No guitarist that is or was a Ministry fan can help but being intrigued by Malekko Heavy Industries‘ stompbox insanity (the company’s owner is the band’s bassist Paul Barker).

Although bit reduction pedals – also called “lo-fi” – are not for all (tone purists in particular), Malekko’s latest stompbox Scrutator offers a welcome upgrade to the concept, making it more musical and flexible than ever.

The “Bit” knob controls the “fidelity” of the signal, squashing it down to a semi-atonal 2 bits, but before that bit (and tone soul) crushing effect many more terrible things can happen to your guitar’s signal, including sample reduction (through the “Rate” knob) and wah like manipulation through a dual mode filter (lo-pass and band pass) with controllable bandwidth through the “Q” knob. A “Mix” knob also allows to dial in the grainy/nasal madness and get some of the original tone through.

What will make experimental guitarist smile even more though, is the capability to control the Scrutator through an expression pedal, that can be assigned to any of the Filter, Q, Rate and Bit knobs simultaneously – in any direction they wish!

With this pedal, bit reduction doesn’t sound like a one trick pony anymore.