There's a moment, a little over a minute into the announce video, where Chroma Console finally starts to make sense. Up until that point it seems like a really excellent, but rather straightforward multi-effect pedal. And if you're familiar with Hologram Electronics at all, you know the company doesn't really do "straightforward."
It starts small. After introducing you to the four different effect modules — Character, Movement, Diffusion and Texture — a hand cranks a knob while someone plays the drums and this doubled phasing tape effect comes out of the speakers. Interesting. Then some text on the screen lets you know that, hey, you can rearrange the effect modules. So if you want everything to feed into the fuzz mode of Character, you can do that.
Then at the 1:37 mark of the video, we're introduced to Gestures. It's basically the same sort of motion controls and automation that you'll find on many modern synths, except this is a guitar pedal. Instead of having to be glued to an expression pedal or implement some complicated MIDI setup, you can just press a button and turn some knobs. This allows you to crank the distortion of only part of a riff, or have pitch shifted sparkles erupt at regular intervals. This sort of simplified automation is all but unheard of on a guitar pedal.
The four modules themselves are pretty versatile, though. Each of them has five different modes, for a total of 20 effects. Character is where you'll find overdrive, fuzz, compression and swell effects to shape your tone. Movement, unsurprisingly, is where modulation like doubling, vibrato, phaser and tremolo live. Diffusion is for time based effects, like delay and echo, including some with that trademark Hologram glitchy weirdness. And Texture is like a dash of finishing salt on your tone, here are filters, compressors and tap emulators.
There's also a master Drift effect which introduces hints of randomness and instability. Plus Capture, which does dual (but very similar) roles as an infinite sustainer or a looper with up to 30 seconds of record time.
Hologram Electronics made sure to outfit Chroma Console with all manner of useful features beyond the effects, too. It's got stereo ins and outs, MIDI over 5-pin DIN and USB-C, expression pedal input and 80 user presets. The two foot switches are also assignable, so you can turn off only specific effects without getting down on your knees.
The whole thing seems like a unique take on what appears at first glance to be a pretty simple multi-effect pedal. Chroma Console is available now direct from Hologram Electronics for $399, though quantities are limited.