I’ve never been a big fan of multi-FX pedals. I’m not sure whether it’s the usually crappy, plastic design, the boring generic sounds, the over-complicated menus, or a combination of all three, but they rarely ever inspired me as a guitarist, and they certainly don’t get the creative juices flowing when it comes to other musical adventures.
Luckily, there is a multi-FX out there that doesn’t suck. Infact, it doesn’t just not suck, it’s one of the most interesting, and useful boutique pedals that you get for your money just now. I present to you… the Dr. Scientist BitQuest!
Dr. Scientist is a husband and wife team based in British Colombia, born from a love of electronics, and guitar pedals in particular. Combining their respective talents (and qualifications) in electronics engineering and graphic arts, they produce a bunch of unique pedals – and Ryan is well known as one of the nicest guys in the boutique pedal world. The BitQuest is their flagship model, and is a digital multi-FX pedal that does a whole bunch of different things very well indeed.
There has clearly been a lot of time and care invested into the design side of Dr. Scientist’s products, which is evident even from their beautiful website – which you need to check out if you haven’t already. I love the quirky paint job with the logo on the bottom panel, but also appreciate the details like the ‘Made in Canada’ sticker in the back. Hell, if you dare to open up the enclosure, the PCB even has a bunch of geeky jokes printed on it. All of this stuff is important, as it’s an indicator of how much the builder cares about their creation, and the ultimate quality.
I won’t possibly ever be able to do all of the different modes justice in this feature, or the accompanying video, so forgive me in advance. The number of different options that the BitQuest gives you is vast. Have a watch below to see the various sounds you can get out of this thing with a bunch of disparate devices, including a Nord 2 drum machine, Game Boy, and calculator.
PROTIP: At first I couldn’t work out why the ‘fuzz/clean’ toggle switch didn’t appear to do anything. Of course, I hadn’t read the manual first. Ahem. If I had, I would have realised that when switching from fuzz to clean or vice versa, you need to also change the mode, so that the appropriate patch is loaded from the pedal’s digital brain. Don’t be an idiot like me: RTFM.
The modes available are described as follows:
- High/Low Pass filters
- Bitcrusher + Sample Rate Reducer
- Infinite Reverb
- Notch Filter
- Ring Modulator
- Octave Pitch Shifter/Harmonizer
- Delay (from 5ms to 1 second)
- Standard 9V BOSS type power supply. No battery option built-in. Best to use an isolated/filtered power supply to avoid excess hum interfering with the digital brain.
- The usual IN/OUT jacks (MONO or STEREO?)
- Expression pedal input that controls the CTRL1 knob parameters – 50k impedance.
- Soft-press footswitch. The more pedals that use this, the better, IMHO.
There is a handy crib sheet available for the controls here.
I WANT ONE!
The BitQuest doesn’t seem like the sort of multi-fx pedal that you can quickly change settings on the fly between songs; it’s much more in depth than that, and about experimentation and knob-twiddling. At least, that’s what I’ve been using it for… It has quickly become my go-to device for when I want to add in some quirks to a straightforward synth part, but I’m not sure quite what I want. I’m almost always guaranteed to find something different to throw in with the BitQuest, and for that alone, I love it. Definitely one for the creative noise maker.
Our pals at FuzzMonster have them in stock. Say hi from us.