Australian builder Poly Effects got us used to devices that challenge established pedal trends (as you can see from the company’s previous releases). Their new pedal, the Flat V, was designed in collaboration with Florida’s blues guitarist/producer Josh Smith, and it’s the weirdest pedal you’ll ever see on a blues player’s board.
Although it looks weird and complicated at first, the Flat V starts to make more sense once you realize that those strips of pentagonal light are just touch-sensitive sliders for the effect’s four main settings: HPF (Treble), Volume, Gain and LPF (Bass). So, YES, it’s an overdrive pedal!!! But is it just an overdrive? No it’s not.
The two footswitches, marked “A” and “B,” suggest a two-channel circuit, and so it is:
- Channel A is transistor based with selectable clipping diodes (Schottky, Germanium, Silicon and LED).
- Channel B is an amp-style gain circuit with cascaded JFETs voiced after amp valves and synth-style resonant parametric filters.
Now, the two channels (which are stackable) have two “Sides” – or presets – each, which can be accessed by tapping on the big pentagonal Icon in the center-yop of the pedal.
And here comes the genius idea: Activating the LFO icons on the right (sine, triangle, square, or envelope), will get the circuit to alternate the two channel’s Sides following the LFO pattern, creating a special kind of modulation that’s not really modulation but… fading in and out of two different presets!
Needless to say, this trick can happen on both channels at once, which means that you can set up complex interactions between the two Sides and their two presets, with 4 different speeds, tones, EQs, filters and gain settings. That opens up a world of experimentation and innovative tones.
We’ll definitely file this under: “thinking outside the stompbox.”
Check out the videos of the Poly Effects Josh Smith Flat V and go get one if you can!
Poly Effects Josh Smith Flat V, Builder’s Notes
Flat V is a collaboration between Josh Smith and Poly Effects.
Flat V is a gain pedal with 2 channels. Channel A is transistor based with selectable diodes. Channel B is amp style gain circuit with cascaded JFETs replacing valves. Synth style resonant filters shape the tone of channel B.
All presets have 2 sides that allow you to blend between 2 values of each slider. You can blend with the waveshapes, MIDI or an envelope that reacts to your playing. Blending allows very complex tremolo, envelope filter and auto wah style effects.
100% analog signal path with digital control. Flat V has full MIDI control over all sliders, switches, channel routing, blending and preset control. Requires a 150mA 9V centre negative power supply, not included.