If you’re a hardcore pedal junkie, there’s nothing cooler than having your favorite boxes wired up and ready to go. But once you’ve got all your prized stomps wired up in series, it’s hard to not consider the multitudinous pedal combinations you can’t access in a series wiring scheme. Move in a single beat from a chorused, clean rhythm part to a solo with distortion, delay, and no chorus? No problem—if you’re a eight-legged ballerina.
Pedal switchers are a great solution to this problem—you can program various combinations to be available on the fly. The Superswitcher II is Israel-based, EC Pedals’ latest switcher, and it’s packed with possibilities. It offers many more presets than the previous incarnation (now featuring 99 banks with five presets per bank for a total of 495 presets.) The switcher’s modular design also allows you to custom order a unit for your own specific needs. And you can configure a switcher with more loops, stereo loops (up to four), more relay switches, and more A/B switchable ins and outs.
Four Plus Four Equals Gazillions
I tested the Standard EC2, which has a 4 + 4 configuration, that is the first four loops go in front of the amp and the remaining four go into the amp effects loop. The first seven loops are mono and the eighth has a mono send and stereo return. You can also set the switcher up as two independent signal paths with four loops each. You navigate the copious quantity of presets via the LED display. There’s also a built-in tuner and MIDI in and out. You can even integrate a channel-switching amp if you have one via two relay switches that control footswitchable functions like channel switching and reverb.
The pedals I pulled out for this review consisted of a Rockbox Red Dog, Mesa/Boogie Bottle Rocket, MXR Phase 90, and Ibanez DML-10. I aimed to save two separate setups—light crunch with phaser for rhythm, and thick lead with delay—as presets in the Superswitcher II’s live mode.
Given all that it can do, it’s little surprise that there’s a learning curve. If you’ve spent time programming multi-effects units then you’ll be fairly well equipped to tackle programming the Superswitcher II. Still, it took me some time to get up and running with manual in hand. When I did, interacting with the Superswitcher II got very rewarding very quickly. Controlling old, familiar pedals as if they were part of a programmable DSP machine was revelatory. So was not having to do a tap dance to change my sound. And the ease with which you can access sound combinations I didn’t even consider before left me itching to drag out a bunch of pedals in the closet collecting dust.
Less Can Be More
The Superswitcher II deals with the complications of buffered and true bypass pedals in simple ways. "Silly" mode keeps noisy, signal-robbing pedals out of the chain until you need them. There's also a switchable input buffer, so you can buffer your signal path if you like, or switch it off when using primitive fuzzes or other pedals that sound better without buffering.
The Superswitcher II can handle unusual routing scenarios that make an ordinary pedalboard feel like a DSP-driven beast. But even if your needs are simpler, this unit can be an invaluable asset. Given the compact package, extensive routing options, simple operation, and reasonable price, the Superswitcher II is one of the most appealing new switching options around.