Ratings

Pros:
Nice optical vibrato and tremolo. Eight waveform options. Tap tempo. Wet/dry blend. Input jack for external sync.

Cons:
No stereo output. No battery option.

Street:
$199

Mattoverse Electronics Inflection Point
mattoverse.com


Tones:


Ease of Use:


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Value:

The Inflection Point is a new tremolo/vibrato effect from Wisconsin-based boutique builder Mattoverse Electronics. But there’s more here than just basic pitch and volume modulation. The pedal offers eight modulating waveforms. There’s a dedicated tap-tempo footswitch. You can create basic chorus sounds. There’s even a quasi-reverb ambient effect. The Inflection Point is more like a one-stop modulation shop than a simple trem.

Analog, Meet Digital
The Inflection Point circuit has an interesting architecture. While many modern modulation effects employ a digital DSP chip, such as the Spin FV-1, the modulation element here is old school. A large, 5 mm LED shines onto a light-dependent resistor. Twiddling the rate and depth knobs alters the brightness and pulsation speed of the LED, determining the rate and intensity of the effects. It’s your classic optical tremolo.

But the Inflection Point also incorporates two modern PIC (programmable intelligent computer) chips. A Druid Stomp LFO generates the multiple waveforms. Naturally, there’s triangle-wave modulation that evokes vintage amp tremolo. The sine-wave option is smoother and less rhythmically defined. There’s a choppy square-wave setting and two sawtooth settings: one that ramps up and another that ramps down. The sweep setting adds a bit of resonance. Finally, there are two anarchic random settings: random slope, where the trem and vibe are modulated at constantly shifting rates, and random pulse, a choppier version of the same setting.

It’s more like a one-stop modulation shop than a simple trem.

On the Level
The Inflection Point has blend and output controls in addition to the expected rate and depth pots. Adjustable output can be an important parameter with tremolo. I find that a 2 or 3 dB boost compensates nicely for the effect’s level cuts, and a subtle boost can mean the difference between a perceptible energy drop and fat, gushing pulsations. (Here, the power LED brightens according to the depth setting and flashes in time with the speed setting.)

Vibrato, which only alters the pitch of your signal, doesn’t generally need such a boost, so your output setting may need to change when you switch between effects. Same with the depth control. A high depth setting can sound glorious on trem, especially if you’re going for a dramatic chop. But vibrato tends to work better with lower depth settings unless you want an extreme seasick effect. (And sometimes you do!) With random modulation and high vibrato depth, tones can flop around like a freshly caught fish. But bear in mind that you may need to adjust several knobs when switching from tremolo to vibrato. And since the selector switch is a small toggle rather than a footswitch, you must stoop to change modes.

Time and Space
The effect blend control is also useful. Traditional vibrato sounds are usually 100 percent wet. But with a blend setting near 50/50, you get basic chorused tones. Without a feedback/resonance control, you can’t call this a proper chorus/flanger. But there are some nice, usable flavors here—some of which you can hear in the demo clip.

One unexpected feature is a “space” control, which adds a PT2399 digital delay chip to the circuit. Its short, dense regeneration adds subtle ambience. There are no speed or feedback controls—just that single “more” knob. You don’t perceive echoes—just a simple and sometimes pleasant “wetness.” Just don’t expect this box to sound anything like a traditional delay or spring reverb.

Synth Sensibility
Mattoverse has one foot in the synthesizer world. Their online demos feature as much keyboard as guitar. The Inflection Point’s synth influence is evident in its 1/8" sync-input jack. This lets you control the pedal’s modulation rate via external clocks/sequencers for well-timed wobbling. (When a sync signal is present, the speed knob is disabled.)

The Inflection Point occupies a standard BB-sized enclosure. The circuit board hosts traditional large-format, through-hole components. The pots are soldered into the board, but the jacks are affixed to the enclosure. Two internal trim pots let you fine-tune the effects to taste, though I was perfectly happy with the factory settings. The pedal runs on standard 9-volt power, but does not include a battery compartment.

The Verdict
The Inflection Point is a compelling analog/digital hybrid. Itscore tones are traditional analog/optical tremolo and vibrato, but digital chips generate its multiple waveforms and simple echo/reverb colors. A wet/dry blend knob enables basic chorus sounds. The pedal does both traditional modulation effects and wild, wobbly variations. It’s nicely made and fairly priced at $199.