Hands-On Review:DigiTech GNX1 GeNetX Guitar Processor
by Dominic Hilton
What’s better than playing a killer modeled amp tone? How about playing two killer modeled amp tones at the same time? DigiTech’s two new GeNetX guitar processors put all your favorite tasty tones in one place, allowing you to create novel combinations of models and effects.
Amp modeling is nothing new to DigiTech, and the company’s floor processors have arguably the best build quality on the mass-produced market. The U.S.-made GNX1 doesn’t stray from this standard. The smaller of the two units in the GeNetX line, the GNX1 has a steel chassis with a heavy-gauge metal cover, a sturdy die-cast rocker pedal and tough plastic footswitches. Its control section has two large LED displays, a bank of edit and function buttons, and an effects matrix with a row of rotary controls.The GNX1 arrives with 48 factory presets and has space for 48 user patches. A quick tour through the presets proves that DigiTech has worked hard on this impressive device; in addition to plenty of accurate amp and cabinet simulations , the GNX1 has lush effects like modulation, delay, filter, pitch-shifting, and pickup and acoustic simulations, along with DigiTech’s own Whammy and Ya-Ya effects. With the GNX1 in “play” mode, the expression pedal controls one effect parameter, usually volume. But activate the “V-Switch,” and the pedal becomes a hot-blooded wah-wah.
The strength of the GeNetX series lies in the structure of the patches, each of which contains three amp channels: red, green and “Warped.” It’s here in the red and green channels that you can build the foundation for user-defined tones by selecting from a menu of 17 amp types that include Marshall, Matchless, Mesa, Vox and Fender models. These channels also have individually assignable gain, EQ and level settings, and cabinet models with resonance frequencies that can be tuned over two octaves. As for the Warped channel, it’s essentially a blend control that combines the red and green channels into a new tone, described by DigiTech as a “Hypermodel.” Using the Warp rotary control or the expression pedal, you can adjust the blend from 100 percent red to 100 percent green; you can also toggle between the red and green channels using the Amp footswitch. The gain and EQ of each hypermodel can be tweaked by assigning the unit’s five rotary knobs to function as gain, bass, mid, treble and level controls. In addition, each patch can be layered with up to 11 effects. If that were all the GNX1 did, it would be enough. As it happens, the processor has numerous others tricks concealed within. For instance, the GNX1’s two low-frequency oscillators (LFOs) can be assigned to sweep through various parameters at a selected rate; for instance, you could program an LFO to increase gain from zero to 10 within 1,000 milliseconds. The unit also features an onboard Rhythm Trainer that has 30 drum loops in various styles and a metronome for practice sessions. Plus, the GNX1 has a Learn-A-Lick trainer that can sample a phrase via the CD input connection and slow it down without changing the sample’s pitch. In addition to full MIDI capabilities, the GNX1 has editor/librarian software (available at DigiTech’s web site) that can be used to manipulate and store patches.
Playing with the Warped models unearthed some fresh- and complex-sounding tones, which sound incredibly rich when played through the stereo outputs. The unit’s friendly layout is intuitive to use, and the pro details, like the onboard noise gate and delay ducking, make for a smooth ride.
The Bottom Line DigiTech has broken exciting new ground with the GeNetX concept. Alongside the enormous possibilities of the Hypermodeling feature, the GNX1 is loaded with stunning tones, luscious 24-bit effects and useful practice features, all wrapped up in a totally professional package.