J.P.'s Gear Review v2.0 - Ep. 12 - Gear I tried and didn't buy (yet)

 


Life has been hectic lately (as usual), and I don't really have the time to properly deep-dive in a piece of gear and record a full demo. Since I didn't publish anything in a while, let's go with something simple, for a change: Gear I Tried And Didn't Buy (Yet)™.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Electro-Harmonix Micro POG

The POG, or Polyphonic Octave Generator is one of the best octave generator available on the market. It does sub octave and octave up simultaneously, and it does it really well. The original POG pedal was discontinued in 2009 and replaced by the POG2 that offer the same level of control. The POG and POG2 offer 2 extra octaves in either direction, along with a detune, a low-pass filter, and an attack control.

The Micro POG is the smaller brother that offers only one sub octave and one octave up, along with the dry signal level. It's pretty bare-bones and simple to work with, having only 3 knobs. I tested it on bass and it sounds great! It is by far one of the best octaver I've ever tried. There are none of the tracking issues that usually happen on the low E string with the Micro POG. It tracks single notes and chords perfectly.

I reflected for a bit after trying the Micro POG and decided to not buy it yet. I already have an octaver, and I barely use it, and I have no immediate use for another octaver either so it made no sense to purchase it. It was cheap at 149$CAD, though. Maybe later.

Update - 2023-12-29: I ended up purchasing a Pico POG and it's really nice. The Filter control is great to tame the shrillness of the upper octave or do some tone-shaping on the octaves.

Marshall Guv'nor

Marshall originally released the Guv'nor distortion pedal back in 1988, and produced it until 1992. What exactly is the Guv'nor, though? Well, it's a JCM800-in-a-box. The mad scientists at Marshall decided to make the famed JCM800 power tone available to all slightly more people, and thus, the Guv'nor Mk1 was born.

I played an original Guv'nor over 20 years ago and it was indeed a JCM800 in pedal form. It sounded amazing. It was a consignment sale, but the owner asked way too much money and the broke college student I was at the time couldn't even think of affording something like that.

When I read that Marshall was going to re-issue the Guv'nor, Bluesbreaker, Drivemaster and Shredmaster, I promised myself that I will get my hands on one. Well, I did, and it wasn't at all what I expected. It sounds different than I remember a JCM800 to sound. Different to the Guv'nor Mk1 I tried way back when. It sounds... generic? I probably have 5 pedals already that can dial the exact same tone.

Does it sound good? Of course it does. Does it sound 290$CAD good? I don't think so. It's missing something and I expected more out of it. It is made in England, it looks nice, and it's quite heavy, so it might explain part of the price.

EarthQuaker Devices Hizumitas

Fuzzes are my weak spot. I love fuzzes. Fuzzes are simple, primitive circuits, yet none of them sounds exactly the same and it's fascinating.

The Hizumitas is a "[...] faithful sonic recreation of Wata from Boris' crushing go-to fuzz pedal: the Elk BM Sustainar.". What is the Elk BM Sustainar (hint: "BM" stands for "Big Muff", not "Bowel Movement")? It's a "Triangle" Big Muff, basically. Electro-Harmonix' Big Muff is probably one of the most cloned/copied/"used for inspiration" circuit since it sounds so damn good. Change a few component values here and there, and voilà! You made your own version!

This is exactly what Elk did back in 1970's with the Super Fuzz and Big Muff circuits (and probably the Tone Bender and Fuzz Face). Since quality control was most likely non-existant back then, every Elk and Big Muff pedals the folks at EQD analyzed to figure out what to replicate was wildly different.  They kindly asked Wata to send them her favorite Elk BM Sustainar, and they replicated that.

It sounds absolutely great. It does sound different to the traditional Big Muff and I really like it. But it sounds very close to a few other Big Muff clones I have. Usually, the answer to "Do I need another fuzz pedal?" is always "Yes.", but not in that case. At least, not yet. 200$CAD for a Big Muff clone is a bit expensive considering a Big Enclosure Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi is 125$CAD...

Fender The Trapper

I don't think I mentioned it yet, but I really love fuzz. When I saw a dual-fuzz on sale, I just had to try it. The Trapper is an original design from Fender, and, like Mr. Horse said: "No sir, I don't like it".

The Trapper has two voices: the first one being a softer sounding fuzz with a switchable high octave, and the second one being a much more aggressive sound with no control whatsoever. The first, softer voice is the only one with an actual fuzz control, the second one being basically a one-knob fuzz with a tone stack. There are two volume controls: one for each voice, so you can set different volumes. The Tone and Contour controls are global and work on both voices. It's a bit limitative.

No, you can't have both voices on at the same time. No, you cannot blend them. No, you cannot cascade them into each other. No, you cannot have different Tone and Contour setting for each voices. You have a Bypass footswitch, and a Select footswitch, and no other possibilities. Why only DarkGlass and GUPTech are the only ones (that I know of, there are most likely others) that made dual-fuzz pedals with a blend control is beyond me. This is something basic. Give people the option of doing that if you make a dual-something pedal!

Does it sound good? Not really... It may be an original design, but it needs a bit more love from the engineering team. The first voice is very middle-of-the-road. It has no personality. The second voice is just... just too much. It's way too harsh and it's unpleasant to listen at. At 190$CAD on sale, it absolutely wasn't worth it.

Summary

The Micro POG, Guv'nor, and Hizumitas are on my list of gear to buy Eventually™. The Trapper, though... Unless I find it at a really, really low price, I'm not sure I want to shell out over 200$CAD (when you include the taxes) for that.

Next review will be a full deep-dive on one of the multiple pedals I acquired over the last few months, promise. My audio interface bit the dust and I had to replace it, so the next review will be about that.

Cheers!

Header image by Freepik.

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