Freeze Sound Retainer review by Electro-Harmonix

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.4 (5 votes)
Electro-Harmonix: Freeze Sound Retainer

Price paid: $ 100

Purchased from:

Sound — 8
The Freeze doesn't technically alter your sound at all. The dry signal is passed through the circuitry at full volume and when the effect is disengaged, there's no noticeable change in tone. The resulting sound of the effect is really up to when and where you decide to use it. That being said, it's difficult to get a good sound out of it if the effect level is dialed in too high. It sounds its best when you're either sustaining a chord or using it as an underlying complement to your playing, at least from a guitar standpoint. It works well with different effect pedals and a lot of people use it for a variety of other applications, including looping small parts of prerecorded samples.

Overall Impression — 8
The Freeze is pretty cool. It's small, relatively inexpensive, and can provide all sorts of new, different sounds that might be hard to recreate otherwise. On the other hand, it's hard to really say it's a must-have for any kind of style or sound. It has just enough control and flexibility, and the different techniques and tricks lend itself to more than a novelty. It's not for everybody, but to the right player, it could really make an impact.

Reliability & Durability — 8
You've got to love the EHX Nano series pedals. They're all quality, American-made stompboxes that barely take up any space on your pedalboard. It takes a standard 9V center-negative power adapter and there's really not a lot to it, thus less opportunity for malfunction. The only problem I could foresee is the mode selector switch. For whatever reason, I take great pride in being able to do things with my feet that I probably should be doing with my hands. Changing the mode selector is no exception. Hypothetically, one could change the mode switch by gently kicking it with one's foot if one were too lazy to physically kneel down and flip it. In this hypothetical situation, it wouldn't be unheard of for the tip of the switch to break off. This is all purely speculation, as far as you know.

Ease of Use — 8

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The Freeze consists of 1 button, 1 switch, and 1 knob. There are 3 modes: Fast, Slow and Latch. In the first 2, the effect will only be activated while the user is depressing the button, so you have to stay on top of it to trigger the sustain. In Latch mode, click it on to grab your sample and it'll loop until you click it again, which will then loop the most current sample. To turn the effect off in Latch mode, click it twice consecutively. The other modes refer to the speed of the decay. For example, in Fast mode, the effect will be to immediately loop the sample the instant the footswitch is engaged, and conversely, drop the loop the second you release the switch. In Slow mode, there's a little bit of a Buffer time that you have a small amount of control over to fade in and out of your sampling. You can fade the loop in at either 200 or 800 milliseconds and fade out at either 400ms, 1.0 or 3.2 seconds depending on a power-on procedure. Unplug the power supply, hold down the footswitch, plug it back in, click the switch into the up (fastest decay), middle (middle decay) or down (slowest decay) position, then release the footswitch. The Freeze will now be calibrated and will retain these settings even through power cycles until you change it. When you're in Latch mode, the decay behaves as if you have it set to Fast. Actually getting the loop to sample the exact moment of the note or chord will take a little bit of practice. It captures such a precise amount of time that the results may surprise you sometimes because the margin for error is so small during faster progressions. You can use this to your advantage and generate a lot of interesting drone/ambient sounds. For example, say you're sliding down a string and engage the loop during the slide. Since you're capturing a movement and not a static note or chord, it'll playback a seamless sample of motion from a small window of time, generating a pretty cool effect.

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