We are always intrigued when we see new pedals on the display boards participating in our Stompbox Exhibits, and this year we noticed this not entirely familiar device on the Neunaber Audio board. We asked company owner Brian Neunaber a few questions about it.

We noticed this USO (Unidentified Stomping Object) on your board at the Los Angeles Stompbox Exhibit, can you tell us what it is?

It’s an evolution of the XD-1 (this is a codename) that we showed at NAMM in January of this year. We are still working on the final name, graphics, and algorithm tweaks. Otherwise, this prototype is fairly representative of the final version, which will be launched at the upcoming NAMM show with availability in early February. This is our only new release for NAMM.

It looks very different! What brought you to add an extra knob and an extra footswitch?

Since we do not have the capability in-house to create enclosures, getting prototype enclosures is rather difficult for us. Therefore, I decided to put the first prototype (essentially a proof-of-concept) in the same enclosure that we use for the Immerse. This is why it only had one footswitch and 5 knobs. It was always my intent to add the second footswitch and potentially other functionality.

Could you remind us what it does?

It’s a very versatile digital overdrive based on a multistage, dynamic gain architecture that delivers very amp-like tones from sparkling clean to heavy distortion and anything in between.
An integrated soft-knee compressor constrains the drive level for smooth, consistent tone, and an adjustable noise gate keeps it quiet.
A selectable output-compensation filter allows XD-1 to be used with a cab sim, amp, or direct (with internal cab sim).
Three-band EQ with pre-gain high-pass (tightness) and post-gain low-pass (presence) enables a plethora of tonal options.
Presets — selectable between 1 and 6 — can be stored for quick recall via the footswitch. Up to 24 presets may be recalled using a MIDI controller. All controls are accessible using a MIDI controller.

Could you describe the functionality of the engage/hold footswitch?

As shown on the prototype, it’s a little confusing. We’re still working on how best to label these knobs and switches, which I hope will make it more clear.

The Engage switch functions as engage/bypass (as you may expect). In addition, when you hold this switch down, you can access the alternate controls on the 4 outer knobs, which are:
  • noise gate threshold (upper left knob)
  • select whether using with external speaker/sim, amp, or internal speaker sim (upper right knob)
  • pre-gain high-pass filter / “tightness” (lower left knob)
  • post-gain low-pass filter / “presence” (lower right knob)
I added these alternate controls because I wanted to add more flexibility without adding more knobs and making the unit larger. I think these particular 4 controls will not be accessed as often as the others, so the fact that they are a little more difficult to access shouldn’t be a big deal. Also, everything can be saved to a preset once dialed in, making it easy to change between different settings.
What makes you think it will make guitarists go: “I need that!”?

It sounds fantastic and is super versatile, all in a small package.

Check out how it sounds in the videos below.