Even the most die hard relativist acknowledges this universal truth: a guitarist who plays out with a good amount of pedals will eventually buy a pedalboard. However, once you get everything hooked up to it, the pain beings: How do you recreate those dazzlingly complex effects chains that sounded so good in the studio? How do you get everything turned on or off quickly enough when there is a change? Unless you want to look like Gene Kelly on stage, you might also be in want of something like the SuperSwitcher 2.
At its most basic, what the SuperSwitcher offers is a way to hook up groups of pedals, or loops, and turn arbitrary combinations of loops on and off with one footswitch. If you are playing a part that calls for fuzz, chorus and delay, you can put the three pedals in a loop, and then assign that loop to a preset. Now instead of trying to navigate in the dark to turn on each pedal individually, you can hit one footswitch an engage them simultaneously. Because you can reuse this loop in combination with others, the eight available loops of the SuperSwitcher 2 offer a rich foundation to build on.
While loop switching alone would be more than enough to justify the price tag of the SuperSwitcher 2, we have so far only scratched the surface of what this thing can do. The device also offers MIDI in and out, which means not only can the presets be controlled from MIDI, but that the SuperSwitcher itself can control other devices via MIDI. “But wait,” you might be asking, “isn’t MIDI for chillness-loving keyboard mashers like Washed Out? What does it have to do with my guitar rig?” The answer is that it allows for even more complex preset creation.
If you have ever watched J. Mascis or Kevin Shields play live (and if you haven’t you should probably open YouTube in another tab immediately and fix that), you have seen a MIDI controlled rig in action. MIDI can be used to control everything from output selectors to parameters on effects with MIDI effects. These MIDI settings can be combined into presets with pedal loops. The result is that for the price of a steak dinner, you can be easily switching between combinations of multiple amps with multiple effects and multiple settings within those effects to get a true, repeatable live re-creation of those sounds you spent so long crafting in the studio. The SuperSwitcher 2 has space for 99 banks of 5 presets each.
While the SuperSwitcher 2 is made with higher quality parts than most switchers you’ll come across, and the price tag is super accessible considering many of these systems are built to order, what is really unique here is the modularity, and the potential features that will be included if the project makes its funding goal. The device is built with switchable modules, which means that payers can order a SuperSwitcher to meet their needs without it needing to be custom built. For example, if you don’t need MIDI, you can get an extra loop instead. As far as the TBD features, highlights are the ability to program this thing over USB from a computer, and Bluetooth connectivity so that the device could be controlled from a phone or tablet. While these features may not make it to the first version, they would certainly be groundbreaking icing on an already pretty badass cake. Either way, I am eager to get my hands on this thing, and will definitely be helping fund the project. – Nathan Smith