Effects unit

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Effects units are electronic devices that alter how a musical instrument or other audio source sounds. Some effects subtly "color" a sound, while others transform it dramatically. Effects can be used during live performances (typically with electric guitar, keyboard, or bass) or in the studio. While most frequently used with electric or electronic instruments, effects can also be used with acoustic instruments and drums.[1][2] Examples of common effects units include wah-wah pedals, fuzzboxes, and reverb units.[3]

Effects units come in several formats, the most common of which are the "stompbox" and the "rackmount". A stompbox (or "pedal") is a small metal or plastic box placed on the floor in front of the musician and connected to his or her instrument. The box is typically controlled by one or more foot-pedal on-off switches and contains only one or two effects. A rackmount is mounted on a standard 19-inch equipment rack and usually contains several different types of effects.[4]

While there is currently no consensus on how to categorize effects, the following are six common classifications: dynamics, time-based, tone, filter, pitch/frequency and feedback/sustain.[5][6]


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