When I reviewed the ZOIA, I said there was nothing else quite like it on the market. And that's still largely true, but the Beebo from Poly Effects is at least a close relative. It's, in theory, a "multi modulation pedal" for your guitar. But, in reality, it's a digital modular synth that just happens to excel at guitar effects. The front of the pedal has two knobs for changing parameters, three foot switches and a five-inch touchscreen where you build your patches. Just like the ZOIA, Beebo won't make any sound until you connect the virtual modules inside.
The Poly Effects Digit and Beebo are two of the more interesting guitar pedals to come out in the last few years. They feature large touchscreens and incredible depth for designing your own effects and instruments. They're basically virtual modular synths in a pedal format. While Digit and Beebo have different strengths, they are built on the exact same hardware platform and their firmware are completely interchangeable. That meant that, if you bought a Digit you could turn it into a Beebo with the push of a button, and vice versa.
Poly Effects has made quite a splash over the last couple of years with the Digit and Beebo -- two highly modular guitar pedals that covered everything from amp simulation to drum synthesis. Oh, also, the two pedals were completely interchangeable -- you could run Digit's firmware on the Beebo, and vice versa. Obviously, the logical next step would be to bring that small scale modularity to the large scale modular world of Eurorack, similar to what Empress did with the ZOIA and Euroburo. Hector is essentially a Digit / Beebo, but in a 30 HP Eurorack module. It has all the same effects modules, including the excellent convolution reverbs, ports of Mutable Instruments modules and a ton of modulation sources.
This week we spent some time testing Lenovo's Thinkpad X1 Nano -- the company's thinnest and lightest ThinkPad at under two pounds. As usual, slimming things down comes with some trade offs, and Cherlynn Low tells us where the X1 Nano might leave you hanging. We also played around with the Poly Effects Beebo, an ambitious virtual modular synth in guitar-pedal form that Terrence O'Brien says is no more difficult to use than a smartphone. And Nicole Lee let the Amazon Echo Show 10's rotating display follow her around her kitchen to find out if that new (and somewhat creepy) feature is worth paying $250 for. Lenovo's Thinkpad line is known for reliable performance, excellent keyboards and long-lasting batteries.
There's this growing trend of musical devices that try to do it all. They're basically computers that can be effects processors, synthesizers, loopers or samplers. They all have particular strengths and weaknesses, but the pitch is the same: They're a physical, standalone version of the sort of tools you'd normally need a computer and a DAW to take advantage of. The MOD Duo X takes this concept (and the MOD platform) in a slightly new direction. And it's not an effects pedal like the original MOD Duo or the ZOIA.