May 20, 2017

Shift-Line Force Freezeverb

Shift Line Force Pedal v2

This cool little pedal from Russia takes the EHX Freeze concept and adds a modulated, high-feedback reverb along with options of sub/super octaves. Together these give the frozen effect ambience and a nice, modulated quiver, as well as three, exquisitely-tuned freeze effects. The only controls are a knob for effect volume (dry is always at unity gain) and a toggle to control the engage footswitch modes: Momentary, Classic on/off or Latch (tap the footswitch to resample). Note that this pedal is not intended as a replacement for your reverb and works best early in the chain in conjunction with a reverb late in the chain.

To change the voices, hold the footswitch while flicking the toggle. Reverb Freeze (sustain) is up, Gentle Roar (sub+super octave) is middle and Sub-Freeze (sub octave sustain) is down.

The secret modes kick it.

There are also some six hidden experimental modes. Most are latch modes that allow you to layer freezes, but my two favorites are a sub/super octave shadow reverb that swarms in under your playing and an infinite delay that compresses and degrades into the mush-o-sphere. To access hidden modes: Disconnect power > Hold the footswitch > Plug it back in > Release the footswitch. (You can also access these modes my holding the foot switch when you power on. The flashing LED indicates you’re in the experimental mode (as well as marks the length of the buffer).

To access the various modes: toggle and hold the footswitch and toggle. To turn the pedal off in this mode, tap the footswitch twice. To return to normal freeze modes, unplug the pedal and plug it back in.

The downside?

Negatives? The only real criticisms I have of this pedal is that it doesn’t have a soft footswitch or a kill-dry option.

My take: The Shift Line Force is useful as a sustainer pedal, but can also create some beautiful ambience. Most players will probably only use it occasionally, so the small size and tiny power requirements make it practical to keep on your pedalboard. The EHX Superego+ and the Hologram Infinite Jets do more, but their large real estate may keep them off your board. I like the sounds the The Force creates over the drone sounds produced by either of these pedals. It’s a gently-modulated ambiance that varies from organ to choir—always earthy, yet otherworldly. While you don’t have much control over the sound itself, the volume level plays a big role in how peaceful or angry the effect sounds.

You can use The Force for sustain (Reverb Freeze), ambient accompaniment (Sub-Freeze or Gentle Roar), as well as deepening the well of your reverb (Secret shadow reverb), so you might find yourself using it more than you think. It can also be fascinating with effects, like an auto-swell pedal before or the Neo Mini Vent II, Rockett Tranquilizer or a formant filter like the Sub Decay Vocawah after. Here’s a demo of the Vocawah. The Force is 9v and burns 70ma.

UPDATE on difference in v1 and v2: v1 of the Force lacks the Gentle Roar effect, the Classic mode, but has four secret modes including the shadow reverb and the infinite delay. (I use these two more than I do the freeze.) v2 sounds a bit more hi-fi, but I don’t feel the addition of Classic mode or Gentle Roar is worth the upgrade to v2 for my purposes. All pedals sold by Shift Line since January ‘18 are v2.


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