When you keep stacking newer pedals on your pedalboard for years on end, you are left with a pedalboard that cannot hold anything else. Then the dilemma kicks in – should you or should you not substitute your beloved stompbox with a newer, more interesting option. You start having fears that do not seem to go away and you are stuck in a way. The only way to add some more effects to your rig is by exploring hybrids and two-in-one deals. Though many of you might be skeptical of those, you can stay assured that you have nothing to worry about. More often than not, such stompboxes do a pretty good job at creating both effects and delivering user-friendly performance. Since it was about time to review a pedal that satisfies these criteria, today I am going to talk about Valeton EP-1 – a fantastic wah that doubles as a volume pedal. The concept of combining the two is not new by any means, but this time we have it in a very affordable package. What can be better than purchasing two different effects under 100 bucks? Nothing much. Let’s get into details, discuss all the important factors and see if this unit is truly as capable as it promises to be.
I am a huge believer that everything in this world can be assessed in comparison to something else. We can perceive white just because we know black, we can understand what is good since we know the bad. What I am trying to imply is that musical apparatus works in the same way. We judge everything in relation to other units. I am underlining this because sometimes we tend to forget this factor and, thus, have inaccurate interpretations. Valeton EP-1 is a relatively versatile pedal if we compare it to the rest of the market. As it combines wah and volume, it offers diverse options to work with. It has interesting and distinctive design with smaller footprint and blue enclosure. The build quality is not the best here, since the shell is comprised with the combination of plastic and zinc. However, it still seems sturdy enough to withstand careful utilization for a long time. It is extremely lightweight, to the point where you will not even notice that you are holding it. What is more, Valeton EP-1 has an LED that shines green or red depending on the mode. This pedal allows you to switch between volume or wah with footswitch, making the whole process accessible on the fly. Keep in mind that it is not true bypass, so some tonal loss might occur depending on your chain. Since EP-1 is active, it requires an adapter in order to operate. This does also mean that you will not have any problems with impedance, which is a nice addition to the whole thing. You will probably need to get some rubber feet to make it more stable and secure. On the whole, the feature section of Valeton EP-1 is impressive if you consider the price point.
And here we are, in the section that probably will not give you any new information. If you have played with volume pedals before, you will know everything I am about to say. If not, you are my hope that I am not wasting neither mine nor my readers’ time. Anyway, this is the part of Valeton EP-1 which is not steeped with options and possibilities. You get a standard package that is comprised of two main controls. Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as it is rather common for such units. Let’s see what we got here.
Valeton EP-1 offers two controls over your tone. The first and the main one here is the pedal i.e. taper that you have to move upwards and downwards in order to change the settings of your sound. It goes from low to high gradually and allows for subtle modifications. The next control here is the footswitch, located under the rocker. You have to press the pedal hard enough to activate the switch in order to change the modes. You can keep this unit in volume mode and depress the footswitch when you want some wahs in your performance. Such configuration is quite convenient, since you do not have to search for the knobs just to alter the modes. Great thinking, Valeton, we like it!
As always, I will be 100% honest when it comes to the sound of Valeton EP-1. Though it might be surprising, this thing sounds quite amazing. The wah it creates has a lot of dynamics, but does not get as high as Cry Baby. It maintains its bite and adds a perfect amount of treble to your sound. As you move on to the volume mode, you get the chance to mess around with high and low levels and experiment with the options that swells give you. The results you get out of Valeton EP-1 depend on the rest of your chain and its placement. With different positions you will be able to create different sounds. Since it is also a wah, consider carefully where you want it in your path. Though this fella is not true bypass, it still does not affect your tone too much. Generally, this thing works wonderfully but is not exactly suited for frequent gigging. For rehearsals and small venues it will be an amazing option to consider.
To sum up everything said above, Valeton EP-1 is a nice combination of volume and wah pedals. It is definitely a quality product for the price and delivers decent performance no matter what. It does have some minor downfalls, but that is expected when you pay so little. In that sense, we cannot really complain. The main thing is that it creates dimensional sounds and gives you versatility by providing you with two different effects. If you do not want to commit to a stand-alone volume pedal, Valeton EP-1 might be a good option to consider. Good luck!
Click here to view more from 10 Best Volume Pedals.