Mattoverse Electronics releases the Solar Sound Desktop Saturator, a $79 device that uses solar power to distort guitar, bass, synth and more

Mattoverse Solar Sound Desktop Saturator, a desktop device that is powered by light, and can be used to distort guitars, bass, synths and more
(Image credit: Mattoverse Electronics)

Mattoverse Electronics has unveiled the latest incarnation of its Solar Sound overdrive pedal, and it is not strictly a pedal so much as it is a desktop device that can be used with a variety of inputs. 

The Solar Sound Desktop Saturator is designed to take signals from electric guitar, bass guitar, synthesizer, drum machine and any instrument from which you can send a signal via a 1/4” jack. It costs just $79, and like the Solar Sound, you’re going to want to have some lights on in the house, studio or stage when you use it.

When Mattoverse launched the Solar Sound pedal this time last year it was described as “beautiful and uniquely impractical” and it was all because this was a stompbox powered by natural light, something that can be in short supply on a stage.

But the idea was thus: that by starving the circuit of voltages, you could dial in some really choked and sputtery drive, replicating the effect a dying battery has on your pedals. The concept sounded intriguing, the enclosure very cool – vintage hi-fi meets Texas calculator – and the guitar tones were suitably gnarly, crispy fried and analogue warmth in optimum light conditions, all Velcro lo-fi and nasty when the light faded.

And it’s the same deal with the Solar Sound Desktop Saturator. It, too, has a simple design, a transistor-based gain circuit that is tuned to work well with low voltages and current, with a big old solar panel on the top, shielded under a piece of plexiglass. 

Plenty of natural light is the ideal environment, from there you can add shade to taste. The great outdoors would be ideal but there are few people whose desktop environments are in the local park. That’s one for Yogi Bear and Boo Boo’s avant-garde noise project. But a desktop light should work just fine, and if you can position it near a window where some sunlight gets in then all the better.

This has more of an inside-out look to it but the controls are similar to the original Solar sound. You’ve got a knob for voltage (in other words gain), one for volume, and there’s a push-button to engage or bypass the effect. The circuit is mounted on a walnut plywood bottom plate, and the unit really is quite compact, measuring approximately 3.5” x 2.5” x 2.5”.

It is true-bypass, available now, and as mentioned above, it’s just $79. For more details, head over to Mattoverse Electronics.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.