Value For Money : Excellent
Nothing cuts through a mix than proper equalization… separating the frequencies and making certain each instrument sits properly and effectively. This is true of a clean or driven/distorted tone. Bass is no different, and years ago (when I first dabbled in music), I found it difficult to learn bass lines off records as they were buried (muffled and slightly muddy to my ears), and while the vocals and guitar overruled. Today, bassists have far more tools in their arsenal (including bi-amping) and they tend to focus more on a tight punchiness to help bring those low frequencies to the forefront, as opposed to simply working tandem with drums. LiberaToe’s Holy Belly not only is a very effective Parametric EQ, but has four accessible options via a dual channel footswitch.
Holy Belly is a true bypass pedal, and each channel has its own treble, midrange and bass (although the midrange is fixed at 12-noon on the Green channel/toggle down, and for reasons explained below), as well as separate volume controls. There is plenty of headroom via Holy Belly, as I tend to keep both around the 10-11 o’clock range.
Holy Belly does have two different circuits - EQ and Boost (and the boost circuit does have its own EQ function). The various EQ/Boost combinations are accessible via the toggle switch, as follows:
• Toggle Switch UP: Green channel acts as EQ, with treble/mid/bass, and Red channel is an EQ with Boost (full EQ accessible).
• Toggle Switch Down – only the boost circuit is active: Green channel has a flexible treble/bass with a fixed midrange locked at 12-noon, which provides a flat response while tweaking treble/bass for proper tone balance; the Red channel is a full EQ/Boost with treble/midrange/bass.
And so, in effect, and with toggle up, you can have a basic EQ (locked midrange) on the Green channel switchable to an EQ/Boost on the Red channel; or flip the toggle down and you can switch between a treble/bass EQ/Boost (locked midrange flat response) or the Red channel with full EQ/Boost (same as when toggle is up). Moreover, the Red channel’s toggle down has a modest mid-push… nothing extreme, but if you want more mids pushed then toggle down will give it to you. Obviously, working with a full EQ allows you to scoop the midrange (or push it even harder), depending on the tone and needs of the bassist. These options are important since you can set your tone (Green channel EQ with toggle up) with an appropriate EQ mix, then you can switch to a different EQ (Red channel) that boosts a particular tone. In total, you have access to four tones at the stomp/flip of a switch.
This is a very straightforward pedal, but Holy Belly’s build and sound quality holds true to the other LiberaToe pedals I have reviewed – it is a performer! Also note, this is a standalone pedal, but also a module for the LiberaToe-4 and -6 pedalboard switching/routing systems. Both the pedal and the systems should be considered if you are looking for a smaller pedalboard, and particularly if you need to save space on your current board with a pedal that has better control/flexibility than most bass EQs that cost more.
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