The Walrus Melee pedal could just easily be the cornucopia of all things shoegaze. The mashing together of distortion and reverb, being one of the main hallmarks of the genre, is of course, the main sonic focus of this pedal. Needless to say, it is encapsulated majestically well here. Now let’s dive into the nitty-gritty!
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Final verdict on the Walrus Melee
Although its scope of tonal possibilities far exceeds the mere ambient sounds, the main forte of this stompbox is a wide palette of different psychedelic-tinged sounds you can dial in.
The design itself facilitates a great studio tool that covers a lot of sonic ground. However, it might not be that user-friendly for a newbie in the world of guitar pedals. Having said that, the interface is relatively simple to use, if you know the tricks of the trade.
The Melee is a truly great studio tool that allows you to create some suave soundscapes. However, it lacks the live situation practicality.
What I like
- A great studio tool.
- Massive amount of tonal variety.
What I don’t like
- The design itself could be more stage-friendly.
- The joystick is too weak to be used by foot.
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This baby boy allows for three different varieties of reverb to be used and ran into distortion. You can further customize the reverberated sound by adjusting its decay time.
The good thing is that you can also tweak your distorted component of the sound. That is achieved by manipulating the tone pot.
However, the real superstar feat here is the fact that you can flip the reverb and distortion signal chain order. That allows for a really wide plethora of sounds you can create.
With further exploration into the controls of this pedal, you will figure out all of the different sound-tweaking options you have at your disposal.
The 2D joystick is the control that immediately sticks out here. Its main function is to mix the reverb and distortion levels. If you move it in the up and down direction, you are controlling the amount of distortion. When you move it left and right, you are controlling the reverb output.
Although it looks cool and unique, it’s probably the biggest blessing and curse when it comes to this pedal. The good thing about it is that it really allows for an almost limitless amount of sound tweaking. However, it can be really troublesome for foot operation. Hence, making this pedal a real studio pet, and not that great of a stage tool.
Next up is the order switch. It is a simple stomp button that changes the order of the signal chain. You can run your reverberated sound into distortion. On the other hand, you can run your distorted sound through reverb, and create a completely different kind of beast.
The volume pot does exactly what it says on the tin. With it, you control the overall output level of your signal.
The tone potentiometer allows you to do some EQ tweaks on the distorted part of the signal chain. It is a handy tool that can spare you some real trouble later in the mix.
The decay potentiometer allows you to further customize the length of the reverberation. This control, as well as the aforementioned one, extends a much-needed helping hand in decreasing the amount of muddiness in your sound. That feat is of crucial importance when it comes to these types of ambient sounds.
The sustain switch is also quite intuitively designed. It defines the sustain of your overall sounds.
When engaged on its own, the bypass switch completely deactivates the effect that the pedal has on your output.
As I have said earlier, there are three types of different reverb sounds you can engage. All of the three are accessed by pressing the sustain and bypass switch at the same time. Conveniently, the small LED lights represent those three different types of reverb.
Once the LED light is shown in purple, it signifies that you are using the hall reverb effect. The yellow LED represents a completely different reverb setting. Finally, the blue LED light signifies that you have engaged a reverse reverb effect.
If you press and hold the sustain switch on its own, you activate a specific type of sustain that lasts infinitely. Another option is to press the sustain switch once and the last thing you have played will continue to sustain for a shorter period of time.
All in all, this is one sturdy built stompbox. Other than the fragile plastic 2D joystick, it is as if it’s built to survive the zombie apocalypse. The high-quality materials were used and they are sure to make this pedal your loyal servant for years to come.
As I have mentioned before, the only downfall of this piece of gear is the plastic joystick which seems too fragile and inconvenient for foot operation.
Who is the Walrus Audio Melee for?
The Walrus Melee is an ideal choice of pedal for any shoegaze-loving guitar player that needs a great recording tool.
Its stage usage is somewhat questionable, so you might consider your own needs and desires before making the purchase. However, for what it does, this pedal is a real never-ending well of great atmospheric sounds that allows for some serious sound designing and tweaking.
Watch this video by my colleague Fabio where he puts the Walrus Audio Melee “Wall of Noise” distortion/reverb pedal to the test.