the riptide rhythm

Walrus Audio Red High-Gain Distortion

I have not been paid for this review.


Walrus Audio

Walrus Audio unveiled at NAMM ‘17 their new distortion, “Red”. It’s a “take no prisioners” non-transparent distortion. So if you want it to act as a clean boost, then this is not for you. It contains an active EQ, volume, and gain controls, along with a “texture” switch as well as true-bypass. The “texture” switch toggles between an uncompressed, overdrive-like sound and a more compressed, tightened sound.

The Pedal

Walrus Audio

I will say that this pedal is one of the best sounding distortions that I have ever heard. I like high-gain in my distortion pedal but this adds a little sparkle that is hard to wrap my words around it but it is what makes this pedal unique. It’s definitely nails the shoegaze sparkle from the 90’s rock so well.

Let’s talk about the active EQ. For rhythm players, you will want to turn the bass EQ up to get a good chugging sound. Don’t go too high, you might make your bass player jealous. The mid EQ is when you want to stand out and cut through the mix for all of your leads. Treb does exactly that, it will either cut your highs or are add more in. I am really impressed with this EQ. Usually, I think they are done wrong, don’t like how they work. But this one is actually impressive with how tight each EQ is.

Let’s talk about the bottom row of controls. Volume is a master volume (I wish everything had this.) Gain does what you would expect with an exception. The gain all the way down is still distorted, it’s definitely less than if you were to crank it up. But it’s still gonna melt your face off.

The texture switch is nice addition for the compression. Down is the highest level of compression, where up is the highest (That seems backwards to me.) Completely, different sounds but I like that I can change it for lead vs rhythm or if you just want to screw with your sound guy because volume change is very noticeable. You can’t go wrong adding a phaser or a harmonic tremolo on top of this pedal as well.


In this case, they are small and minor changes. If you know me, you will hear that I hate, HATE having the power input on the sides. The one on the Red is less offensive than a MXR pedal because it is behind the output jack. My power supply is in the back of my board but I still prefer it on top side of a pedal. The width of the pedal is a different size. If you are strapped for space, then this might be an issue for you. I was able to drop it where my Suhr Riot Reloaded was without any issues but I had an extra 10cm to the right of it because it was the first in my gains.

So let’s sum up what I would like to see in a V2 version. I would like the power supply move to the top like my Iron Horse. I love how Walrus Audio does put the power supply slight inset so the plug fits nice and snug. I would also like to see it in the same size enclosure as the Iron Horse as well.

Final Thoughts

This pedal is one that is staying on my board and replacing my Suhr Riot Reloaded. It gives a different, unique and beautiful sounding distortion that works great for amps. I tend to use Orange amps most of the time, at least as my default, go-to everyday amp. It played nicely with a single coil pickups as well as humbuckers though I preferred the sound of the humbuckers.

Sound Clip

There has been no post production equalization. The only thing I added is a Digitech Polara Reverb in the signal chain for depth. I also kept to simple power chords and a basic 8th strumming pattern because I want to give a raw sound so that you can imagine what you can do.

Rating: 4 12 out 5 molluscs

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