The Morley ABC Switch Box Pedal: One to Many, Many to One

The Morley ABC Switch Box Pedal: One to Many, Many to One

I’m a musician and a recording artist. I’ve always been in search of new ways to make sound with my instruments – and new ways to record unique and fulfilling sounds from many different types of instruments. Some things one tries when searching for new sounds is to use effects pedals, another might be using different tubes in a pre-amp or amplifier. There are nice upgrades in guitars, basses, gear, and rack-mounted gear that really change your sound.

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But sometimes, something VERY simple comes along that lets you truly turn your playing and recording on ear. The little tank-built Morley ABC Switch box is a surprisingly versatile tool that really makes your setups incredibly flexible and easy-to-change. This review is about my journeys with my four-year-old Morley ABC boxes (I am buying a second one this week!) and the wonderful things they’ve brought me.

You can see more information about the Morley ABC Switch box here at zZounds, my favorite internet gear seller (my sponsor, too). If you click here and buy stuff, I can write more reviews!

Quick Opinion

Buy one or two after you read this review. You’ll be VERY glad you did!
I am not hard on my gear – but I do use what I own. And when I brought the Morley ABC Switch Box Pedal into my life, it became something I use EVERY day. It started with being a way I could play through three amp stacks at once – and then it evolved into a recording tour de force for my home studio. WOW. Amazing, simple, durable, quiet, efficient, well-made, inexpensive, and downright fun!

Please read on: I’ll tell you why I took the time to write this review and to help spread the word for this wonderful little box from a strong instrument gear brand!

Durability and Ease of Use

I bought my first Morley ABC Switch Box Pedal out of necessity. I wanted to have a few different amps in the house (and later the garage), and I didn’t want to have to have redundant pedal setups or spend time playing with cables when I wanted to go from my Marshall to my Fender to my VOX. As time went on, I was even experimenting with combinations of one, a pair, or all three. This little box makes it all just a click away!

Durability? My first Morley ABC Switch Pedal sat in the garage for a couple of years, with little climate control and LOTS of use from LOTS of different players. Just bring in your instrument (bass or guitar or ?), plug it in to the right-most ¼-inch jack, click a few stomp buttons and you get lots of different amp sounds all at once!

Want to see more about this awesome pedal at the Morley site? Click here.

It’s only a quick change to have three instruments punching down to one amp (not something I recommend very often, folks!) – and all the pushing, pulling, stepping, re-wiring that went on with that little blue Morley box was amazing. In the recording arena, I often have signal that’s 3-to-1 or 1-to-3 when it comes to computer input gear (read below), signal chains, and more. And it still looks almost new, and it works FLAWLESSLY in its fifth year!; This little metal stomp box is amazingly durable. it has taken everything that has been thrown at it and it still is the quietest (heavy-duty metal push-push switch-noise wise) stomp box I’ve ever owned and still to this day creates no discernible circuit noise.

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It’s incredibly easy to use. You have three switchable ¼-inch jacks, A, B, and C. You have one 1 ¼-inch jack on the right-most side of the pedal. The pedal doesn’t care if you want three ins to one out or three outs from one in. It works flawlessly in both directions.

Believe it or not, you can easily daisy-chain more than one of these little ABC boxes and do some pretty amazing things without any discernible signal loss. Just draw your ideal setup on paper, follow the cables with your diagram, and Poof! Many-to-Many signal chains!

Price and Quality

The price of this little blue Morley ABC Switch Pedal stomp box is one of the easiest parts of this review. They’re less than $100 US in most retail outlets. It’s worth every cent and will last pretty much until the next EON (YMMV). The price is definitely just right, although five years later I would probably be just as happy had I paid $125 US or so back then. It’s flawless.

Quality? The Morley ABC Switch Box stomp pedal is made strong enough to withstand the heavy stompers of some local metal-music heads that have used it. It has withstood HUGE temperature fluctuations, endured well-below-freezing temperatures and well above 100 F degree temperatures. it has withstood LOTS of drops (from six feet or so). it has been slammed around in pedal cases, trunks, hatchbacks, and on stages. It has been around cat fur and garage dust and high humidity and low humidity. After a simple wipe-down, it looks almost new, and it BEHAVES as if it was just brand new!

The Morley ABC Switch Box stomp pedal is my OFFICIAL switcher box. I’m good to go for a lifetime with mine!

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How have I used mine?

Interestingly enough, the Morley ABC Pedal truly is only limited by your imagination in the ways it can be used. I’ve used mine for two very specific purposes (mainly): playing through 1, 2, or 3 amps (in different combinations) from one guitar at a time (this gives LOTS of tonal variations!); and creating signal/effects/pre-amp chains that send the signal from one guitar through different chains to different inputs in computer recording input devices hosting multiple ¼-inch mono inputs.

In the early days of using my Morley ABC Switch Box, I primarily used it to experiment with and enjoy playing through multiple amps at once. I often played through combinations of a Marshall, VOX, and Fender amps, each with its own pedals and signal chain. It’s amazing what you can do. In addition, when playing one of my Rickenbackers with Ric-o-sound, I was able to have one output jack going to the Morley and the other going to yet a fourth amp.

It’s amazing what you can do with a few amps in your garage, a Morley ABC switch, and pedals with multiple outputs. Here’s a fun one: Guitar in; A to a Marshall with no effects, just clean gain; B to a Fender solid state with a pedal setup signal chained; C to an Electro-Harmonix Sitar pedal with the primary out to my old VOX and the Sympathetic output to yet a fourth amp, an Egnater tube amp I used to own. WOW. Imagine the multiplicity of chorus, phase, special features, and amp sounds coming from one guitar all at once!

More recently, I’ve been using my Morley ABC Switch stomp pedal to broaden and enrich my recordings from my electric instruments. I’ve got two rack-mounted multi-channel computer interfaces and three small effects chains, with three channels running through NICE tubes in good tube preamps. I plug the guitar into the Morley ABC, and A goes through lots of pedals to one tube preamp channel, B goes through a Seymour Duncan Pickup booster pedal to another tube preamp channel, and C goes through a funky old Danelectro chorus pedal into a tube compressor and preamp rackmounted device. All three go to the back of one or both of my computer input channels. Sometimes, to throw in some spice, I have two-channel pedals in my chain: Since my computer input devices are 8+ ¼-inch mono input channels, I actually have the second output of my chorus pedals and my Sitar pedal all feeding to the inputs. In some setups, I’ve got 7 individual channeled inputs from my guitar into my recording.

Most of the time, I’m just running one or two channels through my good tubes for the recordings. It is awesome, however, to make entirely new sounds in my recordings with the simple click (or three) of my Morley ABC Switch.

There are other great Morley products, too! Click here to see lots more at zZounds! They guarantee you’ll love your gear!

There’s another useful way (of the many) to use a Morley ABC: One ¼ instrument input going out to two amps with A and B, C going to a tuner pedal or tuner rack component. The tuner can be on all the time without causing any signal interruptions or noise in the actual amplified channels. Nice!

Wishes and Wants

Honestly, I don’t think I have any wishes and wants on this gear: the Morley ABC Switch Box stomp pedal is JUST RIGHT and is the F-150, the Cadillac, and the Mercedes of stomp-switchers. I like it just like it is.

Crate V-Series V18-212 Combo Tube Guitar Amplifier Review – Loud, Lean, and Clear

I originally wrote this review on December 3, 2008 – This is the Class A Combo that could. It’s loud and mean, it’s heavy and well constructed. No frills, and all thrills. I sold mine a while back, but am on the search for a used 18 or 33 2×12 as I write this. It’s a great small gig and garage amp…

Crate V-Series V18 212 Combo Tube Amp Review

Amplifiers. Musicians. Opinions. Infinite combinations. Put the same amp in front of 50 different musicians and you’re not likely to get the same opinion twice. That’s OK. Some folks like gut strings, others like nylon. Some folks like Fenders, some folks like BC Richs… you get the idea.

The point of my review is not to take an opinionated stand on this particular amplifier. Rather, the point of this writing is to tell you what my V-Series makes me feel and hear. Ultimately, however, you should trust your own ears and wallet. You are your own best judge, even novice, even lofty professional. Music is wonderful and the more colors we introduce, the better.

There was a need to consolidate the amps in the house down to one amp. Some were too big, some were too small, some didn’t sound like what we wanted… So, I sold them all. And I bought one amp to serve our (my son and me) needs. I don’t recommend this approach, but it was useful for us from the standpoint of housing space and underlying need.

I wanted a tube amp combo. My son wanted LOUD and easy to push the tubes into breakup. My son was looking to compete with a drum set and a small band in small venues and recording. I wanted a way to jam, comp, record, and just enjoy making noise. After playing a bunch of amps (including some solid state amps), I chose the Crate V-Series V18 212. Here’s my story (and I’m stickin’ to it ;-))

Quick Opinion: The lower-end V-Series Crate Tube amps are a bargain. They’re becoming scarce to buy in stores, so if you’re interested, play one very soon, or find an online store willing to take returns. These aren’t the high-end USA-made Crate tube amps, but they’re still Class-A, and you can tell it.

Interestingly enough, depending on which combo (or head) you purchase, you get different types of power tubes – something like a Fender in a couple of models, something like a Marshall in a couple of models. If you can play several side-by-side, let your ears decide. If you’re looking for a particular sound, read up on the power tube types.

We love our V18 212. It’s moderately heavy (about 50 lbs, nicely balanced at the handle), it’s loud as a pissed three-year-old, and it has a good fundamental sound. I’m happy with out decision and my experience with this amp has made me contemplate augmenting my studio room with a little V5 combo for when I’m comping.
The Crate V series isn’t available in new retail any more, but you can see other great Crate amps here at zZounds.com

The inclusion of a standby switch is awesome. It lets you keep your tubes hot while you silence things in standby for breaks, instrument switches, pedal-foreplay, and other shenanigans – you don’t have to shut down and re-blaze your tubes every time you need to fiddle with things on the other end of the cable. Very nice touch for an amp at this price point.

Features: As an inexpensive Class A tube amp, the Crate V18 is actually pretty nice. It has more than just volume or volume and tone (as its price-wise competitors are built). It has a real reverb, three bands of EQ, and drive to go with the volume. Our particular V18 is a combo, and we opted for the 2×12″ model. The pair of Crate-branded speakers are fairly run-of-the-mill, but they suffice.

This is a one-channel amp. There is only one input. These things are not unusual in this price range, but it’s important to point this out.

What do you get?
18 watts (very LOUD watts, thank you very much);
Class A tube circuit;
2 12″ Crate-brand ceramic-magnet 8 Ohm speakers (on our V18212 model);
2 EL84 power cathode biased tubes;
3 12AX7A pre-amp stage tubes;
Gain, volume, bass, middle, treble, and reverb controls;
Two-switch actuation mode (on and standby).

Quality: Our experience with our Crate V18 has been excellent. The tubes seem to be just right in their quality and adjustment. The Speakers are just what you would expect from ceramic-magnet 12s, the control quality is quiet, smooth, and feels good.

The tolex covering and the overall fit-and-finish is just fine. The cabinet seems decently tight and well-assembled. The corner protector covers are nice and big… and the screw-down parts seemt to be pretty good.

Our V18 has been lugged around by teenagers quite a bit. Everything still works great, there are few tears in anything, and the sound is still very, very good.

Playability: Well, as an amp, playability is really not the big thing to review… but… it’s easy to position, the knobs are easy and intuitive, and the tube-warm-up time is reasonable. The standby switch is a great feature and makes this budget amp a top contender.

Sound: Here’s where the speaker hits the air and ear. The synopsis is this: the sound is Marshally, the spring reverb is actually pretty good but can get overloaded (not quite sproingy like you get on a nice $800 Fender tube amp). It’s easy to over-drive the tubes and start crunching away. There is no quiet setting, and there is no clean sound unless you turn the gain all the way off – thereby compromising the volume almost completely. But, I love playing it in overdrive! If you are looking for clean, these are not the droids you are looking for. Move along.

The long version: This amp is really crunchy and tubey for $199 (It’s 2008 street price when it was still available new and was a “closeout” model). It sounds much better than its price and it really delivers as a low-cost small-gig/recording amp. If you’re rockin’, bluesin’, or doing some crunchy country, this amp delivers in a big way. You can even play it without an overdrive pedal at low volumes to get some nice tube distortion.

Some might find the sound a bit brittle at some settings. Really, the right way to approach this amp is to plug in your guitar, and dial in the different aspects until you like it. I’ve never seen an amp that sounds great with every guitar at every setting. I warm mine up with an Analog.Man pedal and a nice small device chain (wah, chorus, delay/echo). I’m very happy with this amp at any price under $300.

It sounds loads better than most solid-state amps even up to those in the $500 range. It’s a nice alternative to solid-staters for crunch delivery and guts.

Value: This amp used to have a street price of about $300. It was worth it then… Although the occasional discount was nice. Now that these sell for (typically) $199, they’re a steal – a bargain – a smart and easy choice. Think about it… at peak gas prices of 2008, that’s really only two tankfuls for a large vehicle ;-).

Wishes: I’d like to see a built-in attenuator and a means to get more clean-channel sound out of the amp. Crate: Clean is important to lots of buyers.