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EarthQuaker Devices Plumes Small Signal Shredder Overdrive Pedal

   
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EarthQuaker Devices has made a name for themselves as masters of wild and futuristic effects pedals so we we were very curious about their approach to "classic" guitar effects. When we fired up The Plumes, we were quite impressed, to no-one's surprise. The Plumes is an analog overdrive circuit with a few key characteristics that separate it from the pack. Running off dual JFET OpAmps, this pedal is packed with headroom and they cleverly raised the input impedance to 10 mega-ohms to give you unparalleled clarity and an ultra low-noise platform. They also included a clipping switch that gives you three different textures of grind, which is our favorite feature. 

Mode 1 is Symmetrical Clipping via Light emitting diodes (LED's) which offers a bright, tight and crunchy texture akin to vintage British tube breakup. This is particularly useful for heavy hitting power chords and tight, slightly compressed lead lines. This setting can get plenty dirty on its own and if your amp is already breaking up, this will make it extra nasty. Mode 2 is a clean boost setting that features pure op-amp drive, bypassing the soft-clipping diodes altogether. This is a really thoughtful feature if you want to make the most of your guitar and amp without compromising your core clean tone. Gone are the days where you need to bend down and tweak knobs to get your favorite overdrive pedal to clean up! Mode 3 is Asymmetrical Silicon clipping which will sound the most familiar to fans of classic overdrives like the venerable Screamer. Like anything from EarthQuaker Devices, it is no clone and in many ways if you're used to the original Screamer, this circuit solves some of the well known issues by offering a tasteful combination of output and clarity. It's got a smooth warmer low end, lots of sustain and sparkling highs that create some of the most pleasing lead tones The Plumes has to offer. 

The last piece of the puzzle is their unique take on the tone control. If you've spent time with any other overdrive platform you'll immediately notice that The Plumes tone control is doing a lot more than rolling off and adding highs. In fact the entire sweep of the knob is completely useable. Rolled all the way "down" the signal is warmly subdued, but still clear and present, whereas most other tone controls would turn to mush. As you work back to noon, you'll hear the mids push back with a force, giving you a bit more bite with plenty of warmth in mix. When you continue on into treble-land, things certainly get bright and tight but the mids don't disappear! Depending on what amp you use, you can even get it sounding like an old-school treble booster thanks to the rich harmonic content that remains present throughout the adjustment. 

Overall, The Plumes is a perfect example of the innovative prowess at EarthQuaker Devices. They took simple analog overdrive, something at this point most players think they know inside and out, and created a truly multi-dimensional platform that can transform as quickly as the ideas in your head. And at $ 99, we consider this one a no-brainer. 

Direct From Earthquaker Devices ...

Plumes® is a unique, all-analog approach to a classic tube-like overdrive circuit offering 3 different clipping voices, loads of headroom and almost three-dimensional clarity that will push your amp over the edge. The reimagined tone control is finely tuned to sculpt low end, clear top end, and focus midrange with blooming sustain.


Controls

1. Level: This controls the output volume.

2. Gain: This controls the amount of drive.

3. Tone: More bass to the left, more middles in the middle and more treble to the right.

 Clipping Modes (3-Way Toggle):

1. Symmetrical LED clipping - More Crunch and Compression.

2. No clipping - Wide open OpAmp drive for clean boost.

3. Asymmetrical silicon diode clipping - More transparency with a loose feel.



Flexi-Switch® Technology

This device features Flexi-Switch® Technology! This relay-based, true bypass switching style allows you to simultaneously use momentary and latching style switching.

  • For standard latching operation, tap the footswitch once to activate the effect and then tap again to bypass.

  • For momentary operation, hold the footswitch down for as long as you’d like to use the effect. Once you release the switch the effect will be bypassed.

Since the switching is relay based, it requires power to pass signal.


Power

This device takes a standard 9 volt DC power supply with a 2.1mm negative center barrel. We always recommend pedal-specific, transformer-isolated wall-wart power supplies or multiple isolated-output supplies. Pedals will make extra noise if there is ripple or unclean power. Switching-type power supplies, daisy chains and non-pedal specific power supplies do not filter dirty power as well and let through unwanted noise. DO NOT RUN AT HIGHER VOLTAGES!