Alright, so this is a pretty interesting and possibly cliche pedal but the pretentious knobs demo videos (which I love) and countless people in the echochamber using at least one of them has let me to have to pick one up. I know I’m about 3 years late on this being a hype thing but hopefully this review will cover a bit more of the melodic / ambient side of things rather than wild noises. This pedal is capable of doing wild noises, that is for sure, but it’s also capable of really amazing and beautiful harmonizations. I’ll break this down into an overview of what it is, what it does with some sounds and then my thoughts.
Count to 5 is a digital sampler / delay pedal of sorts that comes at a lot of “common” functions in a very interesting way. The core idea of the pedal is that what you play is sampled and then played back in rather interesting ways – these ways include different speeds, different directions or a wholly different order. This all sounds very wild and crazy but it actually is rather intuitive and makes for some interesting playback.
This pedal as expected, contains a few different playback modes as well as the standard – everything goes crazy mode that most of these ambient sampler pedals tend to include. These all do their own thing but maintain enough similarities to stick with the feeling of the pedal as a whole.
This is the most straightforward setting on the pedal, and I’m using straightforward pretty loosely here. The main concept of this mode is that it’s a continuously recording and playing back sampler, which essentially is a delay pedal. This gives you control over quantizing of the playback as well as direction controls for what is being played back. Does a cool job of creating some awesome reverb delay sounds as well as ascending / descending arpeggio style lines.
This more traditional use is where I generally stick, but I know a lot of more experimental folks tend to gravitate towards this ascending melody line style delay illustrated below.
Once we get into mode 2 we are playing with a more traditional looper, albeit in a bit less controllable fashion than most digital loop pedals on the market today. This mode allows you to record a 4 second loop and manipulate how the loop is played back, length as well as where the loop starts. This can create some really interesting modulating sounds – I use this a ton on basically every single recording I do. The glitching playback creates unpredictable and interesting versions of everything you play. I love grabbing the gist of a chord, throwing it through here and then layering it into a composition as a texture. It’s spontaneous and adds some great movement.
The last (although not really last? There’s some additional buried features) mode expands on mode 2 by giving you the ability to record longer samples, as well as changing the controls to allow you to turn on and off different playback modes. This lets you for example have a sample playing reversed as well as forward but down an octave. The quantize feature here becomes really key as this can become incredibly dissonant very quickly.
As usual I’ve jumped into this review business almost immediately upon receipt of the pedal which leads me to be very excited about everything since I haven’t had time to discover anything that could be a pitfall. That being said – I can immediately see why people have multiple of these on their pedalboards. I could imagine a lot of really cool things to do feeding them into each other.
Edit: Wrote and didn’t post this immediately. More thoughts below.
After having this for a few months now I still go to it on every single recording. It’s produced amazing results with guitar, synth, audio samples. Really fun and inspiring pedal. I haven’t picked up the 856 for Zellersan yet but it’s definitely on my radar based on how much fun I’ve had with this one.
I love the way this pedal chops up and reassembles melodies and how it pairs with other reverbs and delays. I’m a huge sucker for anything that creates “randomness” in playing – there’s something about a pedal doing something unpredictable and impossible to replicate that just resonates with me.
Edit #2: Just bought a second one of these, cannot say enough good things about this pedal.