Sound Enhancement Products, Inc., maker of Morley pedals and Ebtech professional audio solutions, is a company that truly values its customers and, more specifically, the helpful feedback they provide. So, when it comes to Morley’s latest innovation, there’s plenty of credit to go around. Bill Wenzloff, Sales & Marketing Manager, said, “We had been receiving requests for a stereo volume and voltage control pedal for a while. We knew we wanted to release both, but we gave ourselves time to formulate the best way to do those. We had both of those pedals in our line back in the late ’80s, so we decided to take those designs, improve on them and release them today.” Blowing past expectations, the resulting M2 Series line of pedals has become one of the most talked about releases of the summer.
The M2 Series encompasses the M2 Passive Volume, the M2 Passive Stereo Volume and the M2 Passive Voltage Control/Expression Pedal, as well as two M2 pedals exclusively for the European market: the M2 Wah and the M2 Wah Volume. We find two things in the M2 designs that one might not expect from Morley: passive designs (no power required) and the use of a potentiometer. Wenzloff explained, “Morley is known for our optical pedal designs, but, for many years, we did offer two lines of pot-based pedals called the Silver Series and Compact Series. So, now, we have a modern version of those pot-based pedals for players who prefer the character in that type of design. We want our customers to have more choices to get to that elusive tone they seek. In pedals, there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all.’”
Passive pedals, of course, have the advantage of not needing any batteries or adapters. It’s pretty handy not to have to go through batteries or drag power out to wherever you might be setting up, Wenzloff remarked. “Also,” he continued, “we haven’t had a stereo volume or voltage control pedal in our line-up for many years. The request kept coming, so it was time to do it. It’s not as though there is no other passive volume or voltage controller out there, but fans of Morley wanted us to release our version.” The M2 Series pedals use slide pots instead of rotary pots, and Morley developed a special lubricant that greatly extends the life of the slide pot. The mechanism that moves the slide pot is a proven design that worked well before and, now, it’s even better. “The M2 pedals work great, sound wonderful and are all hand-built and -tested in our plant in Cary IL,” he enthused.
Wenzloff turned his attention to each specific model, starting with the M2 Passive Volume. Acoustic players who don’t use effects but could use a Volume pedal would find it easy and convenient to use on stage, he said, and not have to worry about the battery or adapter. “Keep in mind that we aren’t reinventing the world with a new volume pedal,” he emphasized, “but our fans know they can expect a great product from Morley.”
Focusing next on the M2 Passive Stereo Volume, that product can be used as one-in/one-out (mono), two-in/two-out (stereo) or one-in/two-out (ABY), making it ideal for guitarists or keyboardists. “Again,” Wenzloff began, “a stereo volume is nothing new to the pedal market, but our goal was to offer a quality stereo volume at an affordable price. With more stereo guitars out there, the M2 Stereo Volume will come in handy for guitarists and keyboard players.”
Finally, we turn to the M2 Passive Voltage Control/Expression Pedal, which uses a stereo (TRS) cable to hook up to devices that have a voltage control/expression pedal feature. It works with an infinite amount of gear. “Let’s say you have an echo unit that has expression pedal functionality,” Wenzloff began. “You could use it to change delay time or delay mix in real time while playing. With all the digital effects out there, a voltage control allows you to get the most out of those effects. A voltage control allows you to alter effect parameters in real time while playing, rather than just having an effect on or off.”
Earlier, we emphasized Morley’s commitment to listening to customer feedback and how such comments helped birth the M2 Series; the point bears elaboration. According to Wenzloff, “A lot of the products we’ve released were the result of us listening to our customers; we want to give our customers what they want. These M2 pedals are a prime example. In today’s online world, it’s very easy to see what your customers think of your products and what they want. We try to listen and produce the products they ask for and need.” He continued, “We’re happy to talk to our customers live on the phone every day. There’s something valuable about live, one-on-one communication. We learn something every time we speak with one of our customers, and we try to absorb that knowledge into our products.”
Morley’s steadfast dedication to its end customers is beyond dispute, but so too is its loyalty to its valued dealers. Something that appeals to both camps—end customer and dealer alike—is the M2 pedals’ affordability, which is always welcome. “And,” Wenzloff said, “we don’t hold dealers’ feet to the flame with buy-ins, minimum orders or purchasing commitments. Our marketing strategy tends to be pretty straightforward: get the word out that a product or products exist and make sure people can get it where they normally shop.”
Street prices are $59 for the M2 Passive Volume, $69 for M2 Passive Stereo Volume and $59 for the M2 Passive Voltage Control/Expression Pedal. All are readily available and shipping now. “We keep a supply of all our pedals in stock at all times,” Wenzloff declared. “So, even if a store doesn’t have one, they can get it from us and have it in a few days.”
Wenzloff hit just the right closing note, saying, “We’re privileged to make products for musicians and we’re humbled to be a part of your creative process. Now get out there and play music!” Hear, hear!