We are in the presence of a digital multi-effects/preamp, in the line of the Line6 Pod and company. in other words, it emulates:
- Amps (based on models from Mesa, Marshall, ...)
- Cabs (same as for the previous point)
- Modulation effects, reverb, delay...
In short, anything, it's a small Swiss army knife.
Everything can be edited with the buttons or a PC with the Xedit software.
It has rack-mountable format, 1U, and it has pretty varied connection options: XLR output to go directly to the PA, preamp loop to insert it into your favorite tube amp, midi, and usb.
You could say that Digitech has done an all-in-one unit, thought for live and studio.
In my humble opinion, the preamp ought to be immediately upgraded to version C63 (www.mustbebeta.com) as soon as you take it out of the box. This firmware, developed unofficially, adds super advanced routing possibilities, and MORE IMPORTANTLY it allows you to import convolution cab emulations (IR impulse, 10 banks available).
It's not very intuitive, you need to read the manual, especially if you want to use it with a tube amp, with the 4-cable method.
Fortunately, the manual is clear and editing on a PC with Xedit is very practical!
Effects and emulations aren't too bad, without reaching the level of Axe Fx and company, although the price is not the same!
The fact that it uses IRs for the cabs adds an incredible realism and definition (FYI, live, my amp isn't miked, I only use an IR cab emulation and go directly into the PA).
I play mainly metal, with an 8-string Schecter and a Brunetti XL2 R-evo tube amp, using the 4-cable method. I control this multi-effects with the dedicated Digitech Control2 pedalboard.
FYI, my amp head has three channels and a MIDI port, which allows me to control my presets and amp channels at the same time! Super handy .
To sum it up, I use the preamp of my Brunetti and the cab emulation of the GSP. When you import IRs make sure they include the cab AND the power amp section, because you only use the preamp, otherwise you'll mess up the tone of the power section if you use a cab IR directly.
The result is amazing for the price, bye-bye to mics in front of the cab live! The sound is detailed, clear!
What's more, I was able to edit an identical sound bank with the GSP alone, in case my tube amp leaves me stranded in the middle of a gig, that way I have a backup without having a different sound!
I give it 6/10 because, compared to a Kemper or Axe Fx, it's still far behind, although they obviously don't cost the same!
I've been using it for 3 years, but I thought about it carefully, due to budget, functionality and format (1U).
To be sure, I tested it during a Musikmesse when it came out and I don't regret it. It's robust, it sounds good, and has no latency when changing effects. Add to that the import of IRs for cabs and it's simply awesome for live gigs.
With hindsight, I think I'd now go for a Kemper or Axe Fx, because if you sum the tube amp, Gsp, pedalboard, rack etc...it's almost the same and, especially, much less heavy .
And I think Digitech got that, because they haven't updated it in 3/4 years...The direct battle against Line6 is tough, not considering Fractal and Kemper in the high end.
100% digital technology, 1U rack format
One of THE ONLY amp simulators with preamp loop.
Midi, usb connections (soundcard and editing with the Xedit software)
Comprehensive connection options (USB, Midi, preamp loop, XLR or jack output with the possibility to apply the cab simulation only to the XLR output). It lacks nothing except for relay outputs to switch the amp head or preamp channels.
The use and editing of parameters is very easy, thanks to the Xedit software (but be careful because when you connect a PC it makes digital noise).
It's also clear and intuitive with the rack's interface, but I prefer not to use it.
The effects chain can't be modified (unlike with axeFX), but it is coherent and allows you to cover a wide sound scope.
You have available:
Wah - Compressor - Distortion - Noise Gate - Amp modeling - Cab- Equalizer - Chorus/Fx - Delay - Reverb.
Obviously, with the possibility to bypass the amp modeling to use an external preamp and that's what makes this unit so interesting because the quality of the effects is very good for the price.
Nevertheless, the effects are pretty traditional, so you might be disappointed if you are looking for something more atmospheric and space-like.
I control it with a modified GSP1101, without regrets (not easy at first).
It's transparent regarding the timbre of the instruments. No plops or latency when switching presets.
The effects are well accomplished. Lexicon reverb, the wah is awesome, several good delays... everything is of very good quality. In terms of effects and value for money, this device is wonderful.
Now, the question here, as with any other digital unit, is whether the distortions are up to standard? Certainly not. It's THE unit's biggest drawback. The distortion has no dynamics, it doesn't respond to the volume control and it always has the same tone, it's far from the quality of an axefx or an overloud in terms of sound and response. In short, it never thrilled me and I have never stopped using my Hughes & Kettner Access analog preamp connected to the preamp loop.
However, I'm glad the emulation option is available on this model: It's always useful to have an emulator at hand if the preamp drops dead in the middle of a show (that's real life!).
I've been using it since it first came out and have never had any issues.
I previously had a Rocktron Xpression and it was a real pain to edit things, plus it didn't have a preamp loop.
Personally, digitech has disappointed me because they haven't held their promises and have never updated this unit (officially) with functions worthy of the digitech name that make us drool (impulse response for cab simulations, quality amp modeling). Especially when you know the device allows it. It's a pity for a unit aimed at PROs, which will make me think it twice with newer products of the brand.
This GSP1101 remains a safe bet. I wouldn't hesitate to buy it again. It's a wise decision for a rack.
For the features, visit Digitech's site.
But the Digitech GSP1101 is very comprehensive.
It's perfect for me!
Everything is extremely simple and it takes only 5 minutes to get familiar with it.
Very clear user's manual.
Sound editing is very easy!
Compared to BOSS, I clearly prefer the feel of this Digitech.
In terms of sound quality, I have nothing to add!
It's a good product.
Some effects are truly excellent.
As for the distortions, don't even think about using this Digitech live!
I haven't explored it enough to tell you more!
To be continued.
If I had to, I'd buy it again!
Short learning curve.
Sound editing is very fast and easy.
Mediocre sound quality of the distortions but really good for effects such as delay, etc.
In my view, no multi-effects or rack unit has good distortions!
Or you have to aim at really high-end products, which makes no sense anyway if you have a good amp.
Personally, I only bought it for its effects and comprehensive connection options.
At first glance, the product seems study, we'll see how it evolves in time.
If your goal is not to release an album using exclusively the GSP1101, this product is a perfect complement for your amp.