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 ambiance 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) is down.

There’s also a Shadow mode that automatically mimics what you’re playing with a harmonious sub/super octave swarm and fades it in and out under your dry signal. I use this more than any other function. To access the Shadow mode: Disconnect power > Hold the footswitch > Plug it back in > Release the footswitch. For Shadow mode, put the switch is in the middle. (Or hold the footswitch at power-on.) There are also five other demos hidden in the Shadow mode, including an ambient delay and an additive mode.

Negatives? The only real criticisms I have of this pedal is that it doesn’t have a soft footswitch and no kill-dry option.

My take: The Shift Line Force is useful as a sustainer pedal, but can also create it’s own 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 size 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 settings are all beautifully crafted to blend in with or behind your playing.

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 (Shadow Freezeverb), 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 the Shadow mode, ambient delay and additive demo. v2 sounds a bit more hi-fi, but I don’t feel the addition of Classic mode or Gentle Roar is worth the upgrade for my purposes. All pedals sold by Shift Line since January ‘18 are v2.

Check out more of my pedal posts.

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