Price paid: € 70
Purchased from: M&C Music, Bucharest, Romania
Sound — 8
We can't speak about Hush Pedal's sound, since it's not an effects pedal. Instead, we have to speak about noise reduction and sound altering. I currently use three guitars: two heavily modified Yamaha(EG 112 with 2 Wilkinson Vintage Single Coils and 1 Wilkinson Humbucker, Jihno Locking Tuners, and Pacifica 120S with Seymour Duncan SH 2n + SH 4 JB Humbuckers, Jinho Locking Tuners, both internally insulated) and a Vintage V 100. For the moment, I don't use effects pedals, just a small and modest Korg AX 1G sound processor, while the amp most used is a rehearsal Vox Pathfinder 15. I must admit I don't have a premium power supply for the Korg and I'm fully using the domestic plugs for the amp (these details are important because are related to the noise in my system). I also have a variety of cables, collected along my 30 years of playing, but I strongly reccomand the Evidence Lyric HG, both as an instrument cable and as a relayer between the effects unit and the amp. If you can't afford one, any premium cable (like Vox's or Fender's Platinum) is better than a standard cable. The 20 cm patch cable, for the moment, is an average Ibanez one, but I plan to buy 1 m. of bulk Evidence cable and some Neutrik jacks and come up with some decent patch cables as well. Since I have a good deal of noise sources (the power supply, the plug, the patch cable, the headphones, even the relatively silent sound processor), I had to deal with it. Buying a Hush Pedal was the the solution I chose when I decided I won't be playing in large venues, using (half) stacks, but in small clubs, using a combo. It took me a couple of days before I really understood how to use it properly. The manual stated clearly that it shouldn't be used alone, but in a row (meaning: with at least one pedal more, no matter which kind, distortion, overdrive, fuzz etc.). But, besides that, you should know a few facts: 1) it doesn't do miracles; if your equipment is crappy, it will eventually clean all the noise, but will definitely alter the sound and diminish the signal's strength up to 50, maybe 60%: 2) with an average equipment like mine, you can get great results without cranking the Hush up to 100%: with the 'treshold' Switch at 15% or 20%, I don't have an audible noise any more, no matter what kind of pickups are in charge at the moment; 3) it is better to check up the quality of pedal's power supply; if you don't have at least a Dunlop DC Brick, then it's better to use the Hush Pedal with a 9V battery instead; and 4) the Hush Pedal works much better with many effects pedals in a row than with a single one (or a single sound processor, like mine). Apparently, it was conceived for guitarists using many effects. If you observe these rules, then the device is effective, alowing you to have a semi-pro to pro sound without sophisticated electronics.
Overall Impression — 9
My music style isn't important, since it works with al kind of music: every guitar player has faced the noise problem. As I've already said, I play for 30 years and, as long as I didn't care about the sound, I wasn't aware of the necessity of such a device. When I was in bands, some 20 years ago, there was always someone to take care of this issue. After that, resuming myself to a bedroom hero condition, I didn't mind. But now, it solved my problem, so I'm very satisfied I bought it in the first place. Then I'm very pround of my sound: everybody who has come across my small performances was more than blown away by the noise-free sound coming from my basic equipment. I can't compare with other products. To my knowlegde, it is the only one of this kind (there are many more "noise gate" type devices, suitable for rigs). Anyway, in my city, this is the only one available as a pedal, so I don't much care about its competitors. I realize that I bought it in a "blind" way, due to cicumstances, however it has proven effective and has fulfilled all my expectations. I admit that it could prove tricky for a beginner to use it, because of the temptation of cranking it up (which alters the tonality and frequency of your effects and diminishes the signal's strength). For me, it's a "case closed" solution to the annoying noise problem.
Reliability & Durability — 9
As long as I'll be using this kind of equipment, I don't think I can get a better sound without using the Hush Pedal. It really works nicely for smaller venues, in which you can exhibit a noise-free sound without all the tones of gear requested in larger venues. I'd definitely use it withour a backup, since I't would be quite awkward to duplicate it, 'just in case'. But I'm pretty confident it will work for many years on: it's roughly built, its carcass is in strong metal, dropping it doesn't seem to be a problem (although I've never dropped a device of this kind in my 30 years of playing). Its on/ off Switch is in metal too, it works precisely and everything seems to be carefully and responsibly put together. It is made in China, of course, but the guys at Rocktron apparently double check every item before sending it to the distributors.
Ease of Use — 8
The Hush Pedal from Rocktron isn't quite an effects pedal. It's a pedal which diminishes the overall noise in your system, reportedly up to zero. It is very easy to use, since it has only one control (called 'treshold') and a on/ off switch. But it's far more tricky to get optimal results: you need some time, a good ear and, perhaps, a device to measure the noise. There are no editing patches whatsoever and the manual is basic and emphatic. In fact, it doesn't tell you the most important thing you must be aware of: the Hush Pedal can be a very useful tool, but it can't do miracles. If you don't use it properly, it does more harm than good. If you don't have a decent equipment (at least), you'll get noise-free at the price of altering your tone. The unit was bought a month ago and it wasn't upgraded, because it's brand new.