Price paid: $ 74
Purchased from: Local music store
Ease of Use — 10
Easy as pie, its use is a no brainer: step forwards on it and the volume goes up, step backwards and the volume goes down. The box did not contain a manual, just a booklet advertising other Morley products, but, it's not needed anyway. Doing violin style swells needs a little practice but you get it quite fast. Much like getting the feel of the clutch pedal in a car, practice makes perfect. I'm thinking of modding the optical aperture to turn the volume taper into a linear taper instead of the audio taper it comes with.
Sound — 10
This is an active mono volume pedal from Morley. A very basic piece of gear that does its jobs exceptionally well thanks to its optical circuitry. First of all, it works with single coils, humbuckers and active pickups equally well. With pot based volume pedals, you have to match the pedal's pot value with the guitar's, which means you need different volume pedals for single coils, humbuckers and active pickups. With a pot based volume pedal, if you fail to match the pot values, you will experience tone suck due to impedance mismatch, even when the pot's turned up all the way.
Which brings me to: with pot based volume pedals (as well as the volume pot on your guitar with passive pickups), you will experience tone suck due to the pot filtering out high frequencies when you turn it down. No wonder EVH put a "Tone" cap on his volume pot on the Frankenstrat. Not utilizing a pot, the Morley Optical Volume has no tone suck at any volume level, using any guitar. The tone stays the same through all levels of volume, like a guitar with active pickups.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The Optical Volume pedal is American built, a very study piece of gear with an all metal construction of 2mm thick sheet steel. All the visible surfaces are painted pitch black, the underside is not. It sucks only 6mA from the power source or can be run on a single 9v battery for around 70 hours (I use Duracell 6LR61s). It is quite an oversized pedal at about 9" by 6". It weighs about 3 lbs. Need a blunt instrument to subdue wild fans? :-) This would definitely gig, and do it without a backup.
Overall Impression — 8
EOV performs its intended function superbly. I wish it had an option to switch between audio and linear taper. It only has audio taper. I use it with my '94 Korean Squier Strat and my Ibanez GRGA11EX and my PRS SE Torero. I connect it to a Blackstar ID:30TVP. EOV enables me to keep the amp in super crunch voicing and switch between clean and crunch and super crunch by adjusting the volume. If something happened to it, I'd probably buy the new Volume Plus model which features a "minimum volume" control and a switch to enable/disable the minimum volume bleed into the output signal.