It’s a busy week for pedal releases: it’s only Wednesday and Seymour Duncan, Mooer and JHS announced new pedals. Today, it’s EarthQuaker Devices‘ turn.
The Akron, Ohio based manufacturer unveiled a new “vintage-inspired pitch vibrato” pedal called Aqueduct, which by the company’s standards looks like a fairly simple device, with two top knobs to dial in rate and depth, and a central “Mode” knob that selects between 8 LFO shapes/functions.
Normally, three-knob pedals have most of their value embedded in their sound, and we have to say that the aqueduct lives up to its name in the Reverb.com video below, conferring a very appealing watery quality to both distorted and clean guitar tones. Nonetheless, the 8 modes give this pedal enough flexibility to make it palatable for adventurous musicians, in particular when the right side modes (Random, Env D, Env R and Env P) are engaged – oh and Square can get pretty weird too!
The three “Env” modes on the right get the effect’s Rate (Env R), Depth (Env D) and Pitch (Env P) to vary according to the performance’s dynamics.
The footswitch allows for both standard latching and momentary switching, which can trigger a series of creative effects, depending on the selected mode.
But to hear how the EarthQuaker Devices Aquaduct sounds, you want to take a listen to the video below by Reverb.com, and don’t miss the audio sample of the various modes posted on the manufacturer’s page!
Aqueduct™ is a vintage-inspired pitch vibrato with eight modulation modes delivering synth-like sonar pulses, touch-sensitive frequency modulation, gentle rolling pitch-wobbles, steady kosmische pulsations, rapid trills, slimy sonic squiggles, whammy bar wiggles, pitch bends, pseudo-flange, and anything else your pitch-warped brain can picture in your murky mind’s eye.
Rate (1) adjusts the LFO speed which controls how quickly the pitch rises and falls. Depth (2) controls the LFO amplitude, adjusting the intensity of the vibrato effect. The rotary switch labeled Mode (3) selects between one of eight LFO waveshape and envelope combinations which drastically alter the character of the modulation and make Aqueduct adaptable to nearly any musical situation.
- Sine: The smoothest and most subtle of all waveforms, sine waves are most commonly associated with classic amp-like vibrato. Plug in, turn on, and commence the Chooglin’.
- Triangle: Triangle waves have a sharper rise and fall than sine waves with a more pronounced pitch bend at the peak of each LFO cycle.
- Ramp: Like a triangle wave with a twist. The Ramp waveform has a sharp sonar pulse followed by a rapid downward slope with a synthesizer-like sustain and release. This is where things start to get a little weird.
- Square: Square waves are the most rigid and abrupt of the waveforms. Rather than gliding smoothly between pitches, square waves produce an instant on-or-off transition between notes. Use this mode for trills when you get tired of doing hammer-ons and pull-offs.
- Random: This waveform isn’t a waveform at all as much as it’s a drunken master of modulation who slurs your notes into an unpredictable assortment of greasy pitch-bends before disappearing at last call and leaving you stuck with the tab. It has a “warped record” effect at low Depth settings and becomes sloppier and more randomized as you increase the Depth control.
- Env D: This is Envelope-Controlled Depth mode. The waveshape is set to a sine wave, the speed of which may be adjusted using the Rate control. The Depth control sets the sensitivity of the envelope – the point at which the effect kicks in as you play. In this mode, your pick attack sets the intensity of the modulation. The harder you dig in, the more pronounced the effect. Try it during your next motorik jam.
- Env R: This is Envelope-Controlled Rate mode. In this mode, the input level (i.e. pick attack) controls the LFO rate. The LFO uses a sine waveshape. Play harder for faster modulation or lay low for slower modulation speeds. The Rate control adjusts the sensitivity of the envelope. Depth selects the LFO intensity.
- Env P: This is Envelope-Controlled Pitch mode, which we’ve lovingly nicknamed “The My Bloody Valentine setting.” If your instrument doesn’t have a tremolo bar, it does now. In this mode, the LFO is set to a sine waveshape, and frequency modulation is controlled by the dynamics of your pick attack and not the LFO. Do yourself a favor and try this one with Flexi-Switching™.
- Depth sets the wet/dry mix. This is the only mode that contains a wet/dry mix and may be set to taste to create touch-sensitive dynamic vibrato, chorus, flanger, or tactile pitch drops. Full counterclockwise is all dry, full clockwise is all wet. With this control set to noon you will get a 50/50 mix with a small amount of phase cancellation.
- Rate sets the sensitivity and overall range of the pitch bend.