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The DigiTech FreqOut Natural Feedback Creator allows you to get sweet, natural feedback at any volume, with or without distortion. The FreqOut is perfect for situations where volume must be controlled like in the studio, with in ear monitors, or low-volume performance and practice. However, the FreqOut can also be used at gig volume to focus out-of-control feedback on a preferred harmonic at any stage position.

According to musicradar, it uses a "cunning inversion of dbx’s feedback-suppression technology". Could anyone explain what that means? Does it actually sustain the vibration of strings? How do you compare it to the Boss FB-2?

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    BTW, thank you for asking this question. After checking out the videos and all, I've decided I have to have one of these and I added it to my Sweetwater wish list. – Todd Wilcox Mar 5 '17 at 20:08
  • Thank you for answering, now I am also sure that I want one of these babies. – qed Mar 5 '17 at 20:11
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dbx's feedback suppression technology analyzes the audio that is fed through and looks for resonant frequencies that ring on longer and/or have higher average level than the other frequencies present. Once the algorithm has found a resonant frequency, it applies a digital notch filter to reduce the amplitude of the frequency to prevent feedback.

All you have to do is replace the words "reduce" and "prevent" in the previous paragraph with "increase" and "encourage" to see how the dbx algorithm could be inverted to actually create feedback.

It's not clear to me exactly how this works with in-ear monitors, but one way to do that would be that the notch filter, when in boost mode (instead of cut mode as used in dbx feedback elimination), could easily be made to self-oscillate and therefore actually synthesize the feedback frequency, meaning you can get feedback that naturally follows the guitar signal without needing any kind of acoustic signal path.

From their marketing material:

The DigiTech FreqOut pedal uses pitch detection technology to constantly monitor the harmonic content of your guitar signal.

If the guitar signal completely dies away, the feedback stops. Note that guitar signals persist on the electrical level longer than they are audible in some situations. So you might not be able to hear the guitar even if there's still enough level left for the FreqOut to keep operating. You just have to hold the notes on the guitar as long as possible.

When bending on the guitar, the strings move across the surface of the fret, so just bending strings makes them vibrate a little and maintains the note. In fact, one way to sustain a note on the guitar is to use vibrato, because the constant rubbing of the string by the fret acts like a very quiet violin bow to keep the note going. With the FreqOut, this vibrato sustain would be enhanced.

Regarding the Boss FB-2, that seems to require an amp to really create feedback. Their marketing says:

Advanced Feedback function provides smooth and natural amp feedback

So it's almost certainly boosting frequencies in a way similar to the FreqOut, but without the semi-synthesis aspect of it.

  • By "naturally follows the guitar signal", you mean sending feedback signal to the pickups? – qed Mar 5 '17 at 19:38
  • @qed No. The only way this pedal could send a signal to the pickups is via a speaker pushing air that causes the body of the guitar to resonate, which is the normal mechanism for feedback which this pedal enhances. I'm talking about the pedal following the pickups, not the pickups following the pedal. The analysis process is the common element that "listens" to and reacts to the input signal. That is how this pedal follows the natural guitar tone. That enables it to create and enhance frequencies that are already present in the signal, as opposed to making random frequencies that don't work. – Todd Wilcox Mar 5 '17 at 19:42
  • Ok. But the guitar signal has a short lifespan, how could the pedal create an infinite sustain by following that? – qed Mar 5 '17 at 19:44
  • And how could the pedal react to string bending over a long duration? – qed Mar 5 '17 at 19:46
  • @qed It just holds the boost filter after the original signal is gone. It knows when to drop the filter because other frequencies appear which change the response of the algorithm. Notes and frequencies created by bent strings are just other notes and frequencies just like those created by unbent strings. – Todd Wilcox Mar 5 '17 at 19:52

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