Soul Press II (with demo)

Soul Press II is a true bypass pedal and an upgrade from the original Soul Press, and with some significant changes. This pedal has Volume, Wah, an Expression out and a Volume/Wah combo. In the latter instance, the toe switch acts as a control between the Volume/Wah (shifting from one to the other), whereas the toe switch turns the Volume or Wah on/off if selected individually. The demo helps to clarify this. The Expression works independently, so that you can have the Volume or Wah operating, as well as controlling parameters from other gear and with the Expression. There’s also a Tuner Out feature. Another cool function is the adjustable mode treadle status indicator, which shows the pedal’s position in real time, allowing you to visually zero in on a particular Volume, Wah or Expression range.

Next, comes the sound. Overall, this is a quiet pedal with no noticeable noise (or noise interference), even with the wah. In use, the tone remains very true, as a result of the pedal’s newly-designed active volume circuit. Some wahs have noise artifacts, whereas the Soul Press II does not. The Volume and Expression work as those two aspects usually do – very straight-forward. The Wah has two tones – Warm (290Hz to 1.4kHz) and Classic (360Hz to 1.8kHz). In either instance there is a very decent range of tone via the Q knob, which adjusts the frequency. When compared to a Morley ‘classic’ wah, the Soul Press II’s classic setting has a broader sweep with the Q up full. Bringing the Q down to about 2-o’clock makes it comparable to the Morley’s frequency range.

The warm setting definitely is warm, and extremely vocal sounding, with big vowel-like expressions. The classic setting is more typical of what you would expect, e.g., via a Morley or Cry Baby type wah. Both sound incredible with a clean guitar tone. With a hi-gain tone, I found it sounded best with the Q around 12-noon to 1-o’clock, as going deeper in Q produces more high-end frequency, which is OK for dark amps and pickups, but a bit shrill otherwise (including the hi-gain gear I used in the demo). The most important point is that you can adjust this parameter to accommodate any guitar and amp.

Now, this version of the Soul Press does have a larger footprint, but it’s still rather small, measuring 3” (W) x 6.3” (L) x 2” (H) or 81 x 162 x 51 mm, and weighing only 1.1 pounds or 500g. Hotone Audio made the Soul Press II’s footprint slightly larger to increase user surface, together with a textured treadle surface made of slip-resistant material. The chassis (a polarized finish that changes colors at different angles and lighting) is made of lightweight aluminum alloy with a steel shaft connection. It is powered by a standard 9V DC power supply (negative center with 30mA draw) or 9V battery, although the Expression function works without power.

Overall, the Soul Press II is a massive space saver, offering several functions in a small footprint area. The Volume and Expression are noiseless in use, the active LEDs are cool and help to zero in on specific ranges when playing, and the Tuner Out certainly is a nice bonus. The wahs are very decent in their own right, although the warm simply sounds fantastic with a clean guitar – I’m most impressed with that function. For $119 USD, Soul Press II has got to be one of the best deals of 2021, a true winner in the category of size and function.