I’m a fan of the Joyo American Sound effect pedal. (JF-14)

joyoamericansound“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.

Potential Caveats

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

  1. Test with microphone (DONE: see comments)
  2. Test limits of, um, it’s limiter (DONE: see comments)
  3. New paint job (DONE: see below)
  4. Keep making noise (IN PROGRESS)

Thanks for reading.

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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.