Electro Harmonix Freeze

Sunday, December 5, 2010| by Will Chen

I’ve gone in and out of experimental phases in my years of playing and am always on the lookout for unique effects which can scratch that itch. When I heard the out of this world tones from the Freeze/Gliss effects of the Electro Harmonix HOG (Harmonic Octave Generator), G.A.S. immediately ensued. But when I saw the price tag of the pedal (which requires an additional pedal purchase to store presets), I had to face reason. I mean, sure it sounded incredible but would the expense be justified by usage? With the release of the Freeze pedal, Electro Harmonix has captured some of the vibe of HOG at a much more attractive price point.

For such a unique effect, the Electro Harmonix Freeze is extremely easy to operate. The unit simply features a 3 position toggle to select the mode of operation (Latch, Fast, Slow), a knob to control the level, and a bypass switch. Also of note, the unit is in a compact 5.6 x 1.4 x 3.2 inch aluminum enclosure and weighs a measly 1.4 pounds.

The Freeze is a niche effect for sure, but I think it will fast become a staple in more experimental guitar/bass players rigs

The various modes of operation allow a bit of flexibility in application to suite one’s tastes. In the slow setting, the effects fades in when the footswitch is depressed and fades out when released at a rate determined by a slightly cumbersome method which requires a “reboot” of the pedal which is detailed in the manual. Fast engages the effect immediately when the pedal is depressed and bypasses immediately when released. Latch operates similarly to fast, but the footswitch functions in latch mode rather than the momentary mode of the other settings. In other words, click on the pedal go for a jog around the block and your note or chord will still be sustaining. I found the latch mode to be the most useful of the three, but could see where some might also really like the slow mode.

So how does it sound? Well, that’s a tough question. I guess technically it doesn’t “sound” like anything as whatever you feed it is exactly what the unit regurgitates, albeit infinitely sustained. It’s an effect which is better heard than explained as its hard to describe what an infinitely sustained guitar chord sounds like. It definitely has a more ethereal affect which is even further enhanced by non traditional chord shapes and/or harmonics. With a rotary speaker effect after the unit its easy to emulate B3 style organ pads to self accompany solo lines. I should also note that the unit is really intuitive to use. I didn’t even reference the manual until after I’d played with it for close to an hour. The only negative I can pick out is the unit is a bit of a power hog. It won’t run on batteries and has a current consumption rate high enough that it really needs to run on its own power supply rather than the daisy chain systems often powering pedal boards.

Electro Harmonix of late has had a penchant for creating unique effects which expand the guitar’s tonal possibilities to the point of expanding a player’s perspective on the instrument. The Freeze is a niche effect for sure, but I think it will fast become a staple in more experimental guitar/bass players rigs.

Price: ~$119 USD
Pros: Unique effect
Cons: Somewhat high power consumption.

Filed Under: Electro Harmonix, Reviews