Expression pedals aren’t those units that will excite you from the very first glance. As they don’t emit any audible effect, they tend to be overthrown somewhere in the corner where hardly anyone talks about them. But in reality, these little fellas are capable tools that can change your life for the better. They represent encoders that can be controlled with your foot, achieving gradual increases and reductions in the value of different properties. This way you can easily create anything you ever desired without having to lean down and mess around with the knobs on your pedals. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Well, the only thing that stands between you and those wonderful expression pedals is your wallet. No matter how big your budget is, there will be an option for you out there. Today we won’t search the clouds and try to grab unattainable high-end models. In fact, we’ll try to remain in the affordable category and discuss something beautiful that won’t break the bank. You probably already know what quality is offered by Line 6 so I won’t waste your time on that. I’ll simply introduce to you their EX-1 – a lightweight tool that you can take anywhere and utilize whenever needed. It’s a sort of a unit that you can keep in your gig bag without making it too heavy to carry around. If you’re interested, let’s get started!
There is one pattern all the expression pedals follow – they are not the most multi-faceted devices out there. They usually take up several single tasks and try to excel at them without claiming anything sophisticated. Line 6 EX-1 isn’t an exception either. It has a simple character, yet its capabilities are more than enough for various daily applications. This little puppy can be employed with your pedals or an amplifier – making it easy to modify any property on the fly. We all want to make the tweaking process faster and less noticeable and that’s when this bad boy comes into play. It is made out of hard plastic, which might not feel that promising, but let me assure you, you won’t be able to break it that easily. Unless you run it over with a tank or use it instead of a hammer, it will last you for a really long time. Just take care of it and you’ll be fine. Though many musicians consider plastic material as a con, it has its own virtue – it cuts down on weight significantly and makes the unit easier to transport. EX-1 won’t even be noticeable if you shove it in your gig bag. It’s a passive pedal so you can forget about those annoying batteries and power adapters. You’ll need a single capable to connect it with a desired device and that’s it. This stompbox has a black design that will blend in with anything you might have on your pedalboard. Keep in mind that it can slide around – you might have to make subtle adjustments in order to secure it in place. But let’s be honest, we can all deal with that without any trouble. All in all, Line 6 EX-1 is a wonderful pedal for the price and won’t disappoint you unless you are against plastic.
If someone asked me to describe an expression pedal with one word, I would probably say “uncontrollable”. While the unit itself is utilized for controlling various properties, it cannot be altered itself. You won’t find any knobs and switches on Line 6 EX-1. All we’ve got here is a taper that goes from heel to toe and vice versa. That movement is perfectly enough for changing whatever you wish to, and satisfying the very aim of the pedal. The great thing is that you can go from low settings to the high gradually and create smooth movement between different values. This way the adjustments you make won’t be harsh and irritating. That little taper is anything you’ll ever need to achieve beautiful effects such as volume swells or subtle variations in pitch. EX-1 is a great example of the pedal that can rock your world regardless of its simplicity. After all, we purchase expression stompboxes to make our lives easier, not the opposite, don’t you agree?
If I’m being honest, the hardest task for me is to describe the sound of pedals such as expression. We all know perfectly well that they don’t have any audible effect, but it doesn’t end there. They still affect your sound to variable extent (depending on the application you choose) and can make a huge difference in many scenarios. And that’s why I always have to somehow fit all that in simple words. So let me do my best to articulate what you should expect from Line 6 EX-1 in terms of sounds. It will enable you to create volume swells, emulate wah effect or even shift between different delay times. It all depends on the pressure in your foot and the way you move from heel to toe. Every action will give you slightly diversified results and add up to the versatility of the pedal itself. This bad boy has amazing response and will do your tasks like a loyal subordinate. It can be utilized both on stage and during practice, but be careful in the former scenario. Typically, live performances mean heavier abuse and EX-1 might not be durable enough to withstand. But if you’re still careful even on stage, then this fella won’t disappoint you by any means.
To sum up everything said above, Line 6 EX-1 is an amazing option if you’re looking for a capable, yet affordable tool. Though it does have its flaws, its virtues are still more prominent than those minor downsides. We can always turn a blind eye on certain issues especially when the pedal we’re talking about knows how to do its job and can be attained at a reasonable price. EX-1 will quickly earn its place in your rig and stay there for those situations when you need that extra control and precision. Good luck!
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