If you own more than a one effects stompbox, you probably know how hard it is to single out a capable one and purchase it without any doubts. Volume pedals are probably the easiest to choose since their features are always straight-forward and focused. They do not have any bells and whistles that would tangle you in a puzzled yarn of options. This is not a downside by any means since they have one single job to do. Volume pedals are judged less strictly due to their subtle character, but still, they have to satisfy certain requirements. Typically, such units should have good tonal quality, relative diversity and reliability. I always try to review the products that have all three, but every single electronic unit should still be taken with a grain of salt. Today I am going to discuss Boss FV-500H – the high impedance version (they have the low impedance too so do not mix up the two). The brand could easily be proud of this one, since it has hardly any flaws while offering outstanding performance. Let’s stop talking generally and move on to the specifics. This way you will have a complete picture and make an elaborate final decision. Shall we begin?
As I have mentioned in the beginning, the collection of volume pedals from Boss features two FV-500s. One has H (referring to the high impedance) and the other has L (i.e. low impedance). I will go in details about the differences between the two, since this article is not about that. Our focus is FV-500H, which is quite an amazing unit on its own. I am almost unwilling to touch up on the durability of Boss pedals, since they are always of high quality. But this particular model is probably the king in that list, since it looks like a metal shelter that could save a life or two. It has rough edges and a silver body with black rubber on the taper, setting it apart from other models on the market. Furthermore, FV-500H has typical connections with usable additions. Apart from input and output, this baby features tuner and expression pedal outputs. The former allows you to tune your signal silently without affecting the chain connected to the amplifier, while the latter enables you to utilize FV-500H as an expression pedal for any desired instrument or device. This fella is passive, meaning that it does not need any power supply or batteries (saving you an extra cash). Though it is a bit bulky (measuring 4-3/8 (W) x 11-7/16 (D) x 2-7/8 (H) inches and weighing 3lbs 9oz), it is worth that extra space on your pedalboard. FV-500H has adjustable taper tension, meaning that it can be tailored to the feel that you prefer. Plus, rockers tend to loosen from time to time, so this feature will keep the unit in perfect shape at all times. It is as clear as black and white that this baby has all the essentials needed for being a standout volume pedal.
The thing with volume pedals is that they are not always overcrowded with features. In fact, usually they have hardly any switches. Seeing one or two knobs is often relieving, since even a single addition can give you a lot of control over your performance. Boss decided to step out of the comfort zone and add an extra knob to the panel. Keeping this information in mind, it will not be wrong to state that operating this thing is easy as anything. If you have played with tapered units before, you will not have any problems. So let’s discuss the existing two controls and see what possibilities you have here.
FV-500H has, of course, a rocker pedal that is the main tool you will need to achieve any modifications in the volume. You can move it up and down with your foot, and, thus, make subtle adjustments. The other control we have here is a Minimum Volume knob. It sets how quiet the pedal gets when in the lowest position. Do not forget that you can also set the maximum volume with the help of your guitar’s level control. This is one of those devices that do not need any fuss or fiddling around. You plug it in and adjust whatever you want and that’s it. And in my opinion, that is the huge pro for gigging musicians.
One of the criteria that volume pedals should satisfy is, of course, the sound. If they color your tone too aggressively, there is no point of having them at all. Luckily, Boss FV-500H does not impact your sound in a drastic manner. Rather, it simply modifies ups and downs in your volume and allows you to even them out. Alternatively, this pedal can be an impressive tool when utilized for some dimension and sudden alterations in level. This way you can turn a boring unit into an interesting and powerful beast. FV-500H is transparent and smooth and does not suck your tone too much. Due to its passive nature, it does steal a tiny bit of higher end but not to the point where it is worth complaining. It is nothing that a tone control on your guitar cannot fix. The ability to set the minimum volume gives you the possibility to smoothly go from higher level to the lower, without cutting off the signal abruptly. As you can see, FV-500H has a lot of things to brag about.
Sometimes we have a hard time understanding that the huge part of the usability of different units falls on our shoulders. This means that they are powerful and capable and it is in our hands to diversify them. Boss FV-500H, like the majority of volume pedals out there, has everything it should have and it is up to us how we employ those opportunities. Needless to say that this baby will rock your world in the ways you could not have imagined. Good luck!
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