Behringer FX600 Multi-effects Pedal: Second Year Review

Whether it is in life, music or the YouTube scene, two years is a lot of time. I first brought my Behringer FX600 in late 2015, trying to complement the rather limited sonic palette offered by my volcas. At the time I made a small demo video of it with the volca keys. I was particularly impressed by the chorus and delay effects. I also enjoyed the pitch shifter, but ended up never using it ever in my productions. I also remember finding the phaser to be a little bit too shy, an the flanger to be as annoying as any other flanger out there.

However, time comes and goes, and I grabbed this pedal on a number of occasions. For example, when preparing my Berlin School Experiment no 4 I initially planned to use the Nux Time Core tempo-sync’ed to the sequencer. However I forgot to unlock the “tone lock” memory of the Nux Time Core and, not being able to realise my mistake, I went forth recording the video with an un-synced delay from the FX600. I also used it on my Microbrute through guitar pedals video, which is still one of my favourites.

The Behringer FX600 is a silver grey pedal that shares its chassis design with the other Behringer pedals from the 600 series. Although it feels significantly more sturdy than some of my older Behringer pedals, it is still a plastic box with a relatively fragile stomp switch. Good enough for the keyboard player that seeks some nice effects on a budget, but perhaps not the most rugged effects processor on the market.

On the top of the front panel you have four knobs to control the pedal: MIX, PAR 1, PAR 2, and MODE. The first and last ones are pretty self-explanatory: MIX controls the wet/dry mix and MODE selects which effect is being used. Then, each effect has two controllable parameters which can be tuned in using the two PAR knobs. The stomp switch is only an on/off affair without the possibility to tap the tempo for delays or modulation effects. The isn’t even a tails switch that would allow you to cut the effects for new notes without loosing the delay tail of the previous notes.

The FX600 offers three modulation effects (flanger, chorus and phaser), a very basic stereo delay (which sounds almost like a ping pong delay when using only input A), a tremolo effect with square or triangle modulation and a pitch shifter. The three modulation effects share the same controls, with PAR 1 controlling the modulation depth, and PAR 2 handling the modulation speed. The chorus is particularly good and can easily replace one of the many chorus pedals you may find in the same price range. On the other hand, neither the flanger nor the phaser impressed me. Neither has the presence I expect from this kind of effects. I can live with a subtle phaser, and it does a decent job if you push the MIX knob close to maximum. However, I enjoy flangers that mangle the sound almost into unrecognisable madness. In this regard, the extreme flanger vocabulary of the FX600 is pretty limited.

The delay effect is quite interesting. It is a normal stereo delay when you plug it using both A and B inputs, but acts like a Ping-Pong type delay when using only input A. For the delay, PAR 1 controls the delay time, while PAR 2 sets the amount of feedback (how many times the signal gets repeated before fading away). One annoying thing about this delay¬† is that the sound does not change smoothly when making changes to the delay time, and instead of a continuous pitch-shift, you get some mangled digital distortion. This might be interesting for some people, but it is not my cup of tea. Moreover, there isn’t a way to have the delay tail when hitting the stomp pedal, but the DSP still continues to process the delay, and you can still come back to the tails if you press the stomp pedal again quickly enough. Again, this comes as a severe limitation on the possibilities offered by the pedal: not only you don’t get some tails on top of which you can preform with the dry sound, you risk getting the tail of your last delay coming up when preparing the next phrase to put through delay.

The tremolo effect is a simple affair, with PAR 1 controlling the modulation depth and PAR 2 switching between a triangle and a square wave for the modulation. It is a simple, but effective, mode, tat allows you to go from adding only subtle variations in volume for enhanced expressiveness, to chopping your sound into small pieces, like the slicer FX on the Electribe 2.

Finally, the Pitch Shifter mode adds a second layer of slightly detuned sound to your dry signal. In this mode, PAR 1 acts as a coarse tuning knob, allowing from -12 to +12 semitones (with the wet signal matching the tune of the dry one when the knob is at the 12 o’clock position). You can perceive the changes in tune quite well when adjusting this knob, so even without marking on the pedal, you can always count the semitones to know were your thirds, fourths and fifths are. In its turn, PAR 2 acts as a fine tune knob, allowing adjustments to the pitch of the wet signal within the -1 to +1 semitone range. Again, this knob does not affect the pitch of the wet signal when put in the 12 o’clock position.

One final word to mention that changing modes in the middle of a performance is ill-advised. Not only will it cut the tails of the previous effect, it can also generate a small pop or click sound. that being said, I still think this is quite an useful pedal, specially for the musician on a budget, or perhaps even for the touring musician (they are small and cheap enough, so you can buy and carry a spare with you). It offers a nice selection of useful effects at an affordable price and without too much complexity when it comes to the user interface. If you are interested in buying one of these, you can buy it from amazon for about $35 (US), or you can follow the listings on ebay, were you may find it much cheaper as a second hand unit (or about $35 for a new unit, but perhaps closer to your location).

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