Know what you're buying and you'll be happy
I like this pedal a lot, but only because I knew what I was getting. I can understand the people who didn't like it, thinking it was something else. Maybe Digitech shouldn't have even called it a 'natural feedback creator' on the box; perhaps 'haunting, ambient theremin simulator' would have been a better description.
It's far from perfect though. Here's some slight negatives:
It is definitely not a replacement for ebow or sustainic to any useful extent, because the generated signal abruptly cuts off after 6 - 10 seconds. It doesn't even sound like those devices. Do NOT buy the Freqout thinking you're getting a cheap ebow alternative.
The short cut-off actually does annoy me, even though I was prepared for it. It must have been a hardware limitation rather than a design decision. Eight seconds is fine 90% of the time, but maddening when you really do need the signal to continue for a little longer. They could have at least made it fade out slowly. This is the pedal's largest failure, I think.
Another thing that bothers me is that the gain/onset needs to be set quite accurately. I was hoping I could just set and forget it at one favourite setting, but it needs tweaking quite a lot depending on what you're playing and what other effects are enabled. On stage, I'm not sure how I would go about changing the settings without having to test it in front of the audience before starting the song.
It also generates a slight buzz from the power supply in my daisy-chained set-up, so consider using an isolated power source. It requires 240mA.
The Freqout has to be at the front of my effects chain. Anywhere else in the chain sounds like a tacky synth.
Lastly, I wish I could toggle between momentary and latch mode with a double-click on the foot switch; I dislike bending down to use the toggle switches.
The Freqout is basically a two trick horse. 1) adding a traditional feedback sound to sustained chords and notes, and 2) a sort of atmospheric theremin sound.
Don't expect anything more than that. You might be able to coax a little more out of it by combining it with other effects, but those are the only two sounds you should expect out of the box.
On the plus side, it adds feedback to ringing chords, and tracks bends/tremolo, much better than I anticipated. The straightforward traditional feedback sounds good enough to fool an audience.
I'm using the theremin sound quite judiciously (no-one would really notice it's there unless I suddenly turned it off), and it sounds really nice, adding a subtle layer of delicate texture, bubbling and tweeting underneath the playing, especially in conjunction with a delay. At times it is very atmospheric and beautiful.
It's pretty useless for rock/pop covers, but will lend itself very well to some of my own material, especially pieces composed with this effect in mind. This unique pedal could make certain songs shine if used with care.
Nebulous on 2019/06/30