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  • EHX Holy Stain Pedal at Pony Music
  • EHX Holy Stain Pedal at Pony Music

Electro Harmonix Holy Stain Multi Effects Pedal

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Product Description

Electro-Harmonix Holy Stain Distortion/Reverb/Pitch/Tremolo Multi-Effect

The first multi-effect pedal from Electro-Harmonix! Righteous possibilities emerge when you combine a kaleidoscope of effects: Reverbs, Pitch Shifting, Tremolo, pure analog drive and fuzz. The brilliance of the Stain lies in the dynamic interaction of its controls. Invent brilliant tonal combinations.

Holy Stain: the first multi-effect pedal from Electro-Harmonix. The Holy Stain is comprised of two stages: an analog distortion and a DSP. Two types of distortion are available: Fuzz and Drive. There are four DSP functions: Room Reverb, Hall Reverb, Pitch Shift and Tremolo. You can choose from one distortion mode and one DSP mode at a time or bypass either stage. Please read further to learn how to fully operate your Holy Stain.



The Distortion section of the Holy Stain is made up of 4 controls: DIRT, COLOR, TONE and VOLUME. DIRT and COLOR are both rotary switches while TONE and VOLUME are rotary potentiometers. 

The DIRT control allows you to change the type of distortion from Clean to Fuzz to Drive. The Drive setting gives you a smooth distortion. The Fuzz setting is a harder edged distortion compared to the Drive setting. Use the Clean setting to bypass the distortion. Please note: the Clean setting is part of the distortion circuit so you may still hear a little grit when set to Clean. 

The Holy Stain has two controls to help tailor your distortion’s tone: COLOR and TONE. The COLOR switch subtly changes the character of the distortion using three settings: Bright, Dark and Warm. Use the Bright setting for a full frequency distortion. Choose the Dark setting to cut high frequencies for a smoother distortion. The Warm setting is somewhere in between the other two giving a rounder distortion. Please note: when DIRT is set to Clean, the COLOR switch has no effect on the tone except that in Warm mode your sound may be slightly distorted, depending on the volume of your pickups. The TONE knob is a drastic tone control that, when set to extremes, will allow you to emphasize the highs or lows. Set TONE to the middle for a nice, even, full frequency sound.

The VOLUME control sets the overall output volume from the distortion stage. The output of the distortion stage is sent directly into the input of the DSP.


The two reverb settings are excellent sounding, easy-to-use reverbs. The primary difference between the Room and Hall reverbs is the pre-delay time. The Hall setting has a longer pre-delay as compared to the Room. Pre-delay is the delay time between playing a note and hearing the onset of the reverb effect.

All four DSP functions allow you to change their sound using the AMOUNT knob. The AMOUNT knob’s function changes with each setting. For the two reverbs: the AMOUNT knob sets the reverb time or length of reverb tail. As you turn the AMOUNT knob clockwise the reverb time will increase.

The MIX knob sets the balance between the output of the distortion circuit and the output of the DSP. When the MIX knob is set to fully counter-clockwise you will hear only distortion, no DSP. When the MIX knob is set fully clockwise you will hear the direct output of the DSP which may include the distortion that is present at the DSP’s input. 

Press the MODE Footswitch to cycle through the 4 DSP modes.


In Pitch Shift mode, the Holy Stain will change the pitch of the note you play up to a 3rd and down to a 4th. This means that when the AMOUNT knob is set to the full clockwise position, if you play a C note on the guitar, the Holy Stain will shift that note up to an E. If the AMOUNT knob is set to full counter-clockwise, the Holy Stain will shift the C note down to a G.  

In Pitch Shift mode, the AMOUNT knob sets the pitch shift amount. When AMOUNT is set to 12 o’clock, you will hear practically no pitch shift. As you turn the knob in the clockwise direction, your notes will shift up. As you turn AMOUNT counter-clockwise your notes shift down. The AMOUNT knob, in Pitch Shift mode, is continuously variable from - a 4th to + a 3rd. It does not change the pitch in discrete steps. Set the AMOUNT knob to somewhere around 12 o’clock to double or thicken your sound without changing the pitch. 

The MIX knob controls the volume of your original note versus the volume of the pitch shifted note. To hear an equal balance between original and pitch shifted notes, turn the MIX knob to 12 o’clock.  To hear only the pitch shifted notes, turn MIX to its fully clockwise position.


The Tremolo effect in the Holy Stain is a simple tremolo effect with some reverb thrown in. As you turn the AMOUNT knob clockwise, the rate of the tremolo effect will quicken and the amount of reverb will increase.  

The MIX knob controls the depth of the Tremolo effect. As you turn the MIX knob clockwise you will hear more Tremolo. Turn the MIX knob to its maximum setting for maximum Tremolo. 


DIRT Switch - Switches between CLEAN, FUZZ and DRIVE. Use this switch to change the type of distortion. Set it to CLEAN to bypass the distortion.

COLOR Switch - Switches between BRIGHT, DARK and WARM. Use this switch to make subtle changes to the character of your distortion. Please note: when DIRT is set to CLEAN, the WARM setting of the COLOR switch may produce some distortion.

TONE Knob -  Use this control to drastically change the sound of your distortion. As you turn the TONE knob counter-clockwise from its middle position, the bass response will increase and treble will decrease. As you turn the TONE knob clockwise from the middle, the treble response will increase and bass will decrease. Turn TONE to the middle position to obtain an even frequency response. 

VOLUME Knob -  Sets the output level of the distortion stage. As you turn the VOLUME knob clockwise, the volume will increase.

AMOUNT Knob -  Controls the DSP parameters. The function of this knob changes for each DSP setting:

DSP Function AMOUNT Parameter
Room Reverb Reverb Time
Hall Reverb Reverb Time
Pitch Shift Pitch Shift Amount: - 4th to + 3rd
Tremolo Tremolo Rate

MIX Knob -  This control sets the balance between the output of the distortion and the output of the DSP. The counter-clockwise position will yield 100% distortion. The clockwise position will yield 100% DSP. When the DSP is in Pitch Shift mode, set the MIX knob to 12 o’clock to hear an equal balance of your original note and the pitch shifted note. In Tremolo mode, the MIX knob acts like a Depth control for the Tremolo effect. The more you turn MIX clockwise the more tremolo you will hear. 

STATUS LED and BYPASS FOOTSWITCH - The BYPASS Footswitch toggles the Holy Stain between Effect and True Bypass modes. When the STATUS LED is lit, the Holy Stain effect is active, when the STATUS LED is off, the Holy Stain is in True Bypass mode.

MODE FOOTSWITCH and LEDs - The MODE Footswitch cycles through the 4 DSP effects in the following order: Room Reverb, Hall Reverb, Pitch Shift, Tremolo, Room Reverb, etc. When you first apply power to the Holy Stain, it will start in the Room Reverb setting and the ROOM REVERB LED will be lit. If you then press and release the MODE Footswitch, the Holy Stain will switch to Hall Reverb and the HALL REVERB LED will light. Continue to press and release the MODE Footswitch to cycle through the rest of the DSP effects. 

INPUT Jack - This 1/4” jack is the audio input to the Holy Stain. The input impedance presented at this jack is 100k(.

OUTPUT Jack - This 1/4” jack is the audio output from the Holy Stain.  The output impedance at this jack is 570(.

EXP. PEDAL Jack - This 1/4” input accepts an Expression Pedal with TRS connection. The Expression Pedal takes over the AMOUNT knob so that you can modulate the DSP effects with your foot. To obtain the full range of the AMOUNT knob with the Expression Pedal, set AMOUNT to 12 o’clock. To change the range of the Expression Pedal, try different settings for the AMOUNT knob. Some acceptable Expression Pedals include: Boss FV-500L, Alesis F2, Roland EV7, Moog Music EP2, Roland EV5 and M-Audio EX-P.


To achieve its incredible distortion, the Holy Stain has a very high maximum gain. This requires that both the pickups and cables be well shielded and properly grounded to avoid excessive hum and stray oscillations when the FUZZ and DRIVE settings are used.

WARNING: Use only the 9.6VDC/200mA AC adapter the Holy Stain comes supplied with.  Do not use any other AC adapters. Using other AC adapters, even those made by Electro-Harmonix, could cause harm to the unit, the adapter or you. The Holy Stain does not use batteries.


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