Pedal Beat: Fulltone Secret Freq and True-Path ABY-ST and ABY-HT

| October 3, 2012

We received three new boxes from Fulltone this week: the Secret Freq distortion/overdriver and a pair of ABY switchers that are designed especially for switching between amplifiers.
As the name suggests, the Secret Freq ($192 street) has a secret weapon: a small Mid control located below the Volume knob that adjusts a narrow band of midrange frequencies much like a wah pedal does. The difference here is that, unlike a wah, the Secret Freq maintains the low and high frequencies not matter where you set the Mid knob (which can boost by up to 20dB), so you can dial the mids for exactly the distortion tone you want without shearing off the bottom or losing top-end clarity, as happens when “notching” tones with a wah pedal. And once the mids are in the sweet spot, you can use the passive Highs knob to put the right amount of brightness or butter on the tone. The pedal’s smooth, dynamic, distortion comes in a huge gain range to suit everything from bluesy overdrive to full metal shred, and you can also dial in plenty of volume boost regardless of the Distortion setting. This is a cool pedal, and well worth trying out if you’re looking for something new in the distortion realm.

True-Path ABY-ST and ABY-HT
These switching units ($212 street each) offer the same features, but differ in the types of footswitches they use. The ST (soft touch) version has silent, momentary types for the A or B and Both switches, whereas the HT (hard touch) features mechanical switches—the preferred type for players who want to feel a “click” when the switch is engaged instead of relying solely on an LED. Otherwise, both units feature Fulltone’s new circuit that rapidly pans between the A and B outputs in order to eliminate the “thumps” that often occur when switching between amps. I tested it, and the switching is indeed dead quiet. Other hip features include bypassable JFET buffers for the A and B outs, a ground lift for the B out, and a phase switch for the B out that lets you correct for any phase relationship issues between two amps or, in some cases, two channels of the same amp. The ABY-ST and ABY-HT are not battery powered and require a 9-volt adapter (included) or a regulated pedalboard power-supply of your choice. —Art Thompson


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