you so you don't have to repeat my mistakes. I am too poor to buy everything twice: cheap first, then sensibly expensive a second time. Lesson learned, thanks life - thanks Behringer!

While I don't expect to bequeath a cheap-shot like this to my great-grandson, receiving it dramatically at 6 years along with his first guitar and the words: "your father has played this pedal before you, and his father before him" ... I still somehow expected it to least the 2 years of warranty - even if it was used on a daily basis.

tl;dr:
Avoid of this pedal, get a Whammy or decent multi effect. Utterly unreliable, sadly as bad as it can ever get.

Overall Impression — 1
Alluring green colour -> from a distance someone might mistake it for a Tube Screamer and thus not laugh at you for using a Behringer pedal. You can get 4 US-600s for the price of 1 Whammy. However you should buy at least 2 or better 3 US-600s because they break all the time and you will need backups. Even then you can still save a few bucks towards a Whammy and the sound will almost be in the same league. Well, just buy a Whammy.

Seriously: The sound is good for the price - but what use is a pedal you absolutely can't rely on? No use at all. I wish it was built more solidly, I'd rather pay a couple bucks more and get something that lasts.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    irhagzy
    For the extremely reasonable price I have found this pedal to be very much worth every penny. It is an extraordinarily comprehensive pedal that may not produce the highest quality sound, but it definitely gets the job done, producing an extremely satisfying range of sounds. I have had this pedal for a few months now and have experienced no problems with it, it still works fully and sounds no different, and I tend to whack it about a bit! If you are looking for a pitch shifting pedal then this one is perfect given it's low price. My one criticism is I still don't personally find any use out of the 'detune' function and am not entirely sure who would, but I know someone out there must!