earth­Quaker De­vices aque­duct

A huge range of vi­brato sounds, along with a few sur­prises, too…

Guitarist - - Contents - Words Rod Brakes Photography Olly Cur­tis

While some of Earth­Quaker’s cur­rent 42 ped­als are con­cise, mod­ern re­fine­ments of clas­sic vin­tage sounds, many oth­ers – in­clud­ing this Aque­duct vi­brato – have vir­tu­ally kid­napped con­ven­tional ana­logue wis­dom and given it a RoboCop-style dig­i­tal makeover. With the Aque­duct vi­brato, Earth­Quaker hasn’t so much ‘rein­vented the wheel’ as ripped the axle off and re­placed it with tur­bo­jets.

That age-old ef­fect, the hum­ble vi­brato, has mi­grated from our fin­gers to whammy bar, to amp, to ana­logue pedal, and has now ar­rived with a dig­i­tal su­per­brain – mean­ing it does way more than merely repli­cate a woozy old Mag­na­tone. We has­ten to add it does that thing very well (think cho­rus with­out the dry sig­nal), but that’s very much just scratch­ing the Aque­duct’s wa­tery sur­face.

There are two stan­dard con­trols when it comes to vi­brato: rate and depth – how quickly and how much the pitch is mod­u­lated up and down by an LFO (low fre­quency os­cil­la­tor). The typ­i­cal LFO in a vi­brato cir­cuit will have a sine wave­shape, and this smooth, fa­mil­iar bob­bing sound is the first of the Aque­duct’s eight vi­brato/ wave­shape modes. Move the ro­tary mode se­lec­tor switch anti-clock­wise to the next po­si­tion, Tri­an­gle, and things sud­denly get very choppy. At this point, the Aque­duct al­ready feels like un­fa­mil­iar waters – and that’s just the be­gin­ning.

Mov­ing on to Ramp and Square modes, the over­all ef­fect in­ten­si­fies and be­comes overtly rhyth­mic in na­ture. Sub­se­quently, us­ing these less sub­tle LFO wave­shapes calls for a more re­ac­tive ap­proach to play­ing. The next mode, Ran­dom, is a law unto it­self and re­quires a sturdy set of sea legs to ex­plore with, but its ex­per­i­men­tal ‘vibe’ should be enough to prise most gui­tarists out of their com­fort zone.

The Aque­duct’s pièce de ré­sis­tance, how­ever, is its three ‘En­ve­lope-Con­trolled’ modes of Rate, Depth and Pitch. This abil­ity to in­ter­act with the ef­fect by way of play­ing dy­nam­ics is a func­tional mas­ter­stroke of orig­i­nal­ity and is bound to push play­ers into new ar­eas cre­atively.

ver­dict

One of the most in­ter­ac­tive, in­spir­ing and in­tu­itive of mod­u­la­tion ef­fects to ap­pear in some time – if you can think of a way to make it wob­ble, it prob­a­bly will. Pros Clear and even out­put sig­nal; broad range of LFO wave­shapes; in­ter­ac­tive ‘En­ve­lope-Con­trolled’ vi­brato Cons No pre­sets/stor­age; no tap tempo; no ex­pres­sion pedal; no MIDI con­nec­tiv­ity

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