HeadRush FX has unveiled Prime a new multi-effects and amp modelling unit that ups the ante in the digital battle to create the ultimate 21st-century guitar amp, presenting guitar players with a laundry list of features, a drag-and-drop touchscreen interface, and even Auto-Tune for processing your vocals.
Such is the evolutionary advancement of units such as this, it is difficult to know where to start. Use it for electric guitar, bass guitar, vocals... In short, this can replace your live rig, your studio rig, with its onboard Amp Cloner allowing players to clone not just their favourite tube amp and spare it from the hard-ships of the road, but their effects pedals, too.
And with the price of certain guitar effects pedals sky-rocketing in value in recent years – hello, Bad Monkey – that’s an attractive proposition for keeping your stompboxes safe and in working order.
Of course there is more where that comes from. It was not so long ago that you could put headline numbers on the amount of sounds you could have – “57 amps, 128 effects, 12 cabs…” and so on. Not now with amp, cab, effects and mic modelling, the ability to share these settings with other users over the HeadRush Cloud, and access an already stacked library of sounds as soon as you take it out of the box and power it up.
One of the biggest headline features included with Prime is the inclusion of vocal processing effects, including Antares Auto-Tune, Vocal Harmony, Doubler, Distortion, Delay, and Reverb. “It’s never been easier to reproduce a polished studio-quality vocal sound in a live environment,” says HeadRush.
There is also a practice tool that allows you to download songs over wi-fi, slow them down and loop the difficult parts.
We often talk about practice tools such as the Smart Jam and Auto Chord features on Positive Grid’s Spark platform from the perspective of a beginner, but features such as this are really useful for the gigging pro having to learn a setlist in a hurry. You can raise the pitch of the songs to learn them in different keys.
Hook Prime up to any device with Bluetooth and you can play access the audio – be it educational content or external audio – via the floorboard.
There is a lot going on, but HeadRush looks to have designed this very nicely. Besides the 7” touchscreen that can visually display your entire signal chain, Prime’s complement of footswitches are have colour LED rings and OLED scribble strip displays that are colour-customisable. This colour-coded system would come in very handy for gaming out your setlists.
Sounds can be edited and arranged via Stomp Mode, Rig Mode, Hybrid Mode, Setlist Mode, or Song Mode, all of which can be changed by holding down the top-right footswitch. There is a Hands-Free mode that allows you to adjust parameters via the expression pedal. Prime offers gapless preset switching with reverb and delay tails sustaining as you change sounds.
Prime also includes a “best-in-class” looper. There is a lot to back this claim up. Each loop has a maximum time of five minutes, and it can hold up to 20 minutes of layered audio at a time. Loops can be saved as .WAV files and exported via USB. You can alternatively download .WAV files to the unit and use the looper as a backing track. The looper’s MIDI sync capability allows you to sync it with other external devices, such as a drum machine.
All this functionality is underpinned by a multi-core processor. The unit itself is steel. Connectivity is up to the minute, with wi-fi, Bluetooth, MIDI, USB all available. There is a stereo effects loop, stereo XLR outputs, a mic input with level, a 1/4” external amp output, and a 1/8” headphones output.
For more details, head over to HeadRush FX. For more demos, see below.