EHX Super Pulsar Disappointment

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by boyan11, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. boyan11

    boyan11 Member

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    I am returning the EHX Super Pulsar I just got as I am very disappointed with it.

    This is my review, some might find helpful, especially those who consider themselves old school, analog, "what you see is what you get" type of player.

    The Super Pulsar is a strikingly beautiful pedal with a lot of bling - you'll love it when you unbox it, even with slight cosmetic defects. See pics below.

    I don't care about cosmetics, though at the steep price it should come pristine. It isn't.

    Here's what's up:


    1. Noise;
    2. Audible pop/click when you turn it on/off;
    3. No LFO retrigerring
    4. No Customer Support

    Allow me to elaborate.

    I'll start with Customer Support.

    When the pedal came out I asked on EHX's Facebook if the pedal has LFO retrigerring and they said "email tech support". So I did and never heard from them.

    Ok, so I'll buy it, I can always return it.

    A tremolo pedal in my world has a very simple function. You might think I'm not tech savy or I don't care about sophisticated FX and you couldn't be further from the truth.

    The noise - I hope I don't have to explain that.
    Or the click when you turn it on or off. These issues are subtle but I don't have to settle with them if the TC Electronic Nova Mod I have is quieter, the switch is silent and has all the features except for the rhythm patterns which I was excited about only to find they're not very useful and get old quickly when you listen to them. That's only my personal taste - they might be great for someone else.

    This pedal fails on a very basic level.

    The biggest bummer is the lack of LFO retriggering, though I know that I'm in the minority that cares about it.

    EHX aren't the only ones - most tremolo pedals don't have it and seems like most manufacturers don't care about it.

    I didn't care to read the 10 page thread on the pedal because a lot of gear heads get all scientific with their wording, also I am a working musician, I don't need to integrate a guitar pedal with my laptop via midi, external click, I don't play in stereo because carrying 2 amps is for rock stars and they have roadies. I don't.

    I want things to work. I frequently buy pedals on my way to a gig and if they don't do what they're supposed to - they go back. Programmable and more sophisticated pedals obviously need time, but I don't think a tremolo pedal falls into that category, including this one.

    LFO retriggering means that when you turn the pedal on it starts the cycle from the beginning which in plain English means you can turn the pedal off on the chorus of a song and turn it back on on beat 1 of the verse and you'll be perfectly in time (given that you've tapped the tempo right in first place)

    Tremolo pedals without LFO retrigerring will start a cycle randomly wherever they happen to be, not necessarily syncing up with what you're playing. Most people are ok with that, I was too, until I got a pedal that has LFO retriggering.

    I have found that ballads in 4/4 benefit from tremolo use and I use triplet 8th note subdivision to tap the tempo. It sounds great regardless if it's synced or not, but it feels infinitely better when it's synced. Try it.

    The patterns, modes/presets - I don't care about those. The function to determine speed and depth with guitar dynamics has no musical application for me, but I found the knobs too close together to adjust.

    I couldn't create my own rhythm pattern. The manual said something about importing presets via… blah blah, they lost me at "import" haha… I'm not an engineer, I play guitar in a band.

    Give me syncing:

    Fast songs - tremolo with a deeper, sharper wave for stutter effect.
    Slow songs - mellow tremolo.


    That's it.
    Sounds simple, but I guess not.

    Sticking with the TC Nova Mod.

    The moral of the story:

    1. If you're not sure about the Super Pulsar, either try before you buy, or make sure you buy from a place that will take it back if you don't like it.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  2. chaseblissaudio

    chaseblissaudio Gold Supporting Member

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    Super Pulsar looks completely amazing but I think its totally reasonable to expect LFO retriggering on a high functionality trem.
     
  3. EchoGecko

    EchoGecko Member

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    I too was disappointed with the SP, but for different reasons.

    The LFO retriggering problem is interesting given that you can hit the TAP button once to restart the pattern on that beat.

    I had no noise issues. My issues were that it just didn't sound very good, and that the depth control was bizarre. Its 9:00 was equivalent to the 4:00 position on most tremolos. Go below 9:00 to get a little less and the depth control became useless. Go above noon and the bass frequencies started to increase dramatically. No thanks.

    I will say the coolest feature was an EHX weirdo feature, which was to set the rate super fast (ring mod fast) but utilize the speed envelope control; yielded some very cool sounds when set for slight speed changes.

    Anyway, I was really disappointed with the pedal and ended up with the Diamond and am very happy. That pedal doesn't have all the bells and whistles but it has enough and just sounds great (beats the snot out of the EHX and Empress in that dept IMO). Looking forward to when Diamond release the II. I guess I should say "if" but I'm sure it will only be a matter of time. Keep the tone and add a few more features.
     
  4. olejason

    olejason Supporting Member

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    You just hit the tap button to start the LFO cycle. I understand what you're wanting but that is a rather obscure feature. I'm sure there are pedals to do it though.

    When you say it "pops" when you turn it on do you mean the switch is audible or you can actually hear the pop through your speakers? They're two different things. The switch popping is no big deal, probably 90% of pedals out there do that. The 'soft touch' switches have really only started getting popular in the last year or two but I expect them to become ubiquitous in the future with so much of the consumer base coming from church players playing at very very low volume.

    Creating a rhythm is no big deal but I understand if it felt too complicated without sitting down and studying it. It definitely isn't intuitive. GUI's on pedals can be hit or miss. The Goatkeeper is great for creating rhythms but it is also large and more expensive.
     
  5. SmallStones

    SmallStones Supporting Member

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    I didn't realize LFO re-triggering in trems was common. It seems I remember ZVEX having that but I don't know of others. Who else is offering that? Hopefully this isn't considered thread highjacking.
     
  6. boyan11

    boyan11 Member

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    Did you really ask that?
     
  7. Astronaut FX

    Astronaut FX Member

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    I think what he was asking was, is the "pop" a mechanical sound from the pedal (that you would hear even if your amp was off). Or does the "pop" come though the amp as part of the signal?
     
  8. boyan11

    boyan11 Member

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    I was being sarcastic.

    Yes, it pops through the speakers.

    The pop isn't a deal breaker for me. Most pedals pop, I don't care
    .
    Like I said in the OP, I don't have to settle for the Puslar as the tremolo pedal I use (TC Nova Mod) is superior and doesn't have a pop.

    I agree completely with EchoGecko's observations (post #3)


    The TC Nova Modulator is quieter, but I don't mind the noise either. But again, why do I have to spend all that cash for something inferior?
     
  9. D Rock

    D Rock Member

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    I can't stand pedals that "pop". Nothing more annoying to me. Nobody wants to hear that during a song, and some are super loud.
     
  10. olejason

    olejason Supporting Member

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    You might be surprised how many people on here have complained about the mechanical pop of a 3PDT switch. It is a pretty big deal for a lot of P&W players.
     
    earwax likes this.
  11. baranger1

    baranger1 Member

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    Boyan
    Hit the tap button to restart the lfo!

    Also why did you not write facebook and say there was no email back.
    There are many times email goes into spam and it would have been check out that second.
     
  12. Jet Age Eric

    Jet Age Eric Member

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    I didn’t hear a pop, no notable noise, sounded amazing. Bad unit on your end? -E
     
  13. smitty.west

    smitty.west Senior Member

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    sounds like you got a bad unit to be honest as i'm not experiencing any unwanted noises or pops with mine. ehx qc can, at times, be dodgy at best; but when you get a good unit, it's magical.
     
    Stratobuc likes this.
  14. S. S. Bender

    S. S. Bender Member

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    Even with all the tempting whizz-bang features, I haven't been impressed with the actual sound(s) coming from the EHX Super Pulsar in any demo video to date. With early reviews trending toward the negative, I'm rapidly losing interest to give one a whirl. It's just as well. I love the sound of my Supa-Trem2, and really dig the features on my Diamond.
     
  15. boyan11

    boyan11 Member

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    Bill, I admire your work with the Effectology Series, absolutely inspiring.

    Unfortunately no one answered my email. I sent it Jan29. That's ok.

    As far as the LFO, the problem is not resetting it while the pedal is on. If it's on and I tap the tempo it's fine. I love the subdivisions! The problem is that when I turn the pedal off for a part of the song and the band's tempo shifts (we are only human and don't play gigs to a track/click) and if I have to turn it back on, then tap again, then it doesn't really work, because if the tremolo is off, it might be enough to ruin a song by the time I do the tap dance of "on-->tap the tap tempo to reset LFO". Wow, that's a mouthful. Here's something you'll understand:

    I have a tune that starts with the tremolo on, then I have a pickup into the melody of the song and the band doesn't play, it's just me and that's when I turn off the tremolo, because it help the melody stand out. It's a bolero (latin ballad) so it only makes sense to put a little feel and shake up the time a little - I usually slow down the phrase but then on beat 1 the band is back to the original tempo. On beat one I turn the tremolo back on. So it's important to be back on track. No time to tap dance… I already tap dance a lot...

    I admit this is a first world problem, but my band is an instrumental trio and I have 4-5 songs that are built around the tremolo effect and precise rhythm, so I take the subject to heart.

    I am indeed surprised - live and learn.

    Maybe it was defective.
    Here's one way to tell how much noise it adds.

    1. turn down your volume pot on the guitar
    2. turn your amp all the way up
    3 turn the pedal on

    The truth will be easy to hear.

    Again - neither the pop nor the noise (hiss) was a deal breaker to me, though I would have loved a smoother operation.
     
  16. baranger1

    baranger1 Member

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    Boyan
    Thanks.
    I am horrified you wrote in January and were never answered.
    That had to be an email problem!
    Please write me direct with your email address and I will make sure one of the top guys that engineered the Super Pulsar will write you and figure out whats up.
    I did the demo and did not have the problems you speak of.
    Please write me direct at baranger1@aol.com
    Bill
    PS Its Friday night and I might not be able to shake the tree until Monday morning...
     
  17. delay dude

    delay dude Member

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    This. No problems with my Super Pulsar.
    It´s possible that you have some powering/ground problems on your board, if you can hear a pop when you engage your pedal. As said before: you can start it, when you hit the tap button. Programming a pattern is easy, too. I really like this pedal!
     
  18. Scott57

    Scott57 Member

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    Just for reference, I own a Boss TR-2, a Hardwire TR7, a Fulltone Supa Trem ST-1 and Diamond Tremolo TRM-1.

    I'm quite happy with my Super Pulsar and have no issues with it.
     
  19. valvestate

    valvestate Member

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    Most EHX pedals are very good sounding.. "occasionally" they have some QC issues but, you csnt go wrong with them in my opinion...
     
  20. boyan11

    boyan11 Member

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    Hey thanks for the encouraging love fest guys!

    delay dude - I have no issues on my pedalboard. I wasn't even using it, thanks for assuming :p I just ran it with the power adapter that it came with and straight into an amp. I like to do that with new pedals.
    Also, in my years of professional experience since I was a teenager I am pretty sure I can tell a proper unit from a defective one. Glad you like yours and good luck making choppy music.


    Most EHX pedals are ok IM"not-so"HO. I love my DMB, Freeze, and 70s Small Stone.
    Loved the Memory Toy too!

    I love how they push the envelope and keep their prices reasonable.

    The holy grail nano was ok, but with stage volume in the FX loop the spring decay was too long and there was no way to make it short without dramatically decreasing the amount of reverb. Meh.

    I just returned the Bad Stone because I found it totally lives up to it's name (look up my post in the relevant thread)

    Micro POG sounded artificial anyway you look at it, and though we had a few good moments we couldn't bond. Ok pedal, but overpriced.

    The B9 was a complete train wreck. Haven't tried the C9 but I have a feeling if I want to make keyboard sounds, MIDI is the way to go. For now.

    The Soul Food - I'm glad I didn't lose money on that one when I sold it hehe.

    So I'd say EHX are hit or miss, mostly miss, but the good ones REALLY stand out. They make an excellent delay pedal, that's for sure.
    I'd love to try the micro synth, that looks like another winner.
     

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