Seventies sneaker vibes meet 21st-century fidelity and flexibility in this quality German design.
Although a lot of players might think of one or two brands when the subject of volume pedals comes up, German gear outfit Lehle proves itself a worthy option with its latest release. Outfitted with a magnetic sensor and a voltage-controlled amplifier (VCA) rather than a mechanical potentiometer, the Lehle Mono Volume 90 (whose input, output, and tuner-out jacks are at a 90-degree angle to the pedal—i.e., on the side rather than along the top) claims to offer a much longer lifespan than traditional designs. In addition, it offers some thoughtful and very practical features beyond the usual.
Though it can be juiced by your pedalboard brick’s 9V output, the Mono 90’s circuit doubles that voltage to 18V for pristine headroom and lovely, full, transparent tones. Two recessed, low-profile pots along the top edge—minimum and gain—let you set the heel-down position to pass from 0 to 90 percent of full signal, and/or add up to 12 dB of boost to the toe-down position. The former opens up interesting creative opportunities, while the latter could eliminate the need for a separate boost pedal. Which is a good thing, since the Lehle is a big-ass pedal.
Test gear: Squier/Warmoth baritone Jazzmaster with Curtis Novak Jazzmaster Widerange pickups, Jaguar HC50 with Weber Gray Wolf speaker, Goodsell Valpreaux 21 with Weber Blue Dog speaker, J. Rockett Audio Archer, MXR Reverb, Ibanez Echo Shifter.