Electro-Harmonix Unleashes Three Pedals In One With The Epitome
The Epitome is a brand new effects pedal from Electro-Harmonix that combines three of their popular effects into one unit: the Micro POG octave generator, the Stereo Electric Mistress flanger chorus pedal and the Holy Grail Plus reverb, and at a price that’s about 25% cheaper than if you were to buy each effect separately.
Each effect on the Epitome can be used on its own or they can be combined, each with its own dedicated knobs and switches, tweakable in the moment. There are a lot of features in this pedal, so let’s try to break them down.
Micro POG Section
The Micro POG section of the Epitome has three knob controls. The Dry knob allows you to mix in the desired amount of dry guitar signal with all the effects. The Sub Octave knob controls the level of the lower octave which is one octave below the dry signal. In Echo Mode (Shimmer on and Holy Grail set to Flerb), the Sub Octave knob controls the feedback time of the delay for the low octave signal. The Octave Up knob controls the level of the higher octave, which is one octave above the dry signal. Similarly, in Echo Mode this knob controls the feedback time for the upper octave.
Stereo Electric Mistress Section
The Stereo Electric Mistress is a chorus and flanger effect with three simple controls. The Flanger and Chorus knobs mix more of each effect in with the dry signal while the Rate knob actually has two functions. Turned counter-clockwise past the 10 o’clock position (so says the EHX manual, although to me it seemed to be more like 12 o’clock) the Rate knob enters Filter Matrix Mode. In this mode, there is no oscillation on the filter aspect of the flanger or chorus, making the Rate knob more like an adjustable notch filter. Turned clockwise past the 12 o’clock position and the Rate knob behaves as you would expect, increasing the rate of oscillation on the sweep of the flanger and chorus.
Holy Grail Plus Section
The Holy Grail Plus is a reverb effect with four different reverbs, Spring, Hall, Room and Flerb, which is a unique effect that mixes flanger and reverb. The Blend knob controls the dry/wet mix while the Amount knob adjusts the reverb time, or in the case of Flerb, the modulation rate.
Unique to the Holy Grail Plus on the Epitome is Shimmer mode. The switchable Shimmer mode allows for a unique re-routing of the effects chain that’s not possible with three separate units. With Shimmer mode engaged, the octaves from the MIcro POG are separated from the dry signal and sent to the Holy Grail Plus. Additionally, with Shimmer mode engaged and the Holy Grail Plus set on Flerb mode, it changes from a reverb to a delay effect with the Micro POG placed in the feedback path of the delay to create a unique echo effect with cascading octaves.
Putting It To The Test
When I first got the Epitome, I played with it for almost 2 hours. It’s a hell of a lot of fun, with so many tweakable elements, and capable of making some sounds I’ve never heard a guitar make before.
The EHX Epitome Video Demo
Each effect section sounds great on its own but the pedal’s full potential really shows when you combine effects. Dial in the Up Octave on the Micro POG and add some spring reverb from the Holy Grail Plus, and you get a nice 12 string guitar effect. Turn up the Sub Octave and add tons of Hall reverb and your guitar sounds like a giant pipe organ. Throw on the Stereo Electric Mistress with the Rate knob turned up and your pipe organ sounds like it’s running through a leslie speaker.
With the Shimmer mode on and the Holy Grail Plus set to Echo, you can get some wild sounding delay effects from the octaves on the Micro POG. Adding some flanger and chorus into the mix on this setting and your guitar starts to sound like something out of a sci-fi horror movie.
Another nice little feature that the Epitome has is that it can do stereo. I don’t have a stereo rig so I tried out the stereo feature by connecting the Epitome to two combo amps. It sounded so good, it made me almost want to drag two amps to a gig (I said almost – maybe if I had roadies). In stereo the reverb truly comes alive and the chorus and flanger really smoke!
The only criticism I have for the Epitome is that because it is three effects in one, you lack the flexibility in the way you hook it up to your amp. I prefer my time based effects in an effects-loop. If you want to use the Holy Grail Plus with the distortion of the amp, well that’s pretty much the only way you can. I tried it and the Holy Grail Plus sounds fantastic in the loop, but by hooking up the Epitome in that way you lose a lot with the other two effects. The Epitome is definitely designed to sound its best running right into the input of amp. On your board, you’re best placing it towards the end of your signal chain, after any distortion pedals you have.
The Bottom Line
The Epitome gives you three fully-featured Electro-Harmonix effects all packed into one unit, saving you money and space on your pedal board. For that reason alone Epitome is worth it. Combine that with the fact that Shimmer mode gives you an extra echo effect on the Holy Grail Plus and allows you to combine the effects in a way that’s not possible with three stand alone pedals, and you’ve got one pedal that can seriously expand a guitarist’s tonal palette.