I have not been paid for this review.
Walrus Audio unveiled at NAMM ‘17 their new distortion, “Red”. It’s a “take no prisioners” distortion. 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.
I like some high-gain in my distortion pedals 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 death metal 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. 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. 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.
It gives a different, unique and beautiful sounding distortion that works great for amps. It played nicely with a single coil pickups as well as humbuckers though Ipreferred the sound of the humbuckers. It screams Swedish Death Metal all over this.