Meris has been making wild sounding hi-tech guitar pedals for sometime. But its latest entry, the LVX, is perhaps the wildest entry yet. At its core the LVX is a delay pedal, but a fantastically complicated one capable of producing a wide range of sounds from lo-fi tape warbles, to hi-fi polyphonic pitch shifting, to straightforward stereo ping pongs.
Under the hood is an "advanced ARM processor" (though Meris hasn't said what specific processor), and a 24-bit AD/DA with a 32-bit floating point DSP. In short: there is a lot of computing power here to mangle your guitar beyond recognition and deliver extremely high-quality audio while doing so.
What really makes the LVX special is its modular nature. Think of it almost like ZOIA-lite. (Though these are two very different pedals that are only comparable in that they're "modular.") Where Empress wants you to build effects from individual virtual components, Meris gives you complete building blocks that can be combined in various ways to bring out the delay sounds of your dreams.
You start by combining one of five delay structures with one of three delay styles to create a core tone. The "structure" can be just a standard delay, a multi-tap, multi-tap but with a filter, reverse or Poly, which is borrowed from Meris' Polymoon pedal. The types are clean digital, dark BBD (bucket brigade delay), or magnetic which has the lo-fi character of tape.
Then there are 25 "processing elements" spread across five categories: Dynamics, Preamp, Filter, Pitch, and Modulation. The processing elements can be inserted at various points in the signal chain as well. So if you only want them effect your echoes, or if you want them completely replacing your dry tone, you can. These effects cover everything from standard fare like compression, to bit crushing and auto-generated harmonies. Some of these are new to the LVX, but many are borrowed from other Meris pedals like the Hedra, Enzo and Ottobit Jr. Think of it's like a greatest hits compilation of the company's effects.
To push the sound design further Meris also adds modifiers for controlling the various parameters automatically. There's two LFOs, an envelope follower, a sample and hold function, plus a sixteen step sequencer. Not to mention the expression jack input and robust MIDI support.
And if that wasn't enough, Meris also put a 60-second looper and a tuner in the LVX.
That's a lot of features to navigate, so the company put a reasonably sized LCD on the pedal. It's not touch, but it allows you to navigate through all these functions in a unique "bubble" UI. Judging based just on the videos, it looks quite slick and goes way beyond what most other pedal makers offer. Of course, if the weird almost mind-map style navigation isn't to your liking, you can go with a more basic text view.
The last thing that the LVX comes with is perhaps a bit of sticker shock. At $599 this is not for the casual guitarist or someone looking to get their feet wet in the world of experimental delay. Still, that's hardly an absurd price to pay for a pedal of this scope and pedigree. Chase Bliss' Automatone line starts at $749 and the Hologram Electronics Microcosm is $449. Meris slots comfortably in the middle.
The Meris LVX is available to preorder now and will start shipping in the late summer.