MI Audio has recently release the Pollyanna – an Analog Poly Octave Synth/Fuzz. It’s similar to MI’s GI Fuzz in that it’s more or less a modern take on a classic effect. The Pollyanna is a crazy mix of octave-y (-2, -1 and +1), fuzzy, synth-y madness.
The Pollyanna isn’t for everyone. If you’re wanting more of a vintage/traditional style octave pedal (ie, Octavia, Blue Box, etc) the Pollyanna probably isn’t for you. That said it does allow you to hit those tones. Also, if you’re a “non-tweaker” who just wants to turn a pedal on and off, spending minimal time adjusting knobs, again the Pollyanna probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re looking for something off the beaten path to inspire you and add a new realm to your guitar tone the Pollyanna is THE pedal for you. You can use it by itself or drive it with an OD pedal.
Dry: Controls the output of the clean signal. The tone control has no impact on the dry signal. At around 50% the level will be nearly identical to the bypassed volume level.
Sensitivity: Input gain control on the octave circuits. With the -2 and -1 controls, the higher the setting, the longer the sustain. With the +1 control the Sensitivity acts as a level control, then as the Sensitivity is turned up higher it acts as more of a fuzz control.
Tone: Tone control for all three octave controls.
-2, -1 and +1 Octave Controls: Self-explanatory – controls the level of each octave’s output.
With the Pollyanna you can get a ton of crazy tones. While playing around with it for awhile I was able to get traditional octave tones, synthy/fuzzy lower octave tones, old school computer game style tones, and even some ring mod type tones. The Pollyanna allows you to run it on up to 25v of power giving you tons of head room to make its tones even more dramatic.
The sound clips below let you hear just a start of what you can do with the Pollyanna. I don’t claim to be the best player in the world, but they give you a good sense of what you can do with the Pollyanna.
(*note: all clips were played using a Washburn P3 electric with a Seymour Duncan SH-2 Jazz humbucker in the neck, and a SH-4 JB humbucker in the bridge position. All clips were recorded through a Mesa Nomad 45 with a Mesa Black Shadow speaker and miked with a Shure SM57. All clips also have a section of a clean signal with no effect at the beginning to give you a reference point).
Sound clip 1: Controls set to: Dry=0, Sens=6, Tone=0 -2=5 -1=0 +1=10, on the bridge pickup.
This is the most “traditional” of the clips I recorded. You can hear how the octave up maxed out mixed with the two octaves down creates a big full tone for lead lines.
Sound clip 2: Controls set to: Dry=10, Sens=10, Tone=0 -2=1 -1=2 +1=4 with both pickups.
This clip allows you to hear how the dry signal comes through combined with the effect. You can also hear the length of sustain on the effected signal with the Sensitivity set at it’s max setting.
Sound clip 3: All controls set to 5 (ie 12 o clock or 50%) on the neck pickup.
This starts to get into some of the more synth-y and harder to control tones that you can get with the Pollyanna. I let the last note ring out so you can hear the sustain/cut off of the final note. I wasn’t doing anything but holding the last note out and you can hear how the tone/effect fluctuates between the octaves.
Sound clip 4: Controls set to: Dry=0, Sens=4, Tone=0, -2=4, -1=0, +1 = 5 on the neck pickup.
This is where the Pollyanna really starts to get crazy and fun. Adjusting the tone on this will greatly affect the sound you get. It gets very synthy sounding here with a great deal of fuzz and it starts getting a bit difficult to control. Compare this with clip 5 – all settings are the same on clip 5 except I’ve changed the tone from 0 to 10.
Sound clip 5: Controls set to: Dry=0, Sens=4, Tone=10, -2=4, -1=0, +1 = 5 on the neck pickup.
Again – identical settings to clip 4, except for the tone setting. The tone setting changes the sound from more of a doomsday type tone to more of a classic video game style tone. You can really hear the tracking on the octaves bouncing around.
I’ve always been a fan of MI Audio’s effects and must say that the Pollyanna does not disappoint. Between it’s high quality components, originality, 5 year warranty and competitive price ($179.95 USD street price) it’s a great pedal that can fit into most players budgets. You can check out a few more specs on the Pollyanna and purchase it (free shipping in the USA) here.