Digitech Bass Synth Wah

Saturday, May 31, 2008| by Brian Martin


For decades guitar players have had all the fun when it comes to effects. I can remember several years ago plugging into a wah pedal only to find my low end response totally disappear. The 90’s gave us effect pedals “designed for bass players”. However great these pedals sounded the “effect” was still subtle enough that the actual effect was lost in the mix. Not that many years ago bass synth pedals hit the market and ironically, those dang guitar players started buying them up because of their “over the top sounds”.

Today we are going to look at one of those pedals. The Bass Synth Wah Bass Envelope Filter pedal designed by Digitech has been a staple for over the top wah effects for a few years now. Built like a tank, this stomp pedal is made out of steel and has 7 distinct preset settings. Four knobs control the effect. They are; Sens-adjusts the trigger threshold of the synth, filter and envelope effects. Control-adjusts wet/dry mix, or synth or filter attack. Range adjusts envelope range, cut-off frequency, or frequency envelope. Type-selects between seven different Bass Synth Wah effect options, including Envelope, Envelope Sub, Synth 1, Synth 2, Filter 1, Filter 2, and Octa Sub.

Plugged into my crate practice amp with all the controls set flat on both the amp and bass I engaged the pedal with the preset set to 1 with all the controls on the pedal set at 50% (knobs turned straight up). Immediately I went into super wah mode. This effect alone was effective as my bass response did not totally disappear. In fact my bass response seemed to be enhanced by the pedal. Going from effect 3-6 added sub frequencies that seemed a little over the top. To me these effects aren’t very practical in very many applications. Type 7 gave me that “Areeeeeoooooohhhh” slow decay effect which is cool, but hardly usable in very many applications.

Plugging the pedal into the house PA in an 11 piece praise band without their knowledge was fun. Competing against two keyboard players and a guitar player who frequently used effects did not know what was coming with my Digitech Synth. During the middle of a funky James Jemerson inspired groove I stomped on the pedal with the setting type on 2 with the range set to 75% with the other settings at 50%. The effect fattened up my bass line while adding super compressed liquid wah over the bass frequency. The sound over the PA was Liquid, Gooey, and Meaty. What it isn’t is Tight, Quick, and Distinct. Again, type 3-6 just didn’t seem to do it for me live. Type 7 did have that ultra cool "Aeeeooo" or "Ooooawa" slow decay effect but unless you have that particular effect set for one part of a song then it really is useless.

The first two wah effects are good enough alone for purchasing this pedal. Maybe the rest can be used for recording or just having fun. Even for a list price of under $200.00 this pedal is worth it. If you’re a finger funk style player or even a metal player with a pick you will find this little box useful when the grove requires something cool. Be careful though, your guitar player might take it when you are not looking.

Price: ~$80 USD
Pros: Price, over the top sounds.
Cons: Some settings don’t cut through in a live environment.

Filed Under: Digitech, Reviews