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067 | Electro-Harmonix Nano POG: A Closer Look at this Polyphonic Octave Generator | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Hello, and welcome to episode 67 of the Sonic Renegades podcast. We're exploring Renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. Up for today's discussion, we have another pedal from Electro-Harmonix. Today, we're going to be talking about their Nano POG. This thing is an absolute gem, and if you're looking for a great pedal in a compact size, then that's what we're going to be discussing.

Hey everybody, Scott Schwertly and Eric Wilson of Siren Pedals with you today. Hope you are having a fantastic one. Well, we're excited today because we're going to be talking about the Electro-Harmonix Nano POG. I believe this is only the second episode that we actually are covering an octave generator pedal. So, excited to bring this whole topic back into the mix.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I love octave pedals. They're really great for either using them in tandem with your first pedals or just making your tone a bit thicker. There's a lot of really cool things you can do as far as swells with them. So, I'm really excited to talk about this one and honestly I love the POG, I love Electric-Harmonix's stuff. And so I'm excited about this one.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, for sure. I mean, it's been an absolute gem for me. I know I'm kind of new to the world of octave generators and I actually ended up buying both the Micro POG and the Nano POG, and just kind of seeing what they're all about and really kind of comparing the pros and cons. And we decided for this discussion today to just go ahead and focus our time and energy on the Nano POG. But nonetheless, it's been fun just looking at both of those pedals and also just exploring the history of this really sort of iconic guitar pedal. So yeah, jazz that we're going to be covering this topic.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Well, and with the POG, people have been able to do a lot of cool mods do it. I know JHS did some mods to the old Micro POG. I know people have started doing midi mods to the POG2. People have done dual preset mods to the Nano POG. So overall, I mean, it's a really great octave pedal, but it's also presented guys who like to do the DIY thing and the mod thing with a lot of opportunities to expand it and maybe add some different features that weren't on there before.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, there's such a rich history, including everything from the mods to the original, which was the POG that actually came out in 2005. I believe if my notes are correct, the original POG came out in 2005, the Micro version, which is just basically just a smaller version of that, came out in 2007, followed by the POG2 in 2009, which is basically just the original POG with some yeah, really kind of slight improvements to it.

And then ultimately the Nano POG, which is the smallest of the entire batch, which came out in 2015. And again, that is the one that we'll be discussing today. So, if you take something like the Nano POG and compare it to the Micro POG or even the original POG or the POG2, there are some subtle, slight differences between all of them. I definitely noticed it when plugging in the Micro versus the Nano, but really at the end of the day, all of them are great options. All of them will obviously emulate that organ sound and really just add some nice variety to your tone. But yeah, such an interesting history behind all of it.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Well, and with, I mean, like you said, they all do sound great and they all fit a different need. So, I mean, obviously the original POG and then the POG two, we can probably assume those are interchangeable just because they're kind of both the larger ones with more features and things like that. But I mean, if you only need one setting or whatever, then the Nano POG or the Micro POG are definitely going to be your way to go. But, if you are finding yourself using that effect a lot more often and you need, let's say the presets at the POG2 has to offer, then that's definitely going to be a better choice for you. Or if you need more features, but you don't need that many presets, you could go with the original POG and have that as well. Also, pedalboard real estate's a big deal on there, especially with that larger one.

Scott Schwertly:
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, having both the Micro and the Nano, I do appreciate the smaller size of both of them, but it is frustrating that they, as you mentioned, Eric are a little bit more limited. But, for someone like me, I'm not using it a ton. I may turn it on, on a couple of different songs. And, I actually probably maybe navigate towards the Micro. I think I probably liked the tone of that one a little bit more than the nano. But again, all four of them are fantastic choices.
So yeah, we're kind of like teasing some of this, so let's actually kind of talk about some of those subtle differences that you may notice. So again, we're talking about the Nano today, so what's different from it, than let's say the Micro, or let's say the POG two? From my years, I know the Nano probably sounds just a little bit brighter, maybe a little bit more synthy than the Micro. Eric, what were your thoughts when you were... Because I know you've had variations of this in the past as well so, what have your thoughts been?

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, so I had a POG2 before I ever got the Nano POG and I got the Nano POG in an effort to downsize a little bit and take up a little bit less pedalboard real estate. And when I did, honestly that was my biggest gripe with the Nano, is that you couldn't use as much of the high octave. And also, the added thing with the POG2 that I liked was that it had a low pass filter. So I was able to filter out some of the highest, be able to use more of the upper octave without it getting harsh. But I did find that the upper octave got pretty harsh with the Nano POG. So, that was my biggest gripe with it. I haven't actually gotten a chance to try the Micro, so I don't know how it compares to that. But compared to the POG2, that was the biggest thing that I noticed.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. So again, you are going to find subtle differences between all of these. Collectively, they all sound great, but again, it comes down to that specific interest or tone that you're looking for. And even kind of looking at the collection of artists that use this. Kind of a great example of what we're talking about is people like Tom Misch, he has a Nano, as compared to somebody like Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys or Noel Gallagher they have Micro POGs on their board. Somebody like John Mayer, Jack White, John Frusciante, they've known to have POG2s on their board. So again, just depending on your genre and what you're trying to accomplish can really dictate ultimately the POG that you choose to have as part of your collection or the POG that you choose to have on your board.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Well, and the other thing is if you go for like a Micro POG, nowadays you can almost find them cheaper than the Nano POG, just because of, I mean, there's more of them out there used for starters. And two a lot of guys are ditching them in favor of the Nano just for pedalboard real estate. But I mean, it doesn't take up that much more room. So, I feel like if it's one of those where you're kind of getting into your first POG, you can look at the Micro as opposed to the Nano just off a cost basis.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, I'm a perfect example of that. I actually think I may have gotten my Micro for a cheaper price than the Nano. So yeah, if we can find the right deal out there, yeah that's definitely a possibility even though it's a slightly bigger pedal. Yeah. So, all fun stuff. I mean, again, a pedal like this is pretty straightforward. I mean, you're really dealing with three simple knobs, pretty easy to use. You've got a dry knob, which basically dictates how you blend in the effect. You got a sub-octave knob and then octave up knob. Yeah, pretty straightforward. Eric, anything you'd want to add to that?

Eric Wilson:
No. I mean, the only other thing to note is if you're running like a dual-mono rig or something like that, that you can also do a dry out as well. So if you wanted to send your effected signal to somewhere different than your dry signal, you can do that, so. I mean, that's the only other notable thing.
I will say though, something to look into, if you maybe have a Nano POG, is that there are several companies, guys out there who will do a dual-mode mod. And, I had a friend do this to mine when I had it, and it was awesome. Where basically you double the controls and then you're able to have two different settings on it. So, that's the one thing that I think that these things really excel at is, they're a great platform to add different features. Maybe you don't need all the things that the POG2 has to offer, but you could benefit from an extra preset. Then you could get that mod done. And then you have two presets for your octaves and you didn't have to go out and spend the money and spend the board space on a POG2.

Scott Schwertly:
That is amazing. I think that would be awesome to have those two different settings. Yeah. I need to actually look in that myself. So yeah, that'd definitely be a great value add for sure. So, yeah. Thanks for sharing that, that's a good one. Well, before we actually get into a demo of what this thing actually sounds like, particularly if you are new into the world of octave generators. We've kind of talked about this already, but we'll just kind of quickly highlight maybe just some things that we really like about it. And then some things that we dislike, just kind of start with the negative stuff real quick. And it's not really that big of a deal. As we've already talked about before, I think there is this kind of collective agreement that it is a little bit brighter than the others.
Again, we're talking specifically about the Nano here. But one thing I noticed that was kind of frustrating and I'm kind of making a point here regarding the Micro POG. I can't remember what it felt like on the Nano, but I do feel like the foot switch is a little bit harder than most. I feel like I have to press a little bit more aggressively, and this is such a almost stupid thing to talk about. But at the end of the day, if you're tap dancing and you click on it and you think you've clicked on it and it doesn't engage, [crosstalk 00:10:42]

Eric Wilson:
That's a Micro POG thing, because this is a soft switch.

Scott Schwertly:
Okay. Well, scratch to that point guys, since we are talking about the Nano, you can rule that one out. But that is my one complaint about the Micro so, that has been a little obnoxious over the last couple of days for me. Other than that, I really don't think there's anything too negative to point out. Eric, you have any thoughts on that one or any other flaws that you'd like to highlight?

Eric Wilson:
No, I mean, you covered it. I mean, my biggest gripe with it was just the high-end response on it. But other than that, I mean, things that I really love about it is, I mean, for one the size. When I bought it, that's why I bought it. I mean, it took up a lot less space than what I had, had on my board previously. So that was a big deal for me at the time. And then, yeah, I mean, like we were just talking about the foot switch. It's now a soft switch, so that's really great because I know I've had my fair share of Electra-Harmonix pedals that have that very clicky switch on them. And so I definitely appreciate the attention to upgrade that to a soft switch. So that's a really great change to me. Yeah. That a huge win, for sure.

Scott Schwertly:
And yeah, definitely these pros outweigh the cons. The compact size as you mentioned yeah, are a huge value add, simplicity of use, it tracks really well when you're playing with it. And because it is on that brighter side, if you want to look at that optimistically, it does pierce through the mix a little bit better. So yeah. I mean it has all those things going in its favor.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Well, and the one last thing I'll say is, I mean the biggest pro about this pedal is there's really nothing that tracks as well is the POG. And I mean, I have a luminary, and I will even say that doesn't track as well as the POG does. The POG will forever hold that place in a guitar pedal as far as like how well it tracks with octaves, even to the point where companies like Mooer tried to copy this. Well, I mean, they still do sell a octave pedal, but it's not the same one they used to because there was a lawsuit over it because Mooer copied the software that Electro-Harmonix used to create the... I think it was the Micro POG at the time. But Mooer put it down into like a very small casing. And so those are actually really sought after to do this kind of thing, because it's the same thing in a smaller pedal, like pre the lawsuit.
So that was something really interesting that I found. I know I have a friend who actually has one of those, but I didn't understand kind of the hype behind it until I found that.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. It's interesting. It's such an interesting world with the guitar pedal space. Yeah. All the different things that happened behind the scenes. So, but I guess testament to just the wonderful circuit that the POG is in software, so.
All right guys, well, we've obviously covered a lot here with a little bit of the history. Some things that we like and dislike about this POG, definitely way more in the positive bucket than the negative bucket. So let's go and take this thing out for a spin. We're going to give you guys a quick demo of what it actually sounds like. Eric, what's the guitar for this one?

Eric Wilson:
I'm going to go ahead and use the Les Paul for this one.

Scott Schwertly:
Perfect. We're going to get that set up guys. And we'll see you on the other side.

Eric Wilson:
So Electric-Harmonix Nano POG. It's a great choice for an octave pedal if you've never owned one before. And honestly, if you have owned one before and maybe it's the lower end one, it could be a nice upgrade for you, so yeah.

Scott Schwertly:
Most definitely. And something like this, it's going to set you back about $200. That's for the Nano, it's about 202 on sites like Sweetwater. Something like the Micro POG is going to be a little bit more, about 213. But as we mentioned earlier, the Micro has been around a lot longer. So if you go out on the used market, yeah, you should be able to find these fairly reasonably priced, so. But again, street price, brand new, looking about 200 bucks for this Nano.
All right guys, there you have it. That is the Electro-Harmonix Nano POG. Join us next time. We're going to go back into the world of Boss and we're going to talk about, sort of, the iconic legendary circuit. And that's going to be the Boss Super OverDrive SD One. This pedal is used by a lot of famous musicians and for good reason. And yeah, excited to talk about that circuit in more detail in our next episode.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I've actually never gotten a chance to play one of these, so I'm excited to dive into that one.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, it's a good one. It's a solid choice. And yeah, I can't wait to unpack it in our next one. Until then guys, have a great day, have a great week and we will catch you in the next one.

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