Updated on 05.15.2020
Montreal Assembly: Builder Profile
In the summer of 2007, Montreal based electrical engineer Scott Monk bought a bunch of cheap, second-hand microphones from a stranger, in Toronto. Six months later, on December 30th, that seemingly meaningless experience became the subject of his new blog’s first post: he had opened the mics and figured out their design and what was wrong with the ones that didn’t work.
That very episode can be interpreted as the tipping point that put an electrical engineer with a modding hobby on the path to become a circuit designer with his own business: at the end of the day, the only difference between the two activities is about letting people know about what you are up to.
Ten years later, a fair amount of people know what Scott is up to: he builds pedals with a “synthy flavor” under his company’s moniker: Montreal Assembly. The blog he started in 2007 is still the foundation of the company’s site, with links to each year’s posts chronicling the development of Scott’s engineering skills and the growth of his pedal shop. On the right column, a list of “retired” pedals furtherly illustrates the trials and errors that are always part of any creative process.
The stompboxes built at Montreal Assembly are not for everyone: you won’t find a sweet-sounding overdrive or anything remotely transparent in the company’s product roster. What you will find is, in a few words, insane tone manglers, including a white pedal (called 856 for Zellersasn) with so many knobs and switches that will make your head spin.
While tone purists stay away from Scott’s effects, more adventurous and experimental guitarists are fascinated by edgy sounding and creative products like the constantly out of stock Count to 5 (a somewhat cryptic delay/sampler with three personalities, which inspired a new effect niche) or the more straightforward Your and You’re, a “an over the top synthy fuzz inspired by circuits like the “crash sync” circuit by John Hollis, but modernized to accept CV or expression pedal.”
The company’s latest release Purpll is a an intriguing take on the fuzz-synth + harmonics PLL circuit.
If you belong to the category of guitarists always eager to expand their tonal soundscape, you owe it to yourself to check these babies out.
Montreal Assembly currently builds 4 pedals, you can see them / hear them in the interactive gallery below.