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With pedals ranging from fuzz stompboxes to ambient devices, EarthQuaker has built a solid reputation for innovation, having produced some of the most unique pedals in existence.
EarthQuaker Devices has amassed somewhat of a cult following amongst musicians of all styles.
Rather than settling for conventional pedal designs, EarthQuaker tends to take a simple effect and add its own, weird and wonderful elements.
This results in some far-out sounds that can be a valuable tool for live performances or coming up with new songs.
Despite the sonic complexity of EarthQuaker Devices’ stompboxes, they’re often very easy to use. If you’re looking for an uncomplicated way to add some interesting sounds to your signal chain, these pedals may be exactly what you need.
Read on to discover the best EarthQuaker pedals available on the market.
In a Rush’ Round-Up
How We Tested
To accurately rate the various attributes of these EarthQuaker pedals, we first took a close look at the controls that are installed on them. This allowed us to assess whether the controls were necessary based on the ways they impacted the sound of the pedal.
Next, we looked at the sound quality and integrity of the pedals, to ensure that they wouldn’t introduce any unwanted noise into the signal.
We concluded our tests by assessing whether the effects produced by these EarthQuaker pedals would lend themselves to a wide range of styles and sounds, or whether they were more focused on one particular genre.
Earthquaker Pedals Reviews
This compact pedal makes use of JFET op-amps, which deliver warm, colorful overdrive that isn’t overwhelming. It’s a great device for adding excitement to your low-end riffs or helping your solos to cut through the mix.
In addition to the JFET op-amps, this pedal also boasts three interesting overdrive modes. The first causes symmetrical LED clipping, which is the most aggressive of the onboard settings. Then there’s the clean boost feature, and finally, the silicon diode clipping mode.
The clean boost is a welcome addition to the Plumes’ sonic arsenal, as it allows you to quickly make your guitar parts stand out without needing to obliterate the signal.
Furthermore, there are three rotary controls included on this pedal, which alter the level of the effect, the amount of gain that is applied to the signal, and the color of the overdriven tone.
By tweaking these three controls and experimenting with the switchable modes you can come up with some really interesting overdrive sounds that can be used across a wide range of guitar playing styles.
- Onboard JFET op-amps
- Three clipping modes
- Tone control
- Ideal for pushing a tube amp into saturation
- Consistent across the frequency range
- Can also be used as a clean boost
- Too gain-heavy for some styles of guitar playing
The Dispatch Master is a two-in-one stompbox that covers the two major timing-based effects – reverb and delay. When manufacturers combine two effects into one pedal, it can sometimes lead to a compromise in quality, but that isn’t the case here.
EarthQuaker Devices has managed to balance the two effects perfectly so that neither is less superior to the other. Not only does this mean that you can blend reverb and delay sounds together, but it also saves you some space in your signal chain.
The delay effect is versatile and can be controlled using the “Repeats” control found in the upper right corner of the pedal. It can be used to create a short-lived, slapback style echo, or you can crank up this parameter to get long looping pulsations.
The reverb effect can also be altered using its dedicated rotary control, and despite there being no set presets to choose from, tweaking this control provides you with multiple different reverb sounds.
With a relay-based switch and true bypass, there’s no danger of this EarthQuaker pedal causing any noise issues.
- Four onboard controls
- Delay and reverb can be used simultaneously or individually
- Switchable momentary and latching modes
- Creates ambient, spacey effects
- Sounds great on chords or lead parts
- Useful tool in the recording studio
- Switching between reverb and delay can be tricky
When designing the Park Fuzz Sound pedal, EarthQuaker set out to capture the magic of the original which was popular amongst rock guitarists in the late 1960s, and add some modern improvements.
EarthQuaker has stayed true to the minimalistic design of the original, including three rotary controls that are used to alter the treble/bass balance of the fuzz effect, the amount of fuzz that is added to the signal, and the overall level of the pedal.
The “Fuzz” knob is the most transformative of these three controls. When it is positioned at around 12 o’clock, it produces an inviting layer of warm saturation that is ideal for animating your riffs, chord sequences, or solos.
By maxing out the “Fuzz” parameter, you can cause the pedal to distort your guitar’s signal to the point where it clips heavily, and the sound becomes very compressed.
The inclusion of NOS germanium transistors, which are very similar to those found in the iconic Fuzz Face pedal used by Jimi Hendrix, produce a classic fuzz tone that pays homage to the glory days of rock n’ roll.
- 3 rotary controls
- Inspired by Jim Marshall’s original circuitry
- NOS germainuim transistors
- True bypass switching preserves signal integrity
- Vintage style fuzz tones
- Great for blues and heavy rock
- Limited control layout
Finding a good quality distortion pedal can be difficult these days, with new options seemingly popping up every other day. EarthQuaker Devices are renowned for creating excellent gain-based pedals, and this distortion stompbox continues that trend.
Imagine cranking up the gain on a stack of tube amplifiers – that’s the type of distortion you’ll get from the Acapulco Gold. Building upon the success of the first edition the v2 will add plenty of intensity to your pedalboard.
Rather than simply distortion your guitar signal into oblivion, this Earthquaker pedal responds to the dynamics of your playing, as well as the tones of the notes that your guitar produces.
It’s great for playing in drop-D or blasting out wailing solos in the upper registers of your axe. Plus, with such a simple control layout, you won’t be wasting any time flicking switches or turning knobs when using this pedal.
- Single rotary control design
- Inspired by the iconic Sunn power amp
- Soft touch switch with relay-based design
- Authentic tube-driven distortion tone
- Adds excitement to riffs
- Preserves low-end power
- Only has one onboard control
With its flamboyant design, the Rainbow Machine instantly stands out amongst all of the other pedals that are produced by EarthQuaker Devices. It’s further evidence that the brand isn’t afraid to take risks with its pedals.
Labeled as a “polyphonic pitch-shifter modulation pedal”, the Rainbow Machine sounds as unusual as it looks. However, I use the term unusual in the most complimentary way possible.
By tweaking the six onboard controls, you can use this pedal to transform your guitar into a psychedelic playground with no limitations. You can add strange undertones to your melodies, cause certain notes to repeat randomly, or cause sudden alterations in pitch.
The “Magic” footswitch is perhaps the most interesting feature of this pedal. When activated, it creates a sudden, otherworldly sound that is quite impossible to describe. The only way to understand the effects this pedal produces is to experience them yourself.
- Six onboard rotary controls
- “Magic” and “Activate” footswitches
- Analog signal path with true bypass
- Inspires countless hours of experimentation
- Almost endless possibilities for unique tones
- The polyphonic design facilitates chords or single notes
- Some guitarists may find this pedal too eccentric
EarthQuaker Pedals Buyer’s Guide
EarthQuaker Devices was founded in 2004, and since then has gone on to become one of the best known boutique pedal brands in the United States and beyond.
Renowned for its innovative designs that are often inspired by classic pedals, EarthQuaker offers a vast delection of stompboxes that cover every type of guitar effect.
Despite their complex and often unique sounds, EarthQuaker pedals are usually easy to operate, which makes them a popular choice of guitarists regardless of their experience level using controls and parameters.
Things to Consider When Buying EarthQuaker Pedals
Although this may seem obvious, it’s important to highlight which types of effects you would like to add to your signal chain. EarthQuaker offers many different pedal types, so considering how they will interact with each other, or with your current pedals is advisable.
Are you someone who enjoys tweaking settings to alter the sound of your guitar slightly, or do you prefer to plug in, stomp on your effect, and start playing? EarthQuaker produces some pedals that are minimalistic in design, and others that offer more room for adjustment.
Signal chain placement
Guitarists who use several pedals in their signal chain must carefully consider where they will place each device. Due to EarthQuaker’s diverse range of pedals, it’s important to consider how they will slot into your signal chain and the effect this will have on your tone.
The Different Types of EarthQuaker Devices’ Pedals
You’ve probably heard the term “boutique pedal” being used to describe devices made by certain manufacturers.
This simply means that the pedal is of the highest quality, and had something unique about it that separates it from other mass-produced pedals.
EarthQuaker Devices falls into the category of a boutique pedal brand, because their creations are often significantly different to those made by other manufacturers.
We’ve narrowed down EarthQuaker’s massive selection of effects pedals in this guide, but there are still several different types included in our list. Therefore, you need to have an idea of which effects you would like to add to your pedalboard in advance.
EarthQuaker produces pedals in each of the following categories:
- Gain pedals (distortion, fuzz, overdrive)
- Dynamic pedals (compressors, boosters)
- Modulation pedals (chorus, pitch shifting, phasers, flangers)
- Timing pedals (reverbs and delays)
It can be useful to look at the existing pedals in your signal chain, if you have any, and try to identify gaps that could be filled by an EarthQuaker pedal.
There’s no point in investing in a pedal that performs a similar role as one you already have, if you’re happy with it.
Standalone vs. Multi-Effects EarthQuaker Pedals
The majority of EarthQuaker’s boutique pedals are designed to produce a singular effect, but the manufacturer also produces some select stomboxes that offer two or more different effects in one chassis.
These effects are most commonly from the same family, rather than being completely unrelated. For example, EarthQuaker combines delay on reverb on some of its pedals, or distortion and fuzz.
The obvious advantage of choosing a multi-effect pedal is that it saves you money. Additionally, it saves space on your pedalboard, which otherwise wuld have been taken up by two separate pedals.
However, it’s also important to note that when two effects are installed on one pedal, this may indicate that less time has been taken on ensuring the quality of the individual effects.
Standalone effects pedals by EarthQuaker Devices may be more competent due to a more focused design process of that specific effect.
EarthQuaker’s Control Layouts
One of the reasons that EarthQuaker has established itself as a prominent boutique pedal brand is because it produces a wide range of devices that cater to all experience levels and tastes.
Some of the brand’s pedals are crammed with adjustable rotary knobs and switches, which allow users to alter the sounds with pinpoint accuracy.
Other EarthQuaker pedals are less complex, and better suited to musicians who aren’t too concerned with the finer details of the effects but would rather enjoy the sounds without having to overthink things.
Earthquaker Pedals FAQs
Are EarthQuaker Pedals True Bypass?
EarthQuaker Devices uses a range of different designs for its pedals. One of the most popular designs is the Flexi-Switch Technology, which is a relay-based true bypass switching.
Additionally, EarthQuaker uses buffers in some of its pedals. True bypass is, however, the most commonly used switching design by the company, and it successfully preserves the signal strength even when the pedal is not being used.
Are EarthQuaker Devices’ Pedals Analog?
Many EarthQuaker Device’s pedals use an all-analog signal path to create an authentic sound. Some also incorporate digital technology, but the vast majority are classed as analog pedals.
Tonaly purists prefer analog pedals because they tend to have a warmer sound that is associated with vintage devices. Being a boutique pedals that hand crafts all of their devices, it makes sense that EarthQuaker would focus mainly on analog pedals.
Where Are EarthQuaker Devices’ Pedals Made?
EarthQuaker Devices’ pedals are made in Akron, Ohio, which interestingly is the hometown of one of the manufacturers most notable users, blues rockers The Black Keys.
The company was formed in Akrom in 2004 by two friends, and now has a 15,000ft factory there where the pedals are all hand made. Their impressive rise in such a short time has won the brand many accolades in the industry.