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Electro-Harmonix Pico Deep Freeze

Sound-sustaining Effect Pedal By Paul White
Published March 2024

Electro-Harmonix Pico Deep Freeze

Many of EHX's Pico pedals are stripped‑back versions of their larger counterparts, but the Pico Deep Freeze, which comes with a PSU, combines features of their Freeze and Superego pedals. It’s designed to freeze a short section of sound to produce a smooth sustain, and it works on both single notes and chords — so instruments such as guitar or piano can be used to generate drones or pads that sustain indefinitely, with the option of playing the dry sound over the top.

To the original Freeze’s feature set, the Deep Freeze adds layering, adjustable attack/decay speeds, Gliss, dedicated wet and dry volume controls, and three distinct operational modes: Latch, Moment, and Auto. Latch freezes and sustains sound when the footswitch is pressed until it’s pressed again. Moment freezes things only while the footswitch is held down, while Auto freezes the sound automatically when the input signal level exceeds its internal triggering threshold. Other than the Effect and Dry volume controls, there are just two further knobs, a Mode button and the footswitch. The current mode is indicated by the LED colour.

Gliss sets the transition time between freeze sounds, and at extreme settings, can produce some endearingly weird results. The Speed/Layer knob functions differently depending on which mode is active. In Moment mode, Speed controls attack and decay times simultaneously, while in Latch mode it adjusts the amount of layering, allowing the user to build up chords. In Auto mode, it sets how long it takes the frozen sound to fade out (but can be switched to control the rate of fade‑in). To switch between the Decay and Attack modes for the Speed knob, press and hold the Mode button until the LED colours cycle. Using a power‑up sequence, the bypass mode can be set to be digital, analogue or hybrid, the last of these automatically switching from digital to analogue when there’s a gap in the input signal.

Auto mode opens up more creative possibilities by allowing you to make changes to the frozen sound just by playing new notes or chords.

Sonically, the pedal produces a reasonably smooth sustain that provides a useful pad‑like backdrop over which you can play, though Auto mode opens up more creative possibilities by allowing you to make changes to the frozen sound just by playing new notes or chords. Auto, though, is the least natural‑sounding mode: when using the other modes it’s usual to time your pedal action to be just after the note attack, but as in Auto part of the note attack can sometimes be looped in the frozen sound, it can create a weird reverb‑like effect; this is most noticeable at short decay settings. Weird can sometimes be good, though: experimenting with the Gliss and Speed/Layer knob is key to fine‑tuning the weirdness, and subjecting the frozen sound to effects such as modulation or delay can also be rewarding. As a stepping stone between the Freeze and the Super Ego, the Pico Deep Freeze has much to commend it.


£189 including VAT.