Gearheads: 5 Captivating Earthquaker Pedals

by
Kyran de Keijzer
-
July 19, 2017

About two weeks ago we received a long awaited package from our friends at Earthquaker Devices. Like a kid on Christmas morning, we began unboxing the pedals, one by one, and immediately took all 16 pedals to the Live Room of Studio A for a proper jam session. After a solid 4-hour of playing and trying out these amazing tones, we decided to showcase the following 5 pedals as they immediately drew us in: Bit Commander, Disaster Transport Sr, Night Wire, Rainbow Machine and the Transmisser.

If we had more time we would do a video on all of these great devices, perhaps in the future. We had a lot of fun making this video and would love to do more product showcases like this. If this strikes your interest be sure to let us know! Before we get into the product showcase we’d like to say to thank you to the great people at Earthquaker Devices for sending over their products for us to play with. Let’s get into it!

Used in the Video Showcase:

TRANSMISSER:

Earthquaker Pedals

The Transmisser is a modulated reverb with an extremely long decay fed to a highly resonant filter. It’s not your every-day reverberation device. It does not do subtle. It does not do spring. It does not do a wood-paneled rumpus room with 1” thick carpet. It will not recreate the classic sounds of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. The Transmisser will create an ultimate soundscape-y backdrop to your all-night guitar freak-out. It’ll quickly turn you into a one note per minute knob twiddler. It’ll make you want to break out that dusty old expression pedal to do slow riding filter sweeps for days.

 

 

BIT COMMANDER:

Earthquaker Pedals

The Bit Commander is a monophonic analog guitar synthesizer with four octaves of vintage square wave synth tones. Its interface makes it easy to add or subtract octaves to create a wide variety of sounds without having to dial in envelopes or oscillators.

The best tracking occurs from the 7th fret up on all the strings. Below the 7th will still track but there will be occasional glitches and stutters. The lower the note, the harder it is for the Bit Commander to register. The use of Bass and lower registers on keyboards will yield unexpected, sometimes pleasing, sometimes disgusting results. These are not mistakes or flaws, it is the nature of analog octaves.

 

RAINBOW MACHINE:

Earthquaker Pedals

The Rainbow Machine is one of those pedals that can go mild to wild very quickly. If you turn all the knobs to 10 you enter a world of spiraling trails of sound that make it seem very hard to control. We were able to dial in more of a slight chorusing effect that was way easier to tame. Turning the pitch knobs can create harmonies from a 4th down to a 3rd up. The magic knob adds the crazy weird ascending and descending chaos that makes this pedal so much fun to crank over a sustained chord and let it come to life.

The Rainbow Machine takes modern DSP and uses it as a tool of future past to create real time pitch shifting using digital oscillators. The sound is much different than most modern day pitch shifting devices. In conjunction with the Tracking control, the Magic creates wild pitch take offs and descents, chaos chorusing, shrieks, pixie trails and wealth of other general mayhem inducing noises. The pitch can be controlled by an external expression pedal for extra fun! The Rainbow Machine can be used on bass, keys, vocals or anything else you can dream up.

NIGHT WIRE:

Eathquaker Pedals

This harmonic tremolo pedal almost seems alive as it responds to your playing. In attack mode, the filters are triggered by how hard or soft you pick the string. Also capable of more of a classic tremolo sound, this is one of the most versatile tremolo pedals on the market.

The Night Wire is a feature-rich harmonic tremolo. It takes the traditional harmonic tremolo a few steps further by allowing the center point of both filters to be adjusted for different tones. The filter frequency has three modes: Manual, LFO, and Attack. In Manual mode, the center point can be set to a fixed position with the frequency control. In LFO mode, the filters are continuously swept and the frequency control adjusts the speed. In Attack mode, the filters are dynamically swept according to pick attack and the frequency control acts as a range control, much like a standard envelope filter. The tremolo section has two modes, Manual and Attack. In Manual mode, the speed of the tremolo is governed by where the rate control is set. In Attack mode the speed is controlled by pick attack and the rate controls the sensitivity; the harder you pick, the faster the rate and vice-versa. The tremolo can be subtle and shimmery or full-on throbbing depending on where the depth control is set. With the depth set to zero, the Night Wire will act like a fixed filter, phase shifter or envelope-controlled filter depending on which mode the filter frequency is in. It also features a cut/boost volume control to get your levels just right.

DISASTER TRANSPORT SR:

Earthquaker Pedals

The Disaster Transport Sr is a dual delay with reverb and modulation. While it may look intimidating at first glance, it’s actually pretty easy to navigate. The top row of controls are for delay A and the bottom row of controls are for delay B. Delay A is a 600ms delay with modulation and delay B is a 300ms delay with reverb. Both delays can be run separately, in parallel, in series or in series/parallel. To take it one step further, there are also expression controls for the repeats on delay A as well as bleeding delay A into delay B. The switching was designed so each delay can be used individually or in tandem with both true bypass or trails.

In addition to being used as a straight delay, straight reverb, rhythmic delay, modulated delay and old school tape-style echo, the Disaster Transport SR can also be used to create a wide variety of wild sounds ranging from warped records, clanging flange, smooth chorus, echoed out squalls and various other-worldly effects that will blow your mind, man. If you are a fan of old school tape delay and crazy lo-fi sounds, you will get hours of enjoyment every time you plug into the Disaster Transport Sr.

 

In House Earthquaker Pedal Devices

AFTERNEARTH V2

Earthquaker Pedals

With an upgraded silent switching system, version 2 of the EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath reverb pedal is better than ever. Go far beyond traditional reverb effects with the Afterneath v2. It generates a swarm of short delays to create washes of ambiance. Minimal settings allow you to create room and hall reverb effects, while more extreme settings border on self-oscillation, without actually drowning out your dry signal. Speaking of which, the Afterneath v2 pedal uses digital processing for the reverb while leaving your dry signal path completely analog. If you’re the type of guitarist who wants otherworldly tones from your reverb, you’ll definitely want to check out the EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath v2 reverb pedal.

 

ARPANOID

Earthquaker Pedals

The Arpanoid takes whatever notes you play and calculates an adjustable ascending or descending scale based on the root note.

“Sure, I guess. Does it track chords?”

Yes! The Arpanoid works on complex chords as well as single notes in any key. It’s eight modes feature major and minor patterns so your next jazz odyssey will remain on time and in tune. The patterns go from one octave below the input to one octave above, so there’s plenty of harmonic range, and the Arpanoid’s “random” patterns are sure to be a hit at your next psychedelic freakout.

 

AVALANCHE RUN

Earthquaker Pedals

The Avalanche Run is a dreamy sonic discovery device with up to 2 seconds of delay time and a lush reverb. It features complete control over delay time, repeats, mix and voice (with the tone control), as well as control over the reverb length and mix. It can run in one of 3 different modes: Normal, Reverse and Swell. In “Normal” mode, the Avalanche Run functions as a straightforward delay and reverb. In “Reverse” mode, the delay line is in reverse and the reverb remains in normal mode. In “Swell” mode, the Avalanche Run reacts to your picking dynamics and adds a volume swell to the entire signal path much like manually raising and lowering the volume of your guitar.

The Avalanche Run features an expression jack that can be assigned to one of six different controls using the “EXP” selector switch. It also features Tap Tempo with six different ratios accessed via the “Ratio” selector switch. The Avalanche Run can also be run in “True Bypass” mode or “Buffered Bypass” mode for trails and features 5 different tail lengths including “Infinite” for lo-fi and continuously degrading pseudo-looping.

 

THE DEPTHS

Earthquaker Pedals

The Depths is Earthquaker’s take on the classic optical vibe circuit. Now you can swab the decks with the same lush, pulsating, three-dimensional swirling sound you know and love, with some modern accouterments for all you land-lubbers out there.

The Depths is optimized for use with all kinds of instruments, pickups, and to play well with dirt, so nobody’s left waiting on shore. If it’s got a ¼” output, plug it in and get deep!

 

GRAY CHANNEL

Earthquaker Pedals

The Gray Channel is a real “twofer” of an overdrive. It is based around a classic hard-clipping gray box overdrive. It is two channels of a simple hard clipping overdrive that leaves the character of the guitar and amp intact. The Gray Channel retains the classic warm overdrive sound and expands upon it with several clipping options and bigger bass response. Each channel has 3 clipping modes. The Green channel- “Si” (Silicon clipping diodes), “Ge” (Germanium clipping diodes) and “N” (no clipping diodes). The “Si” mode will be bright/loud/fuzzy and has a natural tube type break up. “Ge” mode is a little looser with more lows and warmth and less output. “N” mode acts as a clean boost until you hit roughly 1 o’clock on the gain, at which point it’ll start to saturate the op amp into a biting, loud distortion.

 

HOOF REAPER

Earthquaker Pedals

The Hoof Reaper features Earthquaker’s popular Hoof and Tone Reaper fuzz pedals in one handy enclosure with the added bonus of an old school analog octave up. It was originally released as a special limited run item back in 2010 and demand was so high that we decided to reintroduce it back into our line. Capable of creating everything from subtle octave-up overtones through crushing octave squalls that simulate exploding stacks of amps. Each effect can be used individually as well as in series but the order of effects is preset for optimum performance.

 

INTERSTELLAR ORBITER

Earthquaker Pedals

The Interstellar Orbiter is a dual resonant filter controlled by a single LFO that sweeps each filter in opposite directions. It has three universal controls: a master Frequency control that governs the center frequency of both filters, a master Rate control for the LFO and the Direct control for blending in the unaffected dry signal. There are expression pedal jacks for both the master Frequency and the LFO rate. The LFO sweeps each filter in opposite directions and has a wide range. Each filter is voiced differently and has controls for LFO intensity, resonance and mix. When the LFO Intensity is raised the filter sweep is wider, the center frequency is raised and the resonance becomes more pronounced. The resonance becomes more “ringy” as you dial it up and more mellow as you dial it back. The mix control adjusts the volume for the mix of each filter.

 

ORGANIZER V2

Earthquaker Pedals

The Organizer is a polyphonic organ emulator designed to mimic the organ tones of yesteryear crossed with the highly unique “Guitorgan”. It has a warm and very analog feel with a hint of Leslie warble that is unlike other modern octave shifters. It is simple to dial in and tracks chords as well as single notes perfectly all over the neck on both guitar and bass. Not only can the Organizer be used on strings, it has been widely used on everything from vocals and synths to horns and drums… If it makes a sound, the Organizer can handle it!

 

 

PALISADES

Earthquaker Pedals

With 6 different clipping voices, 5 bandwidth settings and 2 gain channels you will be hard-pressed to not find a setting that will wipe every mid-boosting overdrive off your board. The clipping voices determine how transparent and open or tight and crunchy the distortion is. They will vary drastically depending on where the gain is set, what channel is active and how much bandwidth is being used. The bandwidth sets the frequency response of the distortion and goes from thin, light and clean through fat heavy and crunchy. It may very well be the single most important control the Palisades has and what really sets it apart.

 

PARK FUZZ

Earthquaker Pedals

The Park Amplification company, originally started by Jim Marshall himself, has almost as much history as the actual Marshall name. As the story goes, Jim Marshall entered a distribution deal for his amp line in 1965, but the terms of the deal were vague enough such that Marshall could build amps on the side, just not under his own name. Thus, Park was born, and the amps produced under that name were slight variations on Marshall circuits until the company dissolved in 1982.

Among the line of amps, a few pedals were also produced. Most of them were wahs or variations thereof, but one pedal stuck out: The Park Fuzz Sound.

 

PITCH BAY

Earthquaker Pedals

Each of the Pitch Bay’s polyphonic harmonizers (“Pitch Up” and “Pitch Down”) are tunable in semitones from one octave below the root to one octave above, and every interval in between. You’ll find everything from rumbling sub-octaves, dissonant tone clusters, soaring octave-up lead sounds, to ripping NWOBHM lead guitar harmonies.  Rounding out the top row of controls is the “Gain” knob, which can go from totally clean to heavily distorted, unleashing the dirty hesher within.

 

 

 

Once again a huge shout out to Earthquaker Devices for sending us their lovely guitar pedals. They will be put to extremely good use.

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