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066 | Matthews Effects The Chemist: A Closer Look at this Atomic Modulator | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Hello and welcome to episode 66 of the Sonic Renegades podcast. We're exploring renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. Up for today's discussion, we have The Chemist by Matthews Effects. This is a one stop modulation laboratory and it is a ton of fun. We can't wait to unpack it on the other side.

Hey everybody, it's Scott Schwertly and Eric Wilson of Siren Pedals with you today. We hope you're having a great one. Well, today we're excited to bring The Chemist from Matthews Effects to the discussion table. Eric, I know you've had this pedal for a couple weeks now and been playing around with it. I know you have spoken very highly of it and have enjoyed it quite a bit. Yeah, so we're just excited to talk about it with you guys today.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, I remember my first experience with Matthews Effects was back when I was first getting into pedals and stuff and I borrowed this kid's board and he had a Matthews Effects pocket drive and then an Architect on there. And I think it was just called the straight up Klone at that point. It was a while ago, but I remember I really liked the pedals and I kind of wanted to pick some up from that point on. I was really excited to get my hands on this one because this is really kind of a deviation from what they started with because they started with just drive pedals. And then I think a Fuzz F, I think the Whaler was like the thing after that, but this is really cool because it's a chorus and octave and a phaser. Chorus vibrato, octave and then phaser. And it's just got a lot of options and you really don't see much like this in this sort of packaging. Really excited to talk about this one.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, it definitely packs a lot in one small size, which I think is probably the most impressive thing about it. If you're not familiar with Matthews Effects, they've actually been around for quite some time and they're actually owned by a guy named Rick Matthews, who's been really just building a solid reputation in the space. And I know for me, Matthews Effects was a big inspiration behind Siren Pedals. In fact, when I went to my very first naim during one of the summer naims in Nashville, I remember going to their booth and just being absolutely captivated by their artwork. Not only the way the pedals looked, by the way they sounded, always just been impressed. And I'm shocked it's taken us this long to actually cover a Matthews Effects pedal, but I know they've been a big inspiration for me and just not only trying to, again, capture great tone in pedals, but also have pedals that just stand apart through creative artwork and all that. Really appreciate the work that Rick's doing on that front on various different levels.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Well and my thing, it's been really cool to watch because obviously, I've been following this company for a bit now and it's really cool to see kind of how they've progressed as a company and kind of how they've progressed as far as design and things like that because you look at the Architect V3 now, which is what was their Klone and it used to just be three knobs, one switch, pretty straight up circuit. And now it looks it's almost a dual circuit thing. It's got six knobs on it, couple foot switches and so it's been really cool to see kind of how they've moved forward into different spaces.

Scott Schwertly:
Oh, for sure. It's super impressive. Yeah, I'm glad you brought up the Architect because yeah, that's definitely one that I've had my eye on for quite some time. Yeah, and this pedal here is a beast. It is what they kind of coin as sort of an atomic modulator for the fact that it can do chorus, it can do phaser. It does that organ style octave. Yeah, I'm impressed by it. There's so much in this little tiny stomp box and it's only 199 and you're getting three great tones all in the small package, which, kudos, hat tip to them for creating such a great pedal.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, I really think it's one of those where it's I've seen this for a while and I've wanted to try it for a while, I just for whatever reason I haven't. And so now being able to get my hands on it and just really playing it quite a bit, it's like, wow, I could really throw this on my board and it could cover most of what I would need as far as any modulation is concerned.

Scott Schwertly:
Nice. What are your thoughts on the organ style octave? How would you compare that to some of the other more popular models out there?

Eric Wilson:
I don't think it's one of those things where it's competing with a Micro POG or a POG2 or a Luminary or something that's dedicated octaves, but if you're looking for octaves to run as kind of a shimmer reverb or something or just some ambient stuff, then I think it's really great for that. And it even does sound really good when you run it dry and just use the octave, but it is more of a organ type of octave rather than just a really fast tracking octave like that.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, I've been super impressed, not only with that octave option, but obviously what it brings to the table with chorus and phaser. Yeah, again, just a solid option for anyone out there. What we'll do now is we'll just go ahead and take a minute or two here and just walk you guys through the function. Because it's definitely more complex. It's not rocket science or anything, but it is more complex than your standard pedal. What you're dealing with here are basically two rows. You've got two foot switches, your standard input output, you've got your expression as well. And a few other things. Eric, I'll let you kind of walk everybody through what you can expect with this pedal because it does take some explanation.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Overall, the pedal looks a little daunting when you first look at it, but it's really pretty simple once you dig into it. There's two switches and six knobs and then two foot switches. What this offers you is two different modulation settings. You have the switches that you can go between cobalt, which is the chorus vibrato, lithium, which is octave and then iridium, which is phaser. And then you have the controls for each of those, which is reaction, catalyst and formula. Reaction is controlling the mix of your effect. Catalyst is controlling the speed of the phaser and chorus and the mix of the upper octave and then formula is controlling the delay time of the chorus and the resonance of the phaser and then the lower octave mix in the octave mode. What this allows you to do is set the top row to cobalt and the bottom row to lithium and then you can toggle between those two with the two foot switches there.

Another unique thing that I think they added with the newer version is that they added an alternate jack out so it allows you to remotely control your alternate and bypass switch from an additional controller. And then they also have an expression jack that can control the formula knob. And I believe the view one has the expression jack on it. Overall it's not that difficult of a pedal. You just kind of have to do a little bit of decoding on the front end to figure out what you need to do and kind of how you need to work it.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, I think, at the end of the day, with the two rows and the two foot switches, I think once you've got that part down, it's pretty straightforward after that. But you've got to just take that five to 10 minutes before diving in to just to get familiar with the structure of everything. But yeah, not overly complex, definitely doable.

Eric Wilson:
No. And honestly, it really does sound great. We'll go ahead and get this hooked up for the demo for everybody. And I'm going to go ahead and use the strap for this one. Running through the Chemist and then through the iridium, I'll try and hit all the modes and let you hear it.

Scott Schwertly:
Awesome. We'll see you guys on the other side.

Eric Wilson:
Alright. That's the Matthews Effects Chemist. It's an all around, it's just a great modulation machine. It can cover pretty much everything I would want in a modulation pedal outside of Landry. If there's one thing I could add to this, which I don't even know how you would, because there's so much packed into this already, but I would add a flanger.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. It's definitely a great option. For a price tag of $199, which is just sort of your standard boutique price. Yeah, you definitely get a lot for that price tag. Highly recommend if you're wanting to get into the world of modulation or maybe you're looking to simplify your board in some sort of way, this thing doesn't take up that much space and it packs a whole bunch of stuff all in one little stomp box. Hard to beat that.

Well, there you have it guys. That is the Matthew Effects Chemist, their atomic modulator, a fantastic option. Fantastic choice for again, any pedal board. Well join us next time, we're going to go back into the world of Electro-Harmonix and we're going to be talking about the Nano POG. I know with the Chemist we've talked about the organ octave effect that's available here. We're going to now explore a pedal that does this on steroids and we're going to be talking again about the Electro-Harmonix Nano POG. Should be a fun discussion if you're looking to get into the world of octave generators, which I believe this is our first time covering an octave generator. No second time because we talked about the Walrus Luminary several weeks ago. This'll be our second look at an octave generator pedal again, the Nano POG from Electro-Harmonix.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, I'm excited about that one. I've always loved octave pedals and just what they can kind of offer to your sound. That'll be a good one.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, definitely. I'm looking forward to it. Well until then, have a great day, have a great week and we will catch you in the next one.

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