NAMM 2020: EarthQuaker Devices has reissued the Life Pedal, its collaboration with the band Sunn O))). V2 of the pedal sports the same circuitry, controls and tones, in a smaller enclosure more typical of the EQD design style than its predecessor, which was released last year in various versions. You can check out EQD’s demo video of the Life Pedal V2 above.
The pedal’s sound is inspired by those found on Sunn O)))’s recent albums Life Metal and Pyroclasts. True to the band’s approach to, well, pretty much everything, this pedal is loud – the drive knob for the octave-distortion side of things offers a formidable 60dB of gain, and that’s on top of the separate boost side of the pedal, engaged with the secondary footswitch.
The octave distortion is modelled on the “White Face” distortion unit, down to the LM308 IC and tantalum capacitors. EQD has added some extra clipping options, however, accessible with a central selector knob.
The first position bypasses the circuit’s diodes to allow for the unhinged Op-Amp distortion, while the second position adds in two silicon diodes and one LED in an asymmetrical clipping configuration. This delivers a more compressed and smooth crunch, closer to a valve distortion. The last position selects a pair of silicon diodes for classic distortions sounds.
Additionally, you have control of the two volumes of the pedal with the Amplitude and Magnitude knobs controlling the distortion and boost respectively. The Distortion knob adds in the aforementioned 60dB of gain, while a low-pass filter lets you tune the EQ character of the pedal. Finally, the octave control blends in the analogue octave-up signal. New for version 2, this parameter can also be swept using an external expression pedal.
Read our interview with Sunn O)))’s Greg Anderson about the original pedal here.