Product Review: The Vintage Electro-Harmonix Micro Synthesizer
I have been a huge fan of Electro-Harmonix’s all analog Micro Synthesizer for years, but it wasn’t until the early 90′s, when I played in a band called Distortion Felix, that I purchased my first. The band’s guitarist Manny and I used those pedals all over the two records we did in the 90′s. Although Electro-Harmonix made a Micro Synthesizer for bass (which I also own), I feel like the guitar Micro Synthesizer works like no other. As I have stated many times on PedalsAndEffects, no two vintage pedals sound the same and you have to search for ones that sound good to your ears. The guitar one happened to sound better to mine.
In this old video I made before I started PedalsAndEffects, I sampled a single note in my Digitech PDS 20/20, manipulated it in the delay part of the pedal to give it an ascending/descending loop then put that signal into the Micro Synthesizer. All of the Micro Synth’s slider functions work as they should which makes it easy to hear some of what this pedal is capable of doing. I think my bass sounds like a synthesizer.
One of the coolest parts of the vintage Micro Synthesizer is the input control on the bottom of the pedal that you can access via a small screwdriver. This allows you to crank the input to really get the pedal to react over the top.
Although it wasn’t my intention to call out Electro- Harmonix on the quality of their new Micro Synthesizers versus their vintage ones, I did recently compare my vintage pedal to their new Micro Synth and there was virtually no comparison. I might as well have been comparing a real vintage Micro Synthesizer to a bad clone copy. I scratch my head every time I pick up a new Electro-Harmonix pedal and notice the weak construction; the reissues also don’t hold a candle to the vintage ones when it comes to sound. I still believe in Electro-Harmonix’s design team’s ability to come up with interesting pedals like the Ravish Sitar, but even that pedal has gone down on me on tour and in the studio.
Until there is an overhaul at Electro-Harmonix, I’ll continue to favor their older pedals. Sometimes, new doesn’t always mean better.