Headrush Pedal Board – review and demonstration


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My name is Brennan Galley and I was the Canadian Product Specialist for inMusic Canada.  I toured Canada coast to coast to show musicians how to use innovative instruments, DJ and music production equipment. One of the companies I represented was Headrush.  The Headrush pedal board is a multi-effects, multi-amp and cab emulation looping pedal with a very intuitive workflow.  It has killer sounds and presets but allows you to dial up whatever tone is needed.

01.  Signal flow and foot parameter control

When I shot videos with Dan Evans we always aimed for the best audio possible.  We’re dealing with audio equipment and it needs to sound good.  A brief description of signal flow might help with your set-up.

For this video I took my guitar and plugged it directly into the Headrush.  The stereo Headrush XLR main outs are running into channels 1 and 2 on an ALTO ZMX 862.  Channel 1 is panned hard left and channel 2 is panned hard right.  The main balanced outputs on the ZMX 862 are running up to my control room and are plugged directly into an RME Fireface UC.  An aux send on the ZMX 862 is running into a TS212 for me to monitor the Headrush.

For vocals I have a wireless Lav that is plugged into a Great River ME1NV into a dbx 1066 and then plugged into the Fireface UC.  This track is being recorded with Pro Tools.  I EQ my vocals and set their level, then sum all of the tracks together using a Wav L1 on a master aux.

I hope this helps out all the geeks.  If you are unsure what all this means please stay tuned as I plan to do a video series on the set-ups.

In this video I also show how to dial up a sound and tweak it to match your tonal taste.

02.  Gapless preset switching

The Headrush has a quad-core processor which gives it tons of power.  One way that this extra juice is used is for gapless preset switching.  If you have a tone that has a long reverb or delay then when you stop strumming the note the sound carries on.  If you switch rigs with the Headrush, that tone keeps on playing while simultaneously playing the brand-new tone.  In this video I show how to dial up a delay and how the gapless preset switching works.

03.  Hardware pedal assign

Every parameter can be dialed up on the Headrush to be controlled with your feet.  To do this, simply hold down the effect on/off button for a couple seconds.  When you do this you will see every tweakable option available in that particular effect.  Sometimes in a rig you need one of these parameters to be hard assigned to the expression pedal.  This will greatly reduce how fluidly you can work with the Headrush.  In this video I show how to change the pedal parameters in the hardware assign section of the Headrush.

04.  Creating a rig with scenes

You can run multiple amp combos in the Headrush, and you can also set it up to blend those amps together.  In this video I show how to build a rig from scratch.  I also show how to split the signal flow using two amps and controlling their tone either with the hardware assign expression pedal, or by setting up a scene.

05.  Looper with scenes and peel

The looper on the Headrush is extremely powerful.  You can lay down 20 minutes worth of audio with a limit of 100 layers.  So more then enough.  A unique feature is the ability to peel off layers.  The top layer can be removed, allowing you to build up a loop, add to it, then bring it back.  This adds a new dynamic level for loop performers.

06.  Looper with insert and reverse.

Another feature on the Headrush Pedal Board Looping is the ability to do an insert.  When you push insert it will record over anything on the top layer.  This means that you can change chord progressions or fix mistakes on the fly.  The Headrush reverse feature is also unique.  It will begin the reverse as soon as you push the button.  Using this with an overdub record gives some interesting end results.

07.  Tuner

The Headrush tuner is huge and takes up the entire 7″ screen.  It is also very sensitive and lets you quickly tune up.  You have the ability to raise or lower the cents, as well as bypass the mute so that you can continue playing while checking your tuning.  To enter into the tuner mode, hold down the bottom right button for a couple of seconds.  I show how this is done in this video.

08.  Pedalboard layout

When you get the Headrush for the pedal board, all the buttons will be set up in the stomp preset.  This means that every aspect of the rig has a dedicated footswitch.  This can be changed, though, based on your taste.  If you hold down the bottom left button for a moment you can switch to rig, hybrid or set list.  Rig will assign a full stack to each button with all the amps and effects.  Hybrid will make the top row rigs and the bottom row stomp pedals. Set list will bring the multi-amp list –.this adaptive control allows you to play quickly live no matter the circumstances.

09.  Bass tones

As well as a slew of amps and effects for guitar, the Headrush also has a substantial offering for bass.  In this video I go over a couple presets and show how to build your own bass rig.  For proper sound, please don’t listen through your laptop speakers; grab a pair of headphones or connect some monitors.  The bass tones are thick.

10.  Impulse response

An impulse response is a snapshot of an amp’s tone.  This allows you to record down your vintage or modded-out amps with a third-party software and put them directly into the Headrush.  There are also a number of user groups that share IRs and tons of places where you can buy them.  This is a killer way to customize your Headrush to sound however you want.  As new firmware updates get released, new amps will be created as well.

11.  USB

The Headrush USB port can be used in a few different ways.  You can plug it into your computer and transfer files from the Headrush to your computer for backup or sharing; you can also drag new content from your computer to the Headrush.

The USB port also turns the Headrush into a great-sounding sound card, which allows you to record the amp tones directly into your DAW.  An additional unique feature when you are using the Headrush as a sound card is that you can re-amp your recordings.  This means you can take the original performance, reprocess it through the Headrush, and bring it back in as a new recording in your DAW –  a great way to get huge tones.

12.  ins and outs

The Headrush gives you lots of options for connecting to your existing rig.  It has a stereo FX send with the ability to put it anywhere in the chain, and  XLR outputs so you can plug directly into the PA.  It also has a 1/4″ amp out to connect to a guitar amp for an even thicker tone.  Midi IO is used to make it talk to other gear, and the IEC power supply means that if you forget your power you are likely not totally screwed.

13.  Lock screen

The Headrush allows me to lock the screen, meaning that the different aspects that are making up my tone will be visually hidden.  I can take any image that I want and can drag and drop this onto the Headrush.  It will display this image when I enter lock screen mode.

Thanks for checking out my video series on the headrush.  Comments and shares are always welcome.  If you want to set up a SKYPE lesson send me an email to fiercemule@gmail.com