Erica Synths Fusionbox Review – An Analog Stompbox For Deep & Dirty Effects

Fusionbox from the Latvian company Erica Synths is a unique stompbox that lets you make sounds sound more analog and powerful.

There are countless effect pedals on the market. From pure analogue to digital ones that emulates analog circuits. Reverbs, delays, chorus, flangers, everything is available from various companies in different executions. It does not have to be expensive. As my last tests have shown, very affordable analog effect pedals from China can sound also good.  As with Synthesizers, the market of stomp boxes has also reached a point where new ideas are missing. Every manufacturer has at least one reverb or delay on offer. Often they sound relatively similar or show only a few feature differences. Other companies are completely porting their software codes from plugins into hardware pedals. But there are also bright spots on this market.

Erica Synths, a synth developer from Lativa released during NAMM Show 2017, a new effect pedal that works and sounds completely different than other pedals. Fusionbox is a new distinct multifunctional analog effect unit which includes several different effects based on two BBD chips. It allows to create delay, flanger or chorus effects. An additional adjustable tube overdrive in the delay output add thickness to the sounds and it includes also a feedback patch function.  That’s not all. The Fusionbox can create also Vintage Stereo Ensemble effects that can’t be found in other effects unit. An additional low pass filter gives you even more sound design options.

Unboxing 

If you buy a new device as musician, whether it’s an instrument or an effect, it’s always an exciting moment to unpack the device for the first time. In the brown, somewhat unspectacular packaging is the fusionbox, a short but well readable manual with all necessary informations as well as small useful tips. So that the device gets power, there is also a PSU cable included. The developer advise clearly in the manual to use the included PSU cable. In practice, the cable proved that it was to short and I thought it was necessary to extend the length of it with an extension cable. Often sockets are move on a unfavourable places in the studio and thus this PSU cable would not be enough long for such situations.

That not all. They have added also an Erica Synths sticker in the box. Stickers must not be missing and make every synth head happy. Dear KORG and Roland, take a look at Erica Synths and pack cool stickers in future in your boxes. That would be cool.

Overview 

The device is very simple in the design and has the classic Erica Synth design language in the colours black and white. What I like very much here is that the whole device follow the philosophy of the “One Knob Per Function”. This means every function has its own knob and the developer avoid to build in a display with sub-menus or sub functions. So you get direct access to the features. There are many instruments or even effects that sounds wonderful but are difficult to use as they work with menus and a display. Especially in the Eurorack world, such concepts with menus are not very welcome since users like to have a knob per function. Everything should be tangible and not hidden in menus. The Fusionbox interface has 8 knobs and two sliders. Visually, the device is embellished in the middle with an opening where the tube protrudes. This lights organge/red when the unit is switch on. It gives the device a very cool and makes it very unique compared to other effect boxes.

The audio connections hide as usual on the back side of the unit. On the right side, there is a 12V power supply input and as already said the matching PSU is included in the package. Than you have an ON/OFF slider, an extra gain rotary control with which one can increase the level input of the instrument. You can amplify the input with up to +48db and for some instruments it’s necessary to raise the input level. With the +48db feature, you an even plugin guitars in the Fusionbox.

Next you have a mono input for a 6.35 mm instrument cable. During my test, I missed a second mono input, so that we can use it as stereo input with two mono inputs. Design technically, there enough space on the device to add a second mono input. Than you have an FX loop jack input that gives you the possibility to use it as an FX insert effect. Beside this, you have a footswitch jack input which gives you the option to use a footswitch by bypassing. An clever and excellent feature for live performances. On the absolute right side, you have two balanced line outputs.

The case is made of aluminium and feels very solid. The build knobs and sliders are by no means cheap made and have a nice grip. The gripping and turning after a knob on the Fusionbox is simply fun and doesn’t feel unpleasant. The whole thing reminds me of the feeling of the Moog Synthesizer knobs. Praise to the Erica Synths team for this excellent haptic. I enjoy every minute I spend with this well designed. interface. 

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