EarthQuaker Devices Life Pedal™ Distortion & Boost with Octave
Sunn O))) and EarthQuaker Devices are pleased to bring you the Life Pedal Volume III. The Life Pedal V3 circuit has been meticulously tweaked from the original to squeeze every last drop of heavy crushing tone available. The octave section has been fine tuned to make it more pronounced without losing the bottom end and we added a third footswitch, utilizing Flexi-Switch® Technology, for the octave to allow an additional method of quick and radical tone shaping. We are excited to have this back in permanent production, it is a true labor of love.
Birth of a Life Pedal
In the writing sessions for Life Metal Stephen & Greg worked extensively shearing their tones toward a broader energy spectrum over high powered saturation and across planes of sonic character, with the ambition to take full advantage of Steve Albini’s (the recording engineer for the album) exacting capture skills.
The results are astounding: there is breadth and luminosity of colour, vast sonic cosmoses, flashes of abstract colour (synthetic and objective) through resulting themes which emerged from the mastered depths of saturation and circuits between the two players and their mountains of gear.
The Life Pedal is designed to represent the core front end chain used in those sessions, to drive the tubes of the band’s multiple vintage Sunn O))) Model T amplifiers (or take your fancy) into overload ecstasy. This is a 100w tube amp full stack’s holy dream, or its apostate nightmare.
An octave fuzz inspired by the Shin-Ei FY2 & FY6 units leads the circuit into a brutal big box rodent inspired distortion, recreated with the best components, and including a three-way clipping switch (OpAmp, Asymmetric & Symmetric). Second stage is a purely clean boost to further overdrive the preamp tubes of your vintage system into -scaped harmonics, and feedback overtone bliss.
Chasms are cleared, mountains sheared, glaciers calved, novæ birthed. Vintage valve amplifiers recommended. We hope you transcend.
Designed and manufactured by EarthQuaker Devices in the dark corridors of Akron, Ohio.
What is it?
Life Pedal is a distortion with a blendable analog octave up and a booster combined in one compact package. The “Amplitude” side is faithfully modeled after the classic “White Face” distortion unit, using modern, reliable components to last a lifetime. The only modifications made to the original circuit are in the clipping section. The traditional circuit uses a single pair of silicon diodes for a tight, compressed crunch. The Life Pedal introduces two additional clipping options to better adapt to different rigs. The first position is no diodes to allow for full, grinding OpAmp assault at maximum volume. The second position utilizes two silicon diodes and one LED in an asymmetrical clipping configuration. This delivers a slightly compressed and smooth crunch, similar to a valve amplifier. The last position is the stock double silicon diode configuration which provides that classic tone you know and love.
The Octave in Life Pedal is an all-discrete, analog full-wave rectifier base on a classic vintage design. Located at the input of the circuit, the Octave control slowly blends in the octave effects as you turn it clockwise. This feature can also be used via expression control allowing for wild, hands-free octave swells mid-riff. Because this is an analog octave effect, it is monophonic and works best playing single notes above the twelfth fret while using the neck pickup. Playing chords with the analog octave will sound clanging and chaotic. Using the bridge pickup and playing below the twelfth fret will produce a very subtle octave effect. Going full Octave transforms Life Pedal from a simple distortion device into a swelling, raging fuzz similar to the classic Super Fuzz!
The “Magnitude” section of Life Pedal is a simple all-discrete MOSFET booster designed to blast your preamp tubes and drive them wild. It is a 100% clean, no-nonsense, high impedance booster that adds very little color to your tone. It does not add distortion on its own but has plenty of output to push your amp into saturation.
The signal path goes Octave > Distortion > Boost. The octave distortion and booster can be used independently with their own respective footswitches.