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June 2017 Giveaway

electro-harmonix HOG Review

The HOG seems likely to take its place among the classics of real-world effects units.

Among the true giants in the world of guitar effects and pedal manufacturers is the great electro-harmonix, the same people who brought you the legendary Big Muff Pi, the Small Stone, and many other classics. So when I saw their newest and fanciest octave box, the HOG (Harmonic Octave Generator), which appeared to be a kind of POG (Polyphonic Octave Generator) on steroids, curiosity got the best of me.

You can tell immediately with electro-harmonix units like the HOG that the idea is to encourage the player to get creative and see what uncharted psychedelic landscapes he or she can discover, and so I decided to buck tradition and plug in an acoustic guitar with a pickup. Like the POG, the HOG has sliders for the different octaves that it produces, in addition to the original note or notes. Unlike the POG, the HOG also has sliders for intervals (5ths in 2 different octaves above the note, and also a major 3rd, two octaves above the note). The tracking, whether you play chords or single notes, is right on, and there are two envelope generators (one for the upper five intervals and one for the lower five) so that you can smooth out the attacks and delays to blend the organ-like tones against your own guitar’s tone to suit your taste. The effect is lovely and otherworldy at the same time, and there is also a low-pass filter with adjustable bandwidth to further dial in that perfect patch.

Besides the sliders, the HOG comes with an expression pedal that controls any one of the seven expression modes, such as freezing a note or chords to play on top of, controlling the volume of the effected signal against the dry one, or sweeping the filter. One of my favorites so far is to set the expression mode to “step bend” (which bends the post-effect note or notes one whole-step if you step down all the way on the pedal) and then just nudge it slightly to give a chorus-like detuning effect. I’m sure it’s only one of many little tricks the creative player will discover with this unique unit. In a world where better-sounding and more feature-laden software suites for guitar show up almost every day, the HOG, with its 16 sliders, pedal, and powerful expression modes, seems likely to take its place among the classics of the real-world effects units.

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