The timing seems a little odd, given Electro-Harmonix released the similarly sized Pitch Fork last year, but there’s never a bad time to try a new polyphonic octave generator (POG) from the venerable EHX, so I was excited when the Nano POG showed up. Like many others, I was curious as to how it would compare to and contrast with the Pitch Fork, and how it would rate by its own merits; the answers, dear readers, lie below.
Like the larger, classic Micro POG, the Nano POG has individual controls for Octave Up, Sub Octave and the dry signal (it also has a Dry Out, so you can send the unaffected signal … elsewhere). Obviously, this means you can both fine tune the blend of octaves and dry signal, but the controls also allow you to boost your signal, too. Of course, if you want to maintain unity volume while adding polyphony, you can do that, too, just by keeping the control around noon.
The tracking on the Nano POG is fantastic. It’s virtually seamless, and while I think the Pitch Fork’s tracking is excellent, the Nano POG’s sounds even tighter. Interestingly for, say, “organ” pads and keyboard-like tones, I preferred the slightly greater latency in the Pitch Fork—it seemed to lend a slightly less organic response that fits my idea of what an electronic keyboard sounds like. On the flip side, the Nano POG does a better job of copping harpsichord tones (it took me a while to stop riffing on “Live Is Here and Now You’re Gone” by The Supremes).
The Nano POG’s bass response also trumps the Pitch Fork’s. While I have no complaints about the low end on the Pitch Fork (apart from occasional glitches that may have simply been the effect magnifying user error, and perhaps it was the pedal’s latency that made these errors pop), the Nano POG’s lower octave leaps from the speakers. It was noticeably rounder, fuller and more three-dimensional.
Despite the Nano POG’s improved bass response and tracking, the Pitch Fork’s performance is strong enough in these areas that they are more likely to be tie breakers rather than deal breakers when comparing the two. The real differences lie in the other features. The Pitch Fork offers 11 different pitch shifting options, including different intervals, as well two octaves up and two octaves down. The Pitch Fork also has a setting that turns the on/off footswitch into a momentary trigger control. Finally, the Pitch Fork has a jack that enables you to link it to an expression pedal. Those features are all incredibly cool, but the Nano POG’s finer individual control over the two octaves will surely be a real boon to some players: dialing in, say, Roger McGuinn’s 12-string tone on “Ladyfriend” is a lot easier with the Nano POG. Another benefit of the Nano POG’s fine octave control is that the pedal can be used as a tone enhancer; rolling the Octave Up control back to approximately 9 o’clock and the Octave Down to 8 o’clock while maxing out the Dry brought in a lovely top-end chime and a little extra low-end muscle without adding the respective octave’s fundamentals. What’s particularly cool about a subtle setting like this as opposed to a dedicated EQ is that you’re not forced to choose a specific frequency range; the effect is “global.” And, of course, some will really appreciate the improvement in the Nano POG’s low-end.
What we like: The Nano POG offers great tone, great tracking and fine octave control—both up and down--in a more pedal-board friendly configuration of their classic Micro POG.
Concerns: Electro-Harmonix has muddied the waters by offering the similarly-but-differently excellent Pitch Fork. That said, an embarrassment of riches in the polyphonic guitar processing world is surely a concern we can all live with.