The EarthQuaker Devices Data Corrupter is a Modulated Monophonic PLL Harmonizer with modulation.
This ain’t a simple pedal to describe in a few words, but we can certainly tell you that it belongs to EQD’s tradition of experimental and even “synthy” stompboxes. Here’s the intro from EQD’s website:
It takes your input signal and brutally amplifies it into a crushing square wave fuzz tone that is then multiplied, divided and modulated to create a wild, yet repeatable, three-voice guitar synthesizer.
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Here are the latest videos of it.
EQD’s rep Carl Porcaro had some fun with the Data Corrupter at our 2019 Brooklyn Stompbox Exhibit, check out the video that came out of it, below.
More videos by our favorite videographers here.
The Data Corrupter is a monophonic analog harmonizing PLL with modulation. It takes your input signal and brutally amplifies it into a crushing square wave fuzz tone that is then multiplied, divided and modulated to create a wild, yet repeatable, three-voice guitar synthesizer.
The Master Oscillator is the central nervous system at the heart of the Data Corrupter’s cyberpunk hive mind. It feeds your input to the signal harvester in its original octave (Unison), one octave down (-1) or two octaves down (-2) for maximum compatibility with your preferred instrument and frequency register. Once you’ve chosen your input octave, then the Data Corrupter will perform its calculations and spit out an analog synthesized frequency, which can be pitch-bent for portamento or vibrato sounds by the Frequency Modulator! From there, you can blend in one of eight Subharmonic intervals up to three octaves below the input and mix in a square wave fuzz tone for maximum data corruption.
The Master Oscillator (1) is the central nervous system at the heart of the Data Corrupter’s cyberpunk hive mind. The three-position switch on the Master Oscillator control panel labeled Root feeds your input to the signal harvester in its original octave (Unison), one octave down (-1) or two octaves down (-2). Use the Master Oscillator’s Root Switch to fine tune the Data Corrupter’s tracking response for maximum compatibility with your preferred instrument and frequency register. Once you’ve chosen your input octave, the Data Corrupter will perform its calculations and spit out a synthesized frequency, the octave and/or interval of which may be selected via the Master Oscillator’s eight-position rotary switch.
The Voice Mixer’s Oscillator Control (2) adjusts the Master Oscillator blend.
The Frequency Modulator (3) applies pitch-bend modulation to the Master Oscillator. In Glide mode, you’ll hear a smooth portamento as each note slides into the next. In Vibrato mode the pitch modulates up and down for a retro sci-fi laser effect.
The Subharmonic (4) assimilates the input signal into one of eight lower octave programs between one and three octaves below the original. For a more stable lower octave, set the Subharmonic’s Root Switch to the Unison position, which divides the Square Wave input signal, and removes the Frequency Modulator from the Subharmonic signal path.
To unleash the cracked machine lurking within the mainframe, set the Subharmonic Root Switch to Oscillator and try not to look away as the sonic malware you just installed mangles your input signal into the sum and difference of both the Master Oscillator and Subharmonic with the Frequency Modulator applied to the upper and lower octaves.
If you think you’re brave enough, set the Subharmonic Root Switch to Oscillator and try experimenting with different Master Oscillator and Subharmonic programs to wind up the doomsday clock and inch ever closer to the Singularity. Adjust the Voice Mixer’s Subharmonic Control to set the lower octave volume.
Finally, (or is it?) the Square (5) control located top-left on the Voice Mixer blends in a fuzzed-out square-wave take of your input in its original octave. That’s it. These aren’t the droids we’re looking for. Move along.
The heart of this pedal is based around a CMOS Phase Locked Loop (PLL) IC. In a nutshell, the PLL takes your input signal and compares its phase and frequency against an oscillator, generates an output proportional to their difference then feeds it back to the oscillator. This then causes the oscillator to lock onto the input signal and generate a synthesized frequency. Pretty cool, right? This synthesized frequency is referred to as the Master Oscillator on the Data Corrupter.
This device takes its inspiration from the Electrax Synthax and the “Basic Frequency Synthesizer” by Ray Marston. Neither of these were really intended to be guitar effect pedals and a lot of work went into creating the Data Corrupter to provide excellent tracking and long sustain. We think you’ll find it more expressive and accurate than pretty much any other PLL based effect pedal around.