“American Sound reproduces the sound of a Fender 57 Deluxe amp, which performs great from clean, driven, and everywhere in between.” So says Joyo.
I can’t argue with that. Here’s my review.
It’s a good amp emulator/cab simulator. Up until a few days ago I had three reasons for my American Sound love affair:
- I can put it toward the end of a pedal board (before reverb!) and then patch the board straight to the JamHub (basically a mixer) and get good, amp-ish sound without an amp.
- Costs about $28 including shipping (Try eBay.)
- Lots of tone options from tube-ish clean to crunchy drive. 3-band EQ. Etc.
But I found a new reason to like the JF-14.
I had my Electro-Faustus Drone Thing plugged into one of my American Sound-equipped pedal boards last week and noticed that the Drone Thing’s usually very responsive (Read: danger of clipping) volume knob wasn’t doing much. Was it broken? Then, after some fiddling I realized that the American Sound was acting as a hard limiter of sorts.
It didn’t matter how I turned knobs on any pedal before it in the signal chain; the output level coming from the Drone Thing/pedal board remained fairly consistent. No more clipping.
I already had two American Sound pedals. I bought a third.
American Sound with a mic?
I’m contemplating running a microphone through one to see what happens. I don’t have enough compressor channels for every mic, and the JamHub’s recordings sometimes skip when a singer is pegging a mic into the red. These pedals are way cheaper (and easier to operate) than a compressor, but I’m concerned about going from the more desirable balanced XLR to the high impedance quarter-inch. Hmmm.
I haven’t tested to see exactly how stringent the American Sound’s limiting is. That might matter, sometimes. E.g if you want to use a pedal earlier in the chain to significantly boost for a loud section, or to subdue a quieter part of a song. …Too much compression will limit dynamics.
I’ll whip out the db meter and get some figures. Eventually.
My Only (major-ish) Complaint
This pedal’s labeling/layout could easily get it a mention on /r/crappydesign. “AMERSOUNDICAN”? Who thought that looked good? Knob labels in a cutesy font, ALLCAPS, slanting this way and that isn’t helpful or legible either.
Joyo American Sound To-Do List
- Test with microphone (DONE: see comments)
- Test limits of, um, it’s limiter (DONE: see comments)
- New paint job (DONE: see below)
- Keep making noise (IN PROGRESS)
Thanks for reading.
Dan Dreifort reviews effect pedals, blogs about UX, SEO, petty infosec, and other stuff. He’s a fan of San Diego noise collective Synth Band Dot Com.
5 thoughts on “I’m a fan of the Joyo American Sound effect pedal. (JF-14)”
Using the American Sound with a mic wasn’t a complete disaster, but the limiter didn’t constrain yelling well enough. So while it doesn’t fit my needs as a mic limiter (which are pretty extreme) if you’re on a tight budget and want to give it an unorthodox shot (guitar amp emulator pedal for vocal EQ/coloring/compression) I say do it, and let me know.
Another note: I plan to tape over the knobs on a couple of my American Sound pedals, and maybe tape over the switch, too – so it’s always on. Why?
In my use case, they’re pretty much meant as decent generic-ish amp sims, but tweaking knobs can have a BIG effect on sound/drive. But I want people to rely on the better and more versatile multiple dirt pedal options on each pedal board for dirt, not on the American Sound.
Now that I think of it, I’ll leave the EQ open for tweaking, but nix ability to change the bottom row of knobs: level, voice, drive.
…This might sound control-freakish, but I regularly host all sorts of different soundmakers and good UX is important, lest I spend my time playing tech support engineer instead of making noise. #synthBandDotCom
Just came across this post. I’ve taken an interest in the JF-14 as I’m trying to piece together a good apartment rig, where I can play electric guitar and not annoy neighbors. I’m not entirely sure how to use the JF-14. I know it’s an emulator/simulator. I want to use a pedalboard and stereo studio monitors, but how do I control volumes?
I regularly plug my pedalboards into my Focusrite Scarlet 4i4 audio interface which is in turn connected to my computer and then usually into Jamtaba for online noisemaking with friends (synthband.com) and strangers. I plug my excellent iLoud Micro Monitors into the audio interface and I can control the volume with a big knob. So continuously, it outputs to headphones to, controlled by a smaller knob. If you are only going to be using one input at a time, you can get something considerably less robust (read: cheaper) than the 4i4, but I use all of its inputs, and even have a second one hooked up to a different computer. Enjoy, and thanks for reading!
Quick followup to my previous reply, if you end up using an audio interface and either a DAW or Jamtaba, there are plenty of free and cheap plug-ins you can use to arguably better simulate amplifiers than any pedal. The boards I typically put into any audio interfaces don’t have the American sound on ‘em. I haven’t used the American Sound pedals since Covid shut down in-person jams.