Any guitarist hunting the one true overdrive faces a dizzying array of options, from original designs to tweaked versions of the classics. It’s not uncommon to see pedalboards with multiple dirtboxes Velcro’d in place for a smorgasbord of filthy flavours. Different shades of drive provide the player with multiple gears – or simply stack ’em all up to send your lead tone into meltdown.
Undaunted by the glut of overdriven offerings demanding buyers’ attention, Walrus Audio has launched the Ages five-stage overdrive – a single berth, ’board-friendly unit (top-mounted jacks and everything) in olive drab adorned with a silkscreened image of an angry pachyderm that hints of the fury capable of being unleashed.
Versatility is the name of the game here and the Ages offers five separate voices, each a different combination of internal gain and clipping style. There’s also a powerful dual-band EQ system, and a wet/dry control to allow for a clear attack at all times.
The gain levels on tap increase as you travel clockwise around the mode switch and with all knobs at noon and mode one selected, we have low gain combined with symmetric silicon low clipping for a smooth, compressed sound. It’s an engaging take on the low-gain textures of an ‘always on’ clean boost/transparent OD pedal but it can certainly get spitty as you dial up the gain.
Setting two twins up the same low-gain mode with symmetric LED soft clipping. This is a more open sound, like a good pushed boost, and there’s a lot of high-end sheen to explore, especially with single coils.
Moving to setting three, we encounter the first high-gain voice, in this case combined with symmetric soft silicon clipping. We are immediately in more aggressive territory, with a rush of gain that works beautifully for chugged chords. It’s an evocative lead sound too – muscular and precise, especially as you work the wet/dry control to add bite to the initial attack. It’s particularly effective with P-90s.
A step to the right unveils setting four, which blends the high gain with symmetric LED soft clipping. The saturation jumps up another level and the LED clipping is responsive and grippy. Great for wide vibrato, screaming leads and pick harmonics.
Mode five is the full heffalump as the Ages stampedes into crushing saturation with a combination of high gain and symmetric silicon hard clipping. It’s compressed, heavy as hell but never fizzy. Truly joyful stuff.
If you’ve never used an overdrive with a wet/dry control then you may be surprised at just what a difference it can make when sculpting your desired tone. Also, where the majority of ODs on the market will only offer a single tone knob, Ages gives you the power to finesse both the treble and bass ends of your sound and, even at extreme settings, we find the sounds useable across a variety of musical contexts. Be advised, however, the settings affect each mode differently and as such you may need to tweak the gain and volume as you move along the dial.
- PRICE £179
- DESCRIPTION 5-mode overdrive pedal, built in the USA
- CONTROLS Volume, bass, treble, gain, wet/dry and 5-way mode switch
- DIMENSIONS 64 x 52 x 120mm
- CONTACT face.be, walrusaudio.com