Turn your guitar rig into an arcade machine with Electro-Harmonix Mainframe Bit Crusher

For any musician, bouts of creativity roadblocks are bound to happen at some point. When it does, it’s always quite helpful to have tools ready to assist you into another idea. Many, in fact, will find that nostalgia can lend a key helping hand in these scenarios. With this said, any kid of the eighties, or early nineties can attest, there may be no greater nostalgic trigger than early home console, or arcade video games. The 2-D pixelated visuals and 8-Bit soundtracks have made an incredible impression on many. So much so, that we have already seen a resurgence of the style in modern media. Now, Electro-Harmonix is here with a new pedal, the Mainframe Bit Crusher, to assist instrumentalists in achieving that beloved crushed tone.

Mainframe Bit Crusher Features

Much like the tone it produces, the theory behind this new pedal from EHX is as simple as they come. It takes the instrument’s original analog sound, and transforms it into a digital-sounding bit crushed one. Keep in mind there is no analog-digital conversion happening within this pedal at all, so while the resulting sound may sound digital, it is just an emulation. Users will find six knobs on the Mainframe Bit Crusher. The main five control overall parameters like output volume, dry/FX blend, and “bit depth” and “sample rate” features. The latter of which, again, are not meant to be taken literally. Adjusting these two, rather, creates a similar effect to what adjusting the bit depth and sample rate of a digital signal would be.

At the top, Electro-Harmonix has also included the option to apply a filter to the pedal. Here, people can choose from any of its three filters — high-pass, band-pass, or low-pass. The two knobs underneath is will adjust the selected band’s peak and assigned frequency. Additionally, EHX provided the option for musicians to plug in an external expression pedal to further control the box, or store presets. Like most other pedals, the Mainframe can run on either a battery, or its included 9V power adapter. It’s advertised list price is $179, and can be preordered through some online dealers, entering retail distributors soon.