I’ll admit it—when I first saw the Soul POG announcement, the pairing didn’t quite make sense. Or at least not as much sense as, say, the EHX Turnip Greens, which, name notwithstanding, serves up a sensible selection of overdrive and reverb—a pedal I could absolutely use in a grab-and-go situation.
Overdrive and octave in the same box, though? Quite the curious combo. But alas, when the Soul POG landed on my doorstep, I did my best to keep an open mind. And I’m glad I did.
Mmmmmm . . . tasty.
The first half of the Soul POG features the award-winning Soul Food overdrive. You’re probably familiar with it by now, but if not, know that it’s beloved by budget-conscious tone hunters the world over as a “transparent” overdrive with tons of headroom, clarity and nearly unparalleled touch responsiveness.
Now, when it comes to Klon-type circuits, I prefer them as clean or slightly dirty boosts, so it didn’t take long to dial in just the right sound. And with only three knobs—Volume, Drive and Treble—it’s easy to understand why.
Of course, the Soul Food has more than enough gain to cover a wide range of riffage, but I like it best loud, bright and with a hint of grit.
How Do You Like Your Octaves In The Morning?
The other half is loaded with polyphonic octave experience of the Nano POG.
If you aren’t familiar with the Nano POG (or any of the other forms it takes), it features volume controls for your dry signal, as well as octaves above and below each note you play. Being polyphonic, tracking is fast and flawless, and it handles chords without glitching. So if you want to emulate a 12-string guitar, add some organ-like swells or just introduce some extra depth and dimension to your sound—Nano POG is just the ticket.
And the version on the Soul POG ups the ante with a new Mode switch that changes how the upper octave responds to your playing.
Turned off, it’s standard Nano POG. EHX suggests you use this mode for faster, single note runs—and it works great for that. With the Mode toggle engaged though, the upper octaves ring with “enhanced harmonics and improved polyphonic capabilities.”
I spent a lot of time comparing the two modes and did find that chordwork was much more pleasant to the ear with the Mode switch engaged. Words to describe it would be smoother, more articulate and slightly more compressed.
When Our Powers Combine
The two effects in the Soul POG can be used independently, but what’s the fun in that? Especially when a toggle on the top of the pedal allows you to change the order of which effect comes first.
The tone is cleaner and more defined—especially with the gain up—when the Soul Food is first. It seems that overdriving octaves is a little more dense than adding octaves to overdrive. Both are useful though, and which works best for you will likely depend on the situation and your personal preference.
One of my favorite things on the pedal is the integration of an effects loop, which allows you to put other pedals in between the Nano POG side and the Soul Food side. This feature directly responds to my primary concern with the pedal and adds a ton of versatility.
For my tests, I first tried a ripping fuzz in the loop. It sounded great with a healthy dose of lower octave mixed in and then, thanks to the effect order toggle, I was able to choose whether I wanted to slam the Soul Food into the front side to add more gain and saturation, or follow the fuzz for more volume.
I found several other interesting uses with delay and tremolo, but the Soul POG can be as fun and flexible as you want.
What we like
This might sound silly, but I love the jack placements of the effects loop. On some pedals, it seems like the designer didn’t think all the way through where the extra jacks should go, but on the Soul POG, they make perfect sense.