Walrus Audio Mako Series M1 Mod Pedal Review

Depending on your appetite for adventure, the Walrus Audio M1 modulation machine can look like a thrill ride or a very unpleasant little thing. Knobs and switches, along with the graphics and text that describe their function, are packed like sardines onto the face of the pedal. And depending on your settings, the two bright LEDs can pulse like an entire Fillmore liquid light show stuffed into two little fish eyes.

If simplicity is your muse of the moment, M1 might not be the best travel companion. But before you go too fast, plug in the M1. Turn one of these knobs in any direction you want and play a simple D chord. I guess, as terrifying as the M1 sounds, it only takes one hit to get you hooked. Because the M1 is fun. Lots of fun. And even if you never use its deep and impressive sound-creation tools to their full potential, the M1’s sounds and clever design still make it a cornucopia of immersive, easy-to-source modulations.

Walrus Audio Mako M1 review by premierguitar

  1. Three choir voices: Traditional, double chorus and tri-chorus, each played at different depth and speed settings with occasional adjustments of lo-fi and tone settings.
  2. Three vibrato voices: Traditional vibrato, vinyl record, tape vibrato, and patterned tremolo are each played at different depth and speed settings with occasional adjustments to lo-fi and tone settings.
  3. Three tremolo voices: traditional tremolo, harmonic tremolo, and pattern tremolo each played at different depth and speed settings with occasional adjustments of lo-fi and tone settings.

To hell with aids to navigation! Full speed!

I could spend most of the space in this review describing the primary and secondary functions governed by the M1’s 11 switches, knobs, and toggles (not to mention stereo I/O, MIDI in/thru jacks, and a USB jack for firmware updates). But the M1 is deep enough that it’s best to leave the work to the full, downloadable manual available on the Walrus website. This excellent document is worth perusing before you even buy the M1 to see if the deeper functions are worth your investment. However, if you choose to take the plunge and explore M1 as intuitively as possible, the manual is a well-written map for your journey through modulation wonderland. If you stray too far off the trail it will likely get you back on track quickly.

At the heart of the M1 are six modulation voices. Chorus, phase, tremolo, vibrato, and rotary speaker sounds are all represented with a modulated filter setting. Each voice spans pretty and insane sounds, and each is full of surprises. In their most traditional incarnations, digital emulations of analog effects are beautifully accurate and packed with rich harmonic detail. Secondary functions abound on the M1 and to get the most out of them you really have to study the manual. But one of the best things about the M1’s designs is that if you get into the weeds with those secondary functions, it’s usually easy to get back on track using the pedal’s speed and depth modes. , which gives the impression that it is normal to continue without fear.

Even in small measures, many lo-fi sounds can shape simple modulation in very cool ways.

Dive for pearls

If and when you’re brave enough to explore M1’s deeper possibilities, there’s plenty to enjoy. The main path to this more in-depth functionality is through the tune and adjust knobs and their associated switches. Both controls change function depending on what you select with the switch below. Tweak lets you choose between sine, triangle, and square waveforms; quarter-note, triplet and eighth-note divisions (there are a multitude of subtle rhythmic textures here); or one of three modes for each base program. These modes include tri-chorus in chorus mode, various virtual horn/drum pickup configurations in rotary mode, tape-inspired and distorted vinyl vibratos, harmonic tremolo, and high-pass, low-pass, and band-pass filters in the filter program, just to name a few. On the tuning side, the 3-way switch allows the knob to be configured for tone, wavesymmetry, or “X” function adjustments that include everything from stereo phase effects to phaser feedback and tone flutter. bandaged. If you start to worry about losing your place when you step into these deeper realms, remember that the M1 has the capability of nine built-in presets (easily accessed using the bank A/B/C switch and the two concert footswitches) and 128 in total. presets via MIDI.

Yet another realm of tonal possibilities lives in the lo-fi strata of functionality. Accessing these on-the-fly functions is a bit more cumbersome as they require selecting a function via the 3-way switch, holding down the bypass footswitch, and then using the tuning or tuning knob to add the lo-fi element to taste. Not all of these functions will serve all players. Many of them tend towards the loud, junky, weird side of the sound spectrum. But even in small steps, many lo-fi sounds, like age, space (reverb), drive, and noise, can shape simple modulation in very cool ways. Once set up, it’s easy to mix these textures with the lo-fi button. Don’t be afraid to set up very strange sounds and add them gradually.

The verdict

One of the great achievements of the M1 is that it can serve two muses – the obsessive, mic-level sound designer and the carefree, intuitive sound trigger – simultaneously. It’s not nothing. And Walrus deserves praise for accomplishing this design feat in a compact pedal. But the highest praise may be due to Walrus’ ability to make the M1 so fun and sonically satisfying. And Walrus’ ability to walk that engineering and design tightrope makes the otherwise steep $349 price tag a relative bargain.

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