Words from Lewis Noke Edwards
Pedals have come a long way since those first few attempts at tremolos, fuzzes, and phasers emerged in the ’50s and ’60s
Not only are pedals now a huge part of our sounds, they’re more than just a single-function steel chassis, thanks to massive advancements in technology. This is perhaps most notable in the rapidly increasing power available to DSP chips, allowing pedals to become minicomputers and handle more complex reverb algorithms, switching between different amps, cabinets and rooms, as well as just about any other variant.
While there are brands that have made huge strides in DSP processing in guitar and bass products, a company like Meris is changing the way we approach guitar and audio products, opening the door to a vast new world of computing possibilities.
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Meris is led by three unique professionals, namely Terry Burton, of Strymon fame, Jinna Kim, a multimedia designer responsible for Meris’ unique look, feel and messaging, and Angelo Mazzocco who was heavily involved as an engineer in the DSP Line 6 products .
Meris produces both guitar and pro audio products, the latter being a fine selection of 500 series modules. Firstly, the 440 Mic Preamp is a simple preamp with gain and output controls before some EQ settings and phase, pad and phantom switches. What sets the 440 apart, with the exception of the Cinemag-wound transformers, is the added effects loop, which allows you to add guitar pedals to your recording chain. Easy send and return is available via 1/4″ jacks, so using your effects pedals in your mixes is easy.
Next to the 440 is the Ottobit, a cleverly named bit breaker and ‘Sonic Destroy’ module, again with some super unique controls: a pot to switch between AM/FM signals and LFO depth control, ring mod frequency and more. If cleaner sounds are more your thing, Meris also offers an algorithmic DSP reverb in the Mercury 7. Wide, lush and clean reverbs with some super simple controls to help you find the reverb you’ve never nailed with another unit.
Most recent, Meris unveiled the LVX† It is difficult to compare the LVX with many other products on the market because it is such a unique product that can only come from the minds of three experts in their respective fields. Simply put, the LVX is a modular delay system.
What makes the LVX so unique is the sheer amount of different delay types and parameters available, as well as the customizable (and storable) nature of it all. With the rising popularity of home recording and more and more players understanding the rules of signal flow (and how to break them too), a modular system is ripe for the market.
In addition to standard controls such as tone, feedback, mix and mod/modulation, the LVX features three control knobs, C1, C2, and C3 that help the user dive deeper and deeper into the controls via the dimmable display – perfect for customizing the display so that it may (or may not) be seen on stage. The LVX features some of the best from the rest of the Meris line, such as Ottobit Jr, Hedra, Enzo or Polymoon, which can be inserted into the signal stream at various stages and used along with other features such as the ‘always available 60 second looper.
The sheer level of detail you can use to customize sounds can be staggering, but Meris allows us to control every level of our sound. For example, the modulation alone has speed, depth, type, mix and location knobs, the location allows us to insert the modulation before or after the delay. Similar controls are available for other parameters such as filter, preamp, delay, pitch, all of which slowly unfold into the mind map-like bubbles on the LVX’s screen, starting to show how many levels of control the LVX has to offer.
The delay type is great to start with as the LVX offers digital, BBD and magnetic delay types to give you classic clean digital delay, bucket brigade chip delay or magnetic tape style delay. These are all broken down into configurable delay structures that give you access to parameters that make the delay/s Reverse, MultiTap, MultiFilter, Standard or Poly, the latter being a double version of Meris’s proprietary Polymoon delay.
While most of these sentences are a mouthful, and an eyeful, and maybe a brainful, it’s the sheer boundlessness that the Meris LVX exudes that makes it such a complicated and beautiful beast. That Meris has given users the control they have in an intuitive box is beyond me. It could easily have been an overwhelming and redundant design, with lots of options, but buried them in pages and pages of menus – but Meris made the LVX function and feels like a regular delay pedal – although it offers every parameter you want.
You can dive deep into the Meris at home or in the studio, then save and retrieve them for the stage. Meris brings a unique experience to the table as a company, but ultimately they design and innovate products that are usable for the player. You can swim in the shallows if you like, but if you choose to take a dip, you have a deep ocean of options at your disposal.
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