If you scroll through available effects stompboxes, you will notice that there are some exciting ones and there are those that make you yawn as you look at them. The former is usually comprised with distortions, overdrives, reverbs, delays, modulations and all the juicy stuff. The latter, however, is left for the pedals that are more of tools rather than audible effects. Not everybody uses, appreciates and appraises them. It will be hard to find a musician who will jump out of excitement when hearing about volume pedals. Let me tell you a little secret, since I am a perfectionist, I like my sound scrupulous and crafted. For that reason, I am that person who feels up with thrill as soon as someone mentions the newest model of volume pedals. I always hated the limited options of guitar level controls, so imagine how happy I was when I found such stompboxes for the first time. Since I want to share these positive emotions with you, today I will talk about Morley PLA Little Alligator. This fella was built in collaboration with Steve Vai, which indicates on quality right away. Since you might be skeptical of signature pedals, I will provide you with all the reasons why you might like or dislike this one. Let’s begin!
The features of volume pedals are not exactly the definition of versatility. They are mostly judged for usable options they provide and the ways in which you can diversify your performance. What I mean is that they offer essential properties that you can use for many different applications. Morley PLA Little Alligator is not too shy on the quantity of features itself. It has very sexy appearance, attracting you more and more as you play with it. It is black with linear taper and green labels. It is wide, so do not get fooled into thinking that it is compact. In reality, it will occupy quire a real-estate on your pedalboard, so be ready for that sacrifice from the very beginning. This baby has electro-optical circuitry, which operates using sensors that detect your signal. It does not have any pots that become scratchy after lengthy utilization. This means that it will last you through years of usage not because of durable chassis, but thanks to the internal components. It has an LED that displays whether the unit is on or off. Of course, it requires a single 9V battery or an adapter for operation. The battery can be accessed easily by lifting the door of the compartment located on the bottom plate just in case you hate adapters. More importantly, Morley PLA Little Alligator can be used on its own or in the effects loop, which is an amazing addition to the feature set of this pedal. Though we cannot neglect the fact that this unit is simple, it is still quite capable. Its contemporary approach to the circuitry sets it apart from the competition that is dominated by passive pedals.
If you thought that the features were user-friendly, wait until we get to the depth of the control section. What we have here is a typical deal – no extraordinary additions or fancy stuff. But this fella is still a little bit more precise than its rivals, which is something I appreciate a lot with this one. You will find out what I mean in a sec, but before that let me tell you that Morley PLA Little Alligator is very enjoyable to perform with. As you do not have to bury yourself into overcomplicated control layout, you save a lot of time for playing and savoring each and every note.
Moving on to the specifics, this pedal has two main controls. The first one is, of course, the rocker that triggers the effect and modifies its settings. It subtly changes the level of your sound as you move the pedal from one position to another. The second control is Minimum Volume knob that allows you to modify how quiet the pedal will get. This way you can avoid severe abruption of the signal and achieve gradual finish. This encoder can also help you to set Lead and Rhythm volumes. The manual provides thorough instructions for that, so you might as well check it out. And that, my friend, sums up everything that control section of Morley PLA Little Alligator has to say.
As I have mentioned in the beginning of this article, Morley PLA Little Alligator was designed by Steve Vai. This means that this unit expresses his approaches towards sounds and his taste in general. This legendary musician incorporated everything he wanted to see in a volume pedal and that is displayed with every movement. The overall vibe of Morley PLA Little Alligator is that it does everything that it is supposed to in accurate and clear manner. It is quite silent due to its electro-optical circuitry and will not eat up your tone. The issue with this one is that the taper is a bit stiff and does not leave much room for smooth swells. But luckily you can easily tackle this problem with simple modifications in the interior. Once you do that, Morley PLA Little Alligator will be everything you ever wanted and maybe even more. No matter what settings you choose, you will hear the full frequency spectrum. Keep in mind that this pedal is sensitive to your stomping, so be careful with the pressure you apply. If you consider these minor factors, you will be ready to roll.
On the whole, Morley PLA Steve Vai Little Alligator is one of the best active volume pedals for the price. It is well-built and will last you quite some time. It does have some minor issues, but nothing that cannot be fixed easily. If you are willing to sacrifice the space on your pedalboard, then this baby will not disappoint you. Good luck on your journey to the swells from outer space!
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