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December 3, 2007 | Reviewer: Claire McArdle
Digitech-GSP1101-smallAccording to Digitech, the GSP1101 came about after many pro players pined for a single rack-mount pre-amp/processor that didn’t Digitech-GSP1101DIGITECH GSP1101
December 3, 2007 |  Reviewer: Claire McArdle
Distributor: CMI (03) 9315 2244

According to Digitech, the GSP1101 came about after many pro players pined for a single rack-mount pre-amp/processor that didn’t take away from the tone that they already had: tone  created from their own gear and fingers. They explained that what the players wanted was a unit that “(Doesn’t) take over my rig like other preamps do.” This required a whole new approach in design. Digitech’s solution and the result of a lot of time, effort and consideration was the GSP1101.  Digitech claim they are able to save the player’s own tone by using the unit’s unique and flexible preamp loop in conjunction with the easy-to-use setup wizard, so that the user can simply configure the unit to suit his or own tastes.  Also, this unit eliminates internal sections that are not being used and places the effects-in-use in the correct order. So, for example, you can have an internal distortion and chorus before the outboard amp.  Digitech say “You’ve worked long and hard to develop your signature tone, we don’t want to take over; we just want to be a part of it” which sounds like a very positive thing.  Let’s see if their claims ring true!

Physically setting up the machine was easy and after simply plugging in a few leads I turned it on.  First off the bright LCD display is obviously going to work well at gigs, where more often than not it will be quite dark. Being able
to see what you are doing is a great start.  Going through the presets,  I did find some variety in volume between the sounds. This is just something you need to be aware of, rather than a real problem. You might be happy on
a softer clean, then switch to the next sound which happens to be a heavy distortion,  and then you get a blaring screech when all you wanted was to test the next sound.  Just a little bit of volume balance would really help this issue.

I liked quite a number of the presets  in the GSP1101 and would use them if I owned the unit myself.  I particularly liked the guitar’s bass preset where my Belman Hornet I was using sounded like a realistic bass.  Often with so-called ‘bass’ effects, they don’t have a believable tone.  There is also a preset called ‘SK8 punk’ which reminded me of my early band days.  It reminds me our band wasn’t really punk after all, but I do like this tone anyway.  

I’m impressed how the unit doesn’t really change the tone of my guitar, underneath it all really was “my sound”.  I found the sounds authentic, which is  quite often an issue with some effects units.  There was a good range of presets and with the easy-to-use controls it wasn’t a drag to write and re write effects. So far, I am genuinely impressed.  

A useful feature of the manual is that there is a quick menu for those who ‘just can’t wait to get started’… a smart move!  Digitech obviously  know their target market.  I know I happen to be one of those impatient types and I also know many others who are exactly the same.

An overview of other components of this unit, among many other features, is that it has over 120 amp, cabinet, preamp and effects models including vintage stompboxes and pickup modelling.   It also contains 40 Tone and 40 Effect Chain Libraries, Global EQ, and balanced stereo XLR and 1/4″ outputs.  The chromatic tuner is easy to use and seems to be very reliable. It also has an internal power supply which is a relief if you are used to lugging around many heavy power supplies.  Also they score more points for having seamless preset changes.  This is a very versatile machine in terms of sounds, tones, ranges over a list of genres and certainly not limited to just rock.  

Overall, the GSP1101 is very easy to use and is able to keep your own guitar tone intact better than any other product I have heard so far.  The effects do sound believable and are very useable.  I would  recommend this product as one you pro players should definitely look at. It’s rare that music product company advertising spin is right on the mark, but in the case of the Digitech GSP1101, I couldn’t argue.

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