Posted by
Feb 16, 2021

Whimsy Machines King Spark

If “Tube Screamer-inspired” overdrive is a soundbite that instantly turns you off, even just the looks of the Whimsy Machines King Spark Overdrive should make you reconsider your first instincts. A quick glance at the manufacturer’s description of the pedal will likely trigger intrigue:

King Spark is a highly modified discrete core tube screamer with tunable positive feedback. Think of it as a voltage controlled resonant filter from the synthesizer world and a tube screamer that are not just connected, but intertwined at their cores.

For the technically-challenged, suffice to say that this basically an overdrive with an embedded wah-style effect + three-band EQ section that can generate bizarre tones and phasing effects culminating into self-oscillation if you push that Res knob way up.

The filter section lets you control the frequency you want to push through the Resonance knob, which, if used moderately, can act as a parametric EQ to push specific frequencies for extra bite or growl.

The King Spark also features a secondary “secret phaser” output when using a TRS insert cable on the output, which bypasses EQ and volume controls.

King Spark is a highly modified discrete core tube screamer with tunable positive feedback. Think of it as a voltage controlled resonate filter from the synthesizer world and a tube screamer that are not just connected, but intertwined at their cores.
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Increasing positive feedback (level knob OR level expression pedal input) causes bizarre phasing effects until gradual self oscillation at a chosen frequency, either by frequency knob, frequency expression pedal input or incoming voltage from an external synthesizer. It does respond to 1 volt/octave CV signals. Inside is a true “synthesizer front end”; A linear voltage to exponential current converter making it synthesizer friendly. CV input is DC coupled, allowing for audio rate frequency modulation.
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Entire effect sounds reminiscent of natural acoustic oscillation due to a positive feedback loop in your live setup. If the sound waves coming from your speakers are powerful enough, they will naturally cause your strings to vibrate, creating a positive feedback loop that feeds on itself, eventually causing uncontrollable oscillation. King Spark allows you to control the level of this feedback, the frequency in the audio spectrum at which it occurs and the likelihood of vibration in the strings. All of this occurring inside and around the core of the discreet tube screamer itself, intertwining your overdriven guitar signal with the self-oscillation of the positive feedback network. It’s playable, controllable and features all the fun of natural acoustic feedback, but without the need for a live setup or having the cops called on you by the upstairs neighbors. You’re probably already on thin ice with management.
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Secondary “secret phaser” output when using a TRS insert cable on the output. Main output on the tip and secret output on the ring. EQ and volume controls have no effect on this secondary output.