MANY MODERN GUITAR EFFECTS
include a USB port that lets the processor
act as an audio interface when connected
to a computer. Some effects even include
a computer-based editor so you can tweak
parameters and save/load presets to/from
your computer. But for everything to work
smoothly, observe these USB survival tips.
Adding a USB port card to your computer can solve a variety of USB-related issues.
 A class-compliant device can plug
directly into a USB port—no driver
required. Current Mac and Windows
machines (update the OS to the latest
version for best results) will recognize
the device, but as custom drivers generally
give better performance, use them if
 A USB 2.0 interface is much faster
than a USB 1.1 interface, and it can
handle more channels of audio at higher
sample rates. Although USB 1.1 and USB
2.0 are interchangeable, a USB 1.1 device
won’t run faster with a USB 2.0 port, and
a USB 2.0 device will slow down when
connected to a USB 1.1 port.
 When installing Windows driver
software, read the instructions carefully.
It’s common to install the driver software
first, before connecting the accompanying
device (but not always—read the documentation).
After installing the drivers,
plug in the USB device. Once the computer
recognizes it, you can use it.
 Unplug all unneeded USB devices
(everything except keyboard and mouse)
prior to installing drivers.
 If during Windows installation
you’re warned that the driver has not
passed Windows logo testing, click on
 If the USB device has memory for
storing patches, it will likely show up as
an external computer drive. Before physically
unplugging the USB effects device,
eject it properly. Mac: Drag the USB drive
icon to the trash, and wait several seconds
before actually removing the USB connection.
Windows: Click on the Safely Remove
Hardware button in the taskbar, then click
on the USB device you want to eject.
DigiTech’s GNX4 was one of the early guitar effects to include a USB port.
 Most music-related USB devices
recommend connecting directly to a USB
port in the computer itself, not through
a USB hub (especially if it’s an unpowered
 The USB ports built in to computers
may not be suitable for high- performance
audio. I’ve solved many USB problems by
simply adding a USB PCI pr PCIe card, and
using its ports only for audio. Avoid combo
USB/FireWire cards, as some users report
With Windows, if you plug a USB
device into a port other than the one used
during installation, you may be asked if
you want to install the drivers. Select the
Install Automatically option. Now both
ports will recognize the device.
 If your computer doesn’t recognize
a USB device after you’ve installed
the drivers, unplug the USB cable, wait
a few seconds, and then plug it back
in again. Sometimes, the computer will
“overlook” the USB device when booting
up, but will recognize it when