Recording - July 2011 - 23

good for jazz. You can dial in the amount of “quack” vs. the tolerable level of noise. It’s not advertised as a noise reducer, but it is an essential toy for a Strat player to at least mess around with. I think it’s a great option in a home-studio rig, especially with a limited number of guitars.” The Dragster definitely wins the “why not?” award for this set of reviews; it’s affordable, simple, and offers a surprising range of tweaks to your bare instrument’s tone and playing response. It’s simply too cool not to have lying around! Dwarfcraft Devices Power Struggle and Eau Claire Thunder $95 and $275; www.dwarfcraft.com Benjamin Hinz, “Aen” to his friends and fans, creates some of the weirdest effects pedals on the planet: noisemakers and oscillators with joysticks, feedback loop devices and deliberately off-kilter modulators and overdrives, with controls like Crash, Chaos, Hair, and Squeel... products like the Rot Yr Brain, the Dream Mangler, the Thumping

which ones it doesn’t do anything to... other than make the pedal drop dead when the voltage drops too low, a common effect on any pedal that’s primarily digital. My instinct was that it would work well with an old-school circuit design like the Malekko FUZZ pedal (see below), and I was right. While for most of the Starve knob’s travel the pedal just died, there was a very cool range of settings where its tone altered to a very bassy and treble-softened growl that was very different from the FUZZ’s usual bright “Jumper 3” sound. Darwin says, and I agree, that this is a fun pedal to experiment with on effects you already own, in a search for new tones. If you’re way into that, it might be a lot of fun to have lying around to try out here and there. The Eau Claire Thunder, on the other hand, is a pedal anyone can understand, at least in principle: it’s a distortion box. When you get past that basic idea, though, things get interesting, and this was one of the pedals that totally sidetracked us from our careful set of listening tests into hours of

Double Squaresnakes, and my personal favorite, Mike’s Salty Romance Explosion. For this review, Aen sent us the Eau Claire Thunder distortion pedal and the Power Struggle, a pedal which, well, makes your other effects struggle for power. Say what? The principle behind the Power Struggle is simple... for years, guitarists have noted interesting tonal and behavioral changes in some effects processors when the batteries start to die. As voltages drop, circuit behavior breaks down in ways that can be very musical at times. For a while, you could buy old-fashioned carbon-zinc 9V batteries deliberately marketed for their power-loss characteristics! The Power Struggle plugs in between your power supply and a pedal, and as you turn the Starve dial (or work an optional expression pedal plugged into the box), it gradually starves your pedals of juice. Some Dwarfcraft pedals have this Starve function built in; this lets you add it to anything. Aen is very straightforward about this box; far from claiming it makes everything sound cool, or even most things, he keeps an ever-growing list of pedals that it works with on his website and is frank about

turning knobs, blistering our ears, and cackling insanely. This pedal is Exhibit A in any case against manufacturers daring to call their boring old fuzzboxes “extreme”. It starts out with Volume, Tone, and Distortion knobs that interact for the widest variation in fuzztones we’ve ever heard, from shreddy with lots of treble to thunderously bassy.... as Darwin put it, “From the 1960s through Post-Now.” The Timewarp switch puts the pedal into a lovely midrangy zone with a sweet and heavy character... and the Toneblast switch kills the Tone control and delivers a totally crushing “combo amp pushed really hard” sound with gobs of extra gain. Last but not least, there’s a momentary Feedback switch that throws the sound through a tunable feedback loop and produces snarly, screeching self-oscillation sounds that can really spice up a lead (or, to be fair, cause formerly musical material to deconstruct into out-of-tune noise). What Darwin found most remarkable about the Eau Claire Thunder was how fantastic it sounded on chords; frequently we think of fuzzboxes as being primarily for lead lines, breaking down into mush
RECORDING JULY 2011

23


http://www.dwarfcraft.com http://www.adkmic.com http://www.adkmic.com http://www.myspace.com/AdKMIC

Recording - July 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - July 2011

Recording - July 2011
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Fast Forward
Put Your Foot Down!
A Guitar Gear Grab Bag
Fat Guitar Tones Without The Mud
Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5017
iOS Music Tools For Guitarists
Reviewed and Revisited: BOSS RC-30 Loop Station
Reviewed and Revisited: IK Multimedia AmpliTube 3.5
Tech21 Blonde
It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights. Chapter 16: Licensing Music For Video Games
Eventide Space
Recording’s Showcase of Sounds
TC Electronic Flashback, Shaker, and Hall Of Fame
Readers’ Tapes
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - July 2011 - Recording - July 2011
Recording - July 2011 - Cover2
Recording - July 2011 - 1
Recording - July 2011 - Fade In
Recording - July 2011 - 3
Recording - July 2011 - Contents
Recording - July 2011 - 5
Recording - July 2011 - Talkback
Recording - July 2011 - 7
Recording - July 2011 - Fast Forward
Recording - July 2011 - 9
Recording - July 2011 - 10
Recording - July 2011 - 11
Recording - July 2011 - Put Your Foot Down!
Recording - July 2011 - 13
Recording - July 2011 - 14
Recording - July 2011 - 15
Recording - July 2011 - 16
Recording - July 2011 - 17
Recording - July 2011 - 18
Recording - July 2011 - 19
Recording - July 2011 - 20
Recording - July 2011 - 21
Recording - July 2011 - A Guitar Gear Grab Bag
Recording - July 2011 - 23
Recording - July 2011 - 24
Recording - July 2011 - 25
Recording - July 2011 - 26
Recording - July 2011 - 27
Recording - July 2011 - 28
Recording - July 2011 - 29
Recording - July 2011 - 30
Recording - July 2011 - 31
Recording - July 2011 - 32
Recording - July 2011 - 33
Recording - July 2011 - Fat Guitar Tones Without The Mud
Recording - July 2011 - 35
Recording - July 2011 - 36
Recording - July 2011 - 37
Recording - July 2011 - Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5017
Recording - July 2011 - 39
Recording - July 2011 - iOS Music Tools For Guitarists
Recording - July 2011 - 41
Recording - July 2011 - 42
Recording - July 2011 - 43
Recording - July 2011 - Reviewed and Revisited: BOSS RC-30 Loop Station
Recording - July 2011 - 45
Recording - July 2011 - Reviewed and Revisited: IK Multimedia AmpliTube 3.5
Recording - July 2011 - 47
Recording - July 2011 - 48
Recording - July 2011 - 49
Recording - July 2011 - Tech21 Blonde
Recording - July 2011 - 51
Recording - July 2011 - 52
Recording - July 2011 - 53
Recording - July 2011 - 54
Recording - July 2011 - 55
Recording - July 2011 - It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights. Chapter 16: Licensing Music For Video Games
Recording - July 2011 - 57
Recording - July 2011 - Eventide Space
Recording - July 2011 - 59
Recording - July 2011 - Recording’s Showcase of Sounds
Recording - July 2011 - 61
Recording - July 2011 - TC Electronic Flashback, Shaker, and Hall Of Fame
Recording - July 2011 - 63
Recording - July 2011 - Readers’ Tapes
Recording - July 2011 - Advertiser Index
Recording - July 2011 - 66
Recording - July 2011 - 67
Recording - July 2011 - 68
Recording - July 2011 - 69
Recording - July 2011 - 70
Recording - July 2011 - 71
Recording - July 2011 - Fade Out
Recording - July 2011 - Cover3
Recording - July 2011 - Cover4
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