The Harley Benton DNAfx PRO was just announced, and it looks like it has taken the original and expanded every feature! Today we take a look at it, and the unbelievably cheap price!
Harley Benton DNAfx PRO: Upgrading An Already Awesome Processor!
We just had a chance to take a look at the original Harley Benton DNAfx, and while it was very basic, it was a great processor for home studio use. So how did they manage to up the specs? Well, Harley Benton has a habit of doing this, especially with it’s guitar line.
Over the last few years, Harley Benton seems to release a product and see how it fares. If it sells well, then the company makes a newer model, and adds upgrades. In no other line is this more apparent than with the Fusion Series. We saw what was originally just a basic Super-Strat… turn into a nearly custom shop level instrument when it comes to features. But since Harley Benton just recently started making better effects pedals and processors, it really hasn’t updated that series much…until now.
The original Harley Benton DNAfx was a pretty nice processor, especially for beginners. It had a cheap price, but it was packed full of great tones that were more than usable, even for professional guitarists. It was lacking a lot of high gain amps, unfortunately. The unit was a real surprise, and the controls made everything very simple to use. Most other reviewers said the same thing that I did; this is not going to replace your Helix by any stretch of the imagination. But it was still good, especially for the money.
So it looks like Harley Benton went back to the drawing board for the Harley Benton DNAfx PRO. Today we are going to take a look at the new features, and see if it lives up to the “Pro” moniker, or if it’s just a slightly nicer version of the original.
The new Harley Benton DNAfx GiT Pro takes the original model, and upgrades it in every area. With better quality stereo effects, amp models, and a brand new editing system, the Harley Benton DNAfx GiT Pro could be your all in one solution for awesome tones. You can load custom Impulse Responses, and record via USB straight to your computer.
Ships in One week!
Harley Benton DNAfx PRO: Features And Specs
So far, all we have is a teaser video from Harley Benton. But we do a have a spec sheet for all of the features, and luckily, there are quite a few new ones! We also have some pictures to take a look at, that reveal quite a bit about the new capabilities of the Harley Benton DNAfx PRO. The original features we loved are all still here, like the metal construction, and solid expression pedal.
While it was a far cry from being a Helix before, it may actually be catching up…
- With advanced amp modelling, multi-effect processor, and IR loader
- Wide selection of amplifier simulations
- IR speaker simulations for recording and FOH applications
- Expression/volume pedal
- All effects can be used in stereo and arranged in any desired order
- Robust aluminium housing
- 5″ colour display
- Channel switching via AMP control
- Editor software
- USB audio recording for PC and Mac
- Power supply included
- 2 balanced outputs: XLR
- 2 unbalanced outputs: 6.3 mm jack
- MIDI in/out
- Headphone output: 3.5 mm mini-jack
- Stereo FX loop for external effects: 2 x 6.3 mm jack
- AUX input: 3.5 mm mini-jack
- External expression pedal connection: 6.3 mm jack
So as far as new features go, the amp modeling has had a bit of an overhaul. I see this as a good thing, because the original unit had some great amp models, so if those are improved… we have a real contender on our hands. The original was only really lacking when it came to the high gain amp section, but even then, the limited ones that were available were all really good. I managed to get some solid Metal tones with the original, and some good lead tones as well.
The speaker emulation was also a weak point in the original model. But luckily, you could just load up your own IRs straight into the device. It seems like the new model has new editor software, and you can still load your own. This is a big deal, because most of us have a few IRs that we really like to use. But maybe the cab sims are better on the Harley Benton DNAfx PRO? More on that later…
The new stereo effects loop is a HUGE upgrade, and the onboard effects can be ran in stereo now! This is a big deal, since the original only had a few effects that emulated the stereo sound. This time around, you can use your own pedals in conjunction with the Harley Benton DNAfx PRO in full stereo. This means your expensive stereo pedals will not go to waste, and it is easy to see what you can do when you look at the rear of the unit:
Looking at the rear of the unit (and I looked through the user manual online) we see the AMP control input is first in line. That’s right, you can change the channels on your physical amp with the Harley Benton DNAfx PRO! This is a really cool feature if you plan on using this as an effects unit with your amp rig, so you can ditch your amp’s footswitch!
The rest of the input/output looks a lot like the HX Stomp, and I am hoping you can use the Harley Benton DNAfx PRO the same way that you could use the HX Stomp. It looks like this can be a stand alone unit, but it can also be integrated into your pedalboard setup. This is a design right out of the Line 6 playbook, and this makes the versatility of the unit light years ahead of most cheaper processors.
The other new feature is the larger, full color screen. You have a big 5 inch screen that is in color this time, and it looks like it works in “blocks” just like the Line 6 units. There are now 5 knobs to control values, as well as a master output knob. This time around, we also have 4 footswitches that control the banks and effects, as well as the looper control. The tuner is accessed by holding down the 3rd switch.
The names of your patches is displayed much larger and easier to read this time around, which was a minor complaint I had with the original. The expression pedal remains the same, but it looks like there are more options for it to control effects. You can apparently stack even more effects with the new UI, and there is an impressive list of effects:
- Wah (auto wah or via expression pedal)
- Rotary speaker (Stereo)
- Reverb with different modes (Stereo) (Room/Plate/Spring/Hall/Church, etc.)
- Delay (stereo) with multiple settings (Ping/Pong, Ducking, Reverse, Tape, Modulation, etc.)
- Noise suppressor
Harley Benton has listed all of the features, and released a description for the unit on the official website. In the description, it was mentioned that there is all new technology for the effects and speaker models. This means these are sourced from different pedals and speakers than the original, so the realism has been improved across the board. Again, this was a complaint I had with the original, so if the quality has improved, I will be impressed.
That being said, a few big changes were made from the original. The main feature is there is no drum machine on the new Harley Benton DNAfx PRO. I know that most people probably didn’t care about the drum machine, but I thought it was a cool feature for song writing. The looper function with the drums let your creativity run wild. I thought that was a cool feature, but it’s been removed, I suppose.
The addition of the midi port is something that was missing from the original, and I wonder if that can be used to control the patches on the pedal through your DAW, like the Line 6 patches that are called “scenes”. If you can, this can be a great live tool for bands that play to click track and use midi live! This can also be an advantage when it comes to recording.
The only feature that I can see that seems like a letdown, is the headphone jack. Why do we have a 1/8” headphone jack on such a full featured unit? It seems like a weird complaint, but I cant see anyone using cheap earbuds with the Harley Benton DNAfx PRO. It just seems a little cheap, for a unit that will be great for bedroom practice.
Going over the official user manual, there are a ton of menu options that experienced users will love to play with. You have options like a patch-oriented tap tempo, or a global option for the tap tempo. This is a deep dive feature, but people like me love to tweak every aspect possible to get the most out of the unit. There is a ton of stuff in the menu that you can control, unlike the previous model with it’s bare bones UI.
The Harley Benton DNAfx PRO can be used as a USB interface just like a Line 6 Helix. This is a big deal for people without an interface, and for guitarists that just want to record guitar tracks quickly. There are drivers that you can download to tweak the latency, since every computer is different. Still, a cool feature that you rarely see on a budget product.
Harley Benton DNAfx PRO: Wrapping up…
Harley Benton seems to be stepping up it’s game at every opportunity this past year. This is exciting for guitarists that are strapped for cash, and guitarists that love the deal you get with great budget gear. This year I have explored budget gear for the first time, because when I was a professional musician I usually had high end gear. It has been really eye-opening for me, and I had no idea that so many cheaper options were out there. Much less, I definitely didn’t know they could be so great! Now… will the Harley Benton DNAfx PRO replace your amp sim library, or your Helix?
Maybe…maybe not. We have not had a chance to check the unit out yet up close and personal. But on paper, this looks like the best processor you can buy for under $300. Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on one and really put it through the paces. If the Harley Benton DNAfx PRO does everything it says it does, this could be a great option for guitarists at any level of skill. The addition of more amps hopefully means there are more high gain options for Metal this time. I suppose we will see!
You can pre-order yours today! Shipping time is two weeks!
When Does The Harley Benton DNAfx PRO come out?
Officially, you can preorder the unit right now. Thomann has stated that the lead time on these units is only two weeks away from shipment. So if you preorder it now, it will ship before the end of the year (2021)
Is The Harley Benton DNAfx PRO Worth It?
The new Harley Benton DNAfx PRO seems to be a huge upgrade in every way from the original unit. It has tons of new features that make it better suited for live players, and studio players alike. Functions like the stereo output, FX loop, and midi controls are all upgrades from the original unit.
Can I use The Harley Benton DNAfx PRO Live?
Yes, you can use this unit as a stand alone device that plugs straight into the venue’s sound system, or with an FRFR speaker setup. You can also use it with your full guitar rig as a stereo effects unit, and even switch your amp channels with the unit alone.