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Earthquaker Devices Sunn O))) Life Pedal V3 Distortion and Octave

The newly re-engineered Life Pedal V3 is your ticket to heavy distortion tones, fuzz, octave and clean boost all in one pedal. While the distortion section is modeled after the iconic Rat Whiteface pedal, being an Earthquaker Device there is a lot more to explore.

First off, the distortion section offers 3 different clipping modes – OpAmp, Asymmetrical, and Symmetrical -- that unto themselves offer a lot of options. And with the range of gain available on the Distortion knob, you can go from “sort of” clean to heavy crunch, or velvety fuzz. The OpAmp position is not really a distortion setting, but it’s angry, grinding, and capable of getting very loud. The Life Pedal is not about subtlety.

Earthquaker tends to include a “wow” knob on most of their creations, and in this case it’s the Filter control. It’s a low pass filter that sweeps from 500Hz to 30KHz. This knob can radically alter the distortion tones from lo-fi transistor radio on steroids to a dark swarm of buzzing bees. With the three clipping modes and the filter control, you have way more than 50 shades of Life Metal.

Then of course there is the Octave function, which Earthquaker describes as monophonic and best used on single note work above the 12th fret. The Octave knob varies the blend between the main note and the octave. The octave function only works with the Amplitude (distortion) “on” and all the switches on the Life Pedal tap for “on/off” or hold the switch down for momentary non-latching usage. The expression pedal input controls the octave blend

 Lastly the Magnitude control is a clean neutral boost that can be used by itself or with the distortion/octave section. It’s your guitar, just louder, and you can also use it punish a downstream device or your amp.

 The Life Pedal is not meant for the faint of heart, but it also allows the user a tremendous range of sound sculpting that makes it more than just a distortion/octave pedal. From hard rock to prog to metal, the Life Pedal will breathe new life into your rig.


From Earthquaker Devices in their own words:

Sunn O))) Life Pedal is a distortion with a blendable analog octave up and a booster combined in one compact package. The “Amplitude” side is faithfully modeled after the classic “White Face” distortion unit, using modern, reliable components to last a lifetime. The only modifications made to the original circuit are in the clipping section. The traditional circuit uses a single pair of silicon diodes for a tight, compressed crunch. The Sunn O))) Life Pedal introduces two additional clipping options to better adapt to different rigs. The first position is no diodes to allow for full, grinding OpAmp assault at maximum volume. The second position utilizes two silicon diodes and one LED in an asymmetrical clipping configuration. This delivers a slightly compressed and smooth crunch, similar to a valve amplifier. The last position is the stock double silicon diode configuration which provides that classic tone you know and love.

The Octave in Sunn O))) Life Pedal is an all-discrete, analog full-wave rectifier base on a classic vintage design. Located at the input of the circuit, the Octave control slowly blends in the octave effects as you turn it clockwise. This feature can also be used via expression control allowing for wild, hands-free octave swells mid-riff or using the footswitch for immediate octave fuzz destruction. Because this is an analog octave effect, it is monophonic and works best playing single notes above the twelfth fret while using the neck pickup. Playing chords with the analog octave will sound clanging and chaotic. Using the bridge pickup and playing below the twelfth fret will produce a very subtle octave effect. Going full Octave transforms Sunn O))) Life Pedal from a simple distortion device into a swelling, raging fuzz similar to the classic Super Fuzz!

The “Magnitude” section is a simple all-discrete MOSFET booster designed to blast your preamp tubes and drive them wild. It is a 100% clean, no-nonsense, high impedance booster that adds very little color to your tone. It does not add distortion on its own but has plenty of output to push your amp into saturation.

The signal path goes Octave>Distortion>Boost. The octave distortion and booster can be used independently with their own respective footswitches.

  • Sunn O))) Life Peda is a distortion with a blendable analog octave up and a booster
  • Features 3 different clipping options: Symmetrical Silicon, Asymmetrical Silicon & LED, and pure OpAmp Drive
  • Distortion and booster can be used independently
  • Expression and footswitch control over analog octave up
  • Octave blend allows total control over how much Octave is mixed into the circuit
  • True bypass with silent relay based soft touch switches
  • Features EarthQuaker Devices’ proprietary Flexi-Switch® Technology
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Current Draw: 15 mA
  • Octave Distortion: Input impedance: 1 MΩ / Output impedance: