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Earthquaker Devices Plumes Small Signal Shredder

Price: $99.99

EarthQuaker Devices Plumes Overdrive Pedal

"And I dub thee, Screamer Killer."

Plumes® Small Signal Shredder

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.

"One of the most important features of the Plumes® Small Signal Shredder is that Jamie used it on his own pedalboard for a long time before releasing it for everyone to use. Not to say that he hasn’t done that with other EarthQuaker designs, because he most certainly has. But this is the case of a designer who wasn’t necessarily crazy about a specific circuit, created something that he enjoyed using, and brought the whole thing to another level for everyone else. The use on stage and at band practice is where one can really hear what a pedal is lacking, and which attributes rise to the top. This obsession with testing and refining a circuit into something special is what makes Plumes stand alone in a vast sea of Tube Screamer-style transparent overdrives.

The first thing you will notice about Plumes is that it is loud. Loud but not noisy. This is a very “deliberate” sounding pedal. You will hear your pickups and playing. You will get a big result without a lot of knob turning or maxing out the controls. In fact, Plumes is a Tube Screamer-style pedal with a clarity and presence that I have never really experienced before. The components in Plumes were chosen to provide reliability and a more “audio grade” experience overall. Stepping on Plumes is like taking a packing blanket off your speaker. That’s pretty much what it sounds like to me. And if you don’t like things too overdriven, you can still benefit from Plumes’ hi-fi tonality.

This is a very cost-effective and simple way to turn a lifeless budget guitar into a sparkle machine. The tone control is pretty much worth the price of admission for me. Turn it clockwise past noon to wake up a boring sounding or low-output guitar. Turn it counterclockwise to tame pickups that you may have deemed too bright in the past. Use it on your bass pedalboard for great grit, with minimal low-end loss. Having the ability to use momentary switching via Flexi-Switch® Technology comes in handy when experimenting with song parts. Plumes is a great way to own a quality piece of gear, that is hand made in the USA by people who love what they do."

Design Notes

Plumes is an overdrive based around that classically overdone tube-like circuit you all know, and amps crave. While this particular circuit has been done to death, we here at EarthQuaker Devices brand of special effects pedals think the Plumes offers an original take on the old, tired dead horse everyone loves to beat on. You can’t get enough of it, so we are giving you some more. Doctor’s orders and what not….

For starters, we’ve done away with the sacred 4558 IC and the classic BJT transistor buffers and replaced them with JFET operational amplifiers and raised the input impedance to nearly 10 megaohms! This offers lower noise, better signal integrity and more chime in the high end. We power this OpAmp by taking the 9v input and internally converting it to +/- 9v to give it more headroom. The end result is a more three-dimensional tone with added clarity that really pushes a nice tube amp over the edge. You might notice how those badass leads you’re always ripping will blast over those awful, no good cymbals your drummer is constantly bashing around on. It sounds like diamonds…a million f**king diamonds!

We’ve also added three different clipping options for your consideration. Mode 1 is symmetrical clipping utilizing a pair of light emitting diodes. This is the crunchiest setting the Plumes has to offer. When played through a clean amp, it’ll deliver a reasonable facsimile of that classic black and gold British valve amp tone. If you already set your amp dirty, using this mode will make it filthy. Mode 2 is clean boost mode. This eliminates the soft clipping diodes altogether and leaves you with straight OpAmp drive. This is perfect for pushing your clean tone out in front or driving the preamp of an already overdriven amp into tasteful breakup territory. Mode 3 is an asymmetrical silicon diode arrangement similar to the stock screamer but with more output and clean clarity; the tone some people describe as “transparent”. It’s almost as if your clean tone is blended in with a slightly less clean tone, ya know? Using this mode gives a warmer low-end response and lower output. It’s less hard on your amp and your ears. It’s a classic pleasant tone the whole band can enjoy.

Not enough for you? We’ve also improved the way the classic tone control operates while still leaving it familiar enough to keep you warm and comfortable. It’s still a safe space, no worries in here. It’s now useful through the whole range. The low end is big and clear, and the high end is bright and cutting without killing the mids. Just the right amount of tonal tickling to excite those ear drums yet still give that familiar mid-heavy drive.

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