I’m generally a significant fan of Walrus Audio - particularly of their recent Mako Series - while I probably don’t yet have as many of theirs as I should in my collection. That will no doubt be remedied relatively easily and soon enough.
There’s an interesting dichotomy in its Modulation pedals - where you have a sort of split between Standard and Deluxe templates. I always thought that once we had witnessed the wonder of the dual-footswitch compact tap-tempo Monument Harmonic Tremolo - that the other Walrus Audio modulations would follow suit - and particularly in the wake of those superbly realised Mako Series examples as mentioned.
It seems though that Walrus Audio is already locked into a dual-path methodology - as exemplified by the Standard Julia and Deluxe Julianna Choruses - versus just making a singular best possible pedal - more along the lines of say Flower Pedals or Chase Bliss Audio.
In fact the Polychrome actually sits somewhat in between - in having slightly more about it than the aforementioned Julia and Lillian, but not quite as much as the Julianna or Monument - which would seem to be of peak prowess. There’s of course rumours that there will eventually be a Mako Series Multi-Modulator - so there are some questions on the strategy of supporting two or three different streams of pedal editions. I personally would have discontinued the Julia once the Julianna had been introduced - but now Walrus needs to manage a dual inventory - and the Julia will forever more be in the shadow of its more capable sibling.
My earliest personal preferred template for the perfect analog modulation pedals were the quartet of Chase Bliss Audio Analog Modulations - Warped Vinyl Chorus, Spectre Flanger, Gravitas Tremolo and Wombtone Phaser - I still have and love all of those - while they’re currently out of rotation in the rig - no doubt they will return to the frontline again before long. So I’ve always loved that kind of feature-rich, dual-footswitch, tap-tempo modulation pedal. And Walrus has two fantastic examples of its own in that category - the Julianna Chorus and Monument Tremolo. While I feel that the others - including the most recent Polychrome would have been preferable as Deluxe editions.
That’s not to say the Polychrome does not have some aces up its sleeve!
Its controls are : Rate, Depth, Sweep (Manual), Feedback, Shape : Sine/Triangle/Random, Voice : Full Frequency/Notched, D-F-V / Dry>Wet : Dry/Flange/Vibrato.
Pretty much standard Flanger Controls, with the key innovations being the Random LFO Wave Shape, and Dual-Voice sort of EQ / Frequency Response - having Notched as well as Full Frequency Options. And we of course have Walrus’s 3-part take on Dry>Wet Mix - where that knob is labelled ’d - f - v’ for Dry / Flanger / Vibrato options - i.e. progressively more ’Wet’ as you rotate the dial CW.
I love the vibrant artwork - although I do wonder as to the overall Walrus modulation pedal naming convention - as some of Walrus Audio’s pedals are named after historic heroines, then you have Arizona’s Monument Valley as a symbol for the Tremolo variant, and finally a lizard for the Flanger - kind of all over the place - as is the colour scheme too really. The artwork is for sure really cool - but that super-bright 80’s sort of primary colourway is totally different to anything Walrus has done before. I still like it quite a bit - but when you lay all the Walrus Modulations down - you do sort of wonder as to the lack of logic / continuity / consistency / pattern / theme.
Walrus for sure has a loyal following - and they always make really great sounding and cool looking stuff - so I expect them to shift a fair few of this Polychrome, While for my preferences there are possibly preferable alternatives to be found elsewhere. My own Flanger collection consists of the primo ThorpyFX Camoflange, recent Spaceman Aurora, a modded Boss BF-2, an A/DA PBF Flanger, and Chase Bliss Audio Spectre BKM. I still sort of want a Retro-Sonic Flanger, and possibly a Subdecay Starlight too - while I’m not yet 100% clear on how the Polychrome fits in with that scheme.
I don’t doubt there will be lots of takers for the Polychrome - it is overall an attractive and appealing flanger - and pretty well priced at $199 - where I personally was looking for a little bit more. The Random LFO option though is certainly cool, while I’m not sure it’s enough to fully win me over. In any case the Polycrome is available right now from the Walrus Audio Webstore.