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CONS: Too large for smaller pedal boards. Pricey for the average player.
Moog’s been making synths for decades, and entered the world of effect pedals in 1998. Their new Cluster Flux pedal brings a whole new world of chorus and flanging effects to guitarists and keyboardists, with an old school analog feel.
The Moog aesthetic is very apparent; knobs and switches rule here. No menus, patches or anything hidden away behind an LCD screen (though there is quite a bit hidden in MIDI). The wooden side panels also echo Moog’s past, enhancing its analog vibe.
The control panel is quite packed. There are four choices of LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators) as well as rate and amount control of the LFO. The delay section covers time, feedback, and the selection of chorus or flanger modes. The drive knob gives a bit of grit, nothing too harsh, but warm clipping that enhances the tone without getting muddy. An output level and mix controls round things out. The two switches are the bypass switch and LFO tap tempo function. On the back are the usual input and outputs, expression pedal/CV jacks (more on those later) as well as MIDI In.
This pedal is a tweaker’s delight. Yes, you can get classic lush and rich chorus sounds, and the flanging is very sweet, from heavy modulation to the full on “swishing” effect. The best part is there’s no loss of note definition, even at higher settings. The balance of the original signal to effect is perfect. Each LFO waveform has its own character, and all are very musical. Switching between them, you can go from shimmering to warbling to Leslie-type effects. Pushing its sonic envelope, it gets into “droid” effects VERY easily.
It can do subtle, but it excels in the extremes. Even at maximum levels, it’s still musical, and there is no extraneous noise or hiss when going this far. The adjustments of the mix control and the amount of LFO applied really give the effect its overall definition. The feedback control is what will bring the effect into the extremes; small adjustments make a big difference here!
The MIDI In gives the ability to sync the LFO to a MIDI clock. Using it in the studio, the ability to lock in the effect with a song’s BPM really makes a difference, and saves tons of time trying to set it manually. Although it’s not included, adding an expression pedal really gives a ton of “on the fly” control of the feedback, time, LFO rate, mix and LFO amount. An expression pedal is required for each function, which could really crowd a pedal board, but the ability to fully control everything in real time is well worth it. Adding one (or two) expression pedals with this will give plenty of control, depending on what parameters you want to cover, but just the fact that you can control almost everything in real time is a nice option.
So who is this pedal for? For a musician looking for a basic chorus or flanger that has “their” settings and never changes them, this might be overkill. For those seeking tons of options and the control of almost every parameter in an analog fashion (and in real time via expression pedals), this is well worth checking out.
Sync LFO modulation effects to MIDI Clock or Tap Tempo
Control Delay Time w/ MIDI Notes
Send/Return Insert for external processing of BBD feedback loop
A second output configurable via DIP switches for different types of stereo outputs
Control of Delay Time, Mix and Feedback in Chorus setting for extreme chorus effects
Bi-polar feedback design creates Flanging effects w/ even or odd harmonic emphasis
Wide-ranging LFO Rate for very slow to audio rate modulation