headrush electronics

A smooth user experience and standout high-gain sounds distinguish this powerful modeler.

Easy to create new rigs. Bluetooth, amp cloner, and cloud features are very useful. Solid high-gain tones.

Some clean, breakup, and fuzz tones can sound thin and a bit stiff.


Headrush Prime


Read MoreShow less

Intuitive design sets this impressive, powerful multi-effects unit apart from the pack.

Multi-effects that pair with a laptop or iPad can be really flexible and convenient—enabling on-site tweaking and editing. The trade-off is yet another piece of gear to bring to a gig and set up. That’s a deal breaker for a lot of players. This writer included. But the HeadRush Pedalboard is an amp and effects modeler that features an onboard, tablet-style 7" touchscreen, and that puts the HeadRush in an elite league in terms of convenience and ease.

The Pedalboard is from the same team that created Avid’s Eleven Rack, but it’s not just an Eleven Rack in a pedalboard platform. The designers used Eleven Rack’s code to redesign everything from the ground up and create Eleven HD Expanded, the new digital engine that powers the HeadRush.

The Pedalboard is an impressive unit that offers 270 factory presets, 33 amp models, 15 cab models, and 10 microphone models. There’s a looper with up to 20 minutes of recording time that can record as many as 100 layers, and a download card for two Celestion Impulse Response files. There’s also USB connectivity for downloading third-party impulse responses and presets from HeadRush Cloud, where users can share and download presets. This only scratches the surface of what the HeadRush offers, and it would take a review many times the length of this one to cover all of this unit’s capabilities.

Ready for the Road
The HeadRush feels sturdy and roadworthy. It isn’t small, though—its dimensions are comparable to a large pedalboard. With its 12 footswitches, the control panel looks like a pedal switcher. Each footswitch has a color-coded, display strip with a narrow, text-only screen that indicates the model, rig, or list of effects to which the footswitch is assigned. There are four knobs in the upper left corner: three are for volume controls (master, headphone, and aux), and there’s the encoder knob, which lets you scroll through the menu options or adjust settings. On the far right of the unit is an expression pedal.

I was able to get most of what I needed without
consulting the manual.

The touch screen is the centerpiece of the HeadRush. There are three knobs to the right of the display that let you manipulate settings for a single virtual pedal—so you can touch a chorus “pedal” onscreen, see displays for rate, depth, and feedback, and control them with the three knobs. Touching the displayed parameters reveals secondary controls for mix width and sync.

Easy Like Sunday Morning
The HeadRush team should get an award for intuitive design. I can’t think of an easier-to-use guitar processor on the market. I was able to get most of what I needed without consulting the manual. And if you’ve used a touchscreen device like an iPad before, you’ll be able to figure out a lot on your own.

A blank “rig” on the HeadRush will have eight empty slots marked by plus signs. Tap on one of these and the model selector menu will come up. Then you’ll see options for amp, cab, custom IR, distortion, dynamics/EQ, modulation, reverb/delay, FX-loop, and expression. In each of these categories are submenus with specific types from the selected category.

You assign pedals to a footswitch and you can move a pedal or amp’s location in the chain by simply dragging its image to the desired location onscreen. (Footswitches aren’t necessarily laid out in the order of the onscreen chain, but you can customize the assignments using the hardware assign function). When you want to save a preset, an onscreen keyboard comes up so you can quickly type in the name. The two footswitches in the leftmost corner let you scroll up or down to different rigs. The rightmost footswitches let you access the looper and tuner. You can also arrange the screen and footswitches to let you work with complete rigs or setlists (a HeadRush setlist organizes rigs into categories like dirty tones, wet-effects tones, etc. for easy recall).

Read MoreShow less