My wife loves to read. Loves it. Sometimes she reads multiple books in one week – at the same time. We have books lying all over our house, sitting on shelves, tables, you name it. Long after they have been read, there they lay. So, imagine my excitement when I purchased her a Kindle for Christmas a few years ago. Here was the perfect gift, a small, digital device that has the ability to store thousands of books in one place. No more bulky hardcovers or beat-up paperbacks to deal with. Digital books were cheaper, you had access to an online, free library and you could even lend out your digital books to friends at no extra cost. I thought this was going to revolutionize the way my wife read. It didn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, she was thankful and she appreciated the thought, but at the end of the day, she never read one book on that Kindle. Why? I asked her and it really came down to the aesthetic. She likes books. And even more than that, she likes the places you go to get books. She likes the feel and look of them and especially loves turning the pages and moving the bookmark around. No matter how convenient the Kindle was – she wasn’t into it. But, there are people that are.
This is my initial thought at the idea of the Hotone Xtomp – a digital effects pedal that reports to have access to a library of over 300 classic pedals. According to the designer, the Xtomp is, “an ultrathin effects pedal stompbox that simulates all kinds of iconic classic, vintage, and modern pedals through its growing effects library of over 300 models. Xtomp uses an iOS app to manage all your effects and transfers them to your stompbox via Bluetooth.” Sounds amazing! Why bother collecting a bunch of expensive pedals when you can spend way less on a few sound files to represent the pedals of your dreams? It’s tiny, it’s efficient, powerful and serves the needs of all musicians regardless of the style or genre of music they play.
However, I think the Xtomp will run into some of the same resistance that many readers offered the Kindle. Collecting effects pedals is fun. Hoarding them is even better if you have the means. But even beyond that, there’s still the issue of analog circuitry, tubes, buffers and switches that create a very warm, very different sound. A purely digital pedal has it’s place – no doubt. But, offering a one-stop-stomp still seems like a futuristic idea, that although well-intentioned, still has some serious social hurdles in this day and age.
Check it out and if you get close to this pedal let us know about it! Speculation is one thing – getting it on your board and playing around with it is a whole ‘nother.