Mattoverse unveils its latest Solar Sound unit – the $79 Desktop Saturator, which uses light to deliver a huge range of gain tones

Mattoverse's Solar Sound Desktop Saturator
(Image credit: Mattoverse)

Mattoverse has introduced the latest iteration of its innovative Solar Sound overdrive pedal, the Solar Sound Desktop Saturator, which – as the name implies – isn’t actually a pedal at all.

Instead, the Wisconsin effects specialist has sought to repackage its 2022 offering in a more compact and affordable chassis while simultaneously making it more versatile for musicians, resulting in a desktop device capable of an impressive range of gain tones.

With affordability one of its main objectives for the Desktop Saturator, Mattoverse has stayed true to its word, slashing the price of the $229 Solar Sound Overdrive to just $79 for its Desktop counterpart.

Despite its humble size and inconspicuous appearance, the latest Solar Sound is compatible with electric guitars, bass guitars, synths, and just about anything else that can send a signal by way of a 1/4” jack cable. 

As was the case with its “beautiful and uniquely impractical” predecessor, the performance of the Desktop Saturator depends entirely on the setup and setting in which it's employed, but so long as there’s enough natural or artificial light, the unique device should be able to supply a similar range of gain tones.

These include, according to Mattoverse, everything from “starved and choked gain tones to light overdrive, and smooth distortion," all of which are dependent on the level of light available.

Judging by the brief demo video, such tones are supplied in abundance. For guitar fans, meaty drive, fried analog warmth and crunchy gains are once again on the menu, with the Desktop Saturator also throwing some gnarly synth sounds in the mix for good measure.

At the heart of the Solar Sound unit is a simple transistor circuit, which is controlled via voltage (gain) and volume knobs, as well as a true bypass button switch. Its retro, open-faced facade is complemented with a solar panel on the front and protected by a plexi-glass covering, with everything sitting neatly on a walnut plywood plate.

According to Mattoverse, the Desktop Saturator works best “when powered from a natural light source, through a window or outdoors," though we imagine a well-placed lamp would also do the trick.

The $79 pedal has clearly caused quite a stir among gain fans – it’s already sold out. However, a restock hasn't been ruled out, so head over to Mattoverse's website for further information and updates.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.