Focusing on the mid-range of the EQ spectrum, the Wah Boost is a classic sounding wah with a fairly wide sweep. It does avoid that high-end shrill sometimes apparent with wahs, but also that low (sometimes muddy) bottom end. In essence, this is not a big honking wah, but very much a standard all-purpose wah that serves well for both rhythm and lead, but without any unusual characteristics that would make it ideal for high-gain or other specific music genres. The Boost function adds 20dB of ‘clean boost,’ although I find it very clean on a clean channel while adding a touch of hair to higher-gain amps (more specifically, it likely emphasizes the ‘hair’ already in a high-gain signal) – which is fine, since adding Boost and a hint of dirt to a higher-gain signal works well for lead solos. The Wah Boost also is fairly quiet as far as wah pedals go, contributing only a bit of ‘swoosh’ to the signal, common among wahs. Its quieter operation likely is due to this being an optical wah with no pots to wear or to play a part in any added noise. Lastly, the new 20/20 Buffer by Morley helps to maintain a great sounding signal, even when added to a host of other pedals. Gone are the days of that dark, muddy and nasally wah tone.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: Generally speaking, there are a number of solid features of any wah in the current Morley line-up, and the engineers really know how to hone in on a wah that is made just for you, with different models offering different features, e.g., whether it’s a signature model (e.g., Steve Vai’s Bad Horsie) or a built-in Boost, like the Wah Boost. Second, although you can get larger more traditional Morley pedals, many musicians now are opting for the mini-pedals to save pedalboard space, being both reasonably sized, but also large enough to work effectively and comfortably with your foot. Third, all the new Morley pedals now come with its 20/20 Buffer, which does an excellent job keeping the signal clear and true (and if you’ve ever heard a wah without an added buffer in the signal, you know it can sound darker and sometimes too nasel in tone). Fourth, they now all have glow-in-the-dark (non-slip) treadles and end logos for easy identification on a dark stage and pedalboard. Fifth, the new line of wahs includes the MQ2 custom inductor, quick clip battery door, solid construction and life-time warranty (upon website registration). These are all general features, whereas the Wah Boost also includes upward of 20dB of added gain (with a knob positioned well enough that you can turn it with the side of your foot) and its own unique color, steel grey. Individual custom colors do make it easier for identification if linking more than one Morley pedal. The Morley Wah Boost also focuses on the mid-range of the tonal spectrum, thus making for a very universal and classic sounding wah.
GENERAL USE: This is a switchless optical wah, meaning you hear only the original signal (no wah) when not stepping on the treadle or by keeping your foot cocked back. If keeping the foot in place (cocked back) it allows you to play seamlessly between raw tone and a wah tone, which is far more difficult with wahs that need to be switched on and off (keep the heel back… play some chords or notes as you typically would… then add in some wah by working the treadle). You then can adjust the loudness of the wah (which does not affect the original raw signal) with the Boost knob, adding upward of 20dB of boost. The wah is rather quiet with the Boost set around 9-o’clock, and with my gear it seems to be around parity with the raw tone at about 11-o’clock. Thereafter, the wah tone becomes louder and has an apparent ‘kick’ around the 2- 3-o’clock range. Powering it up requires a standard 9V alkaline battery (inserts underneath via a quick-clip battery door) or a 300mA (negative tip) power supply.
OTHER DETAILS: Manufactured with a cold rolled steel chassis, the Wah Boost is powder coated grey with black treadle. It measures 173.4 mm (L) x 114.3 mm (W) x 63.5 mm (H) or 6.85 x 4.5 x 2.5 inches, the treadle has a glow-in-the-dark non-slip grit finish on its top (for easy viewing on stage), with the Morley name on both top and end plate. The boost knob is smooth and solid when turned. The treadle has a very firm spring tension, although not so much that you have to over-work the foot to produce the effect. The guitar input and output, as well as the power output, are located on the sides, but toward the front ends of the pedal to keep them far removed from your foot when in use. Although you can use a 9V battery, you do require a 9VDC 300mA regulated adapter/power supply with a negative center pin polarity if going that route. An improper adapter will cause some low frequency hum in the amp, but also could damage the pedal. If using a battery, opt for a regular Alkaline battery for longevity (the battery inserts in the bottom through a ‘quick clip’ battery door) and, as usual, keep your guitar unplugged when not in use to preserve battery life. As a bonus, although the Wah Boost comes with a one-year warranty, you get a lifetime warranty merely when registering on the Morley website.