Gearphoria Volume 7, Number 1

I DIDN’T really expect to like Ryan Adams’ new signature pedal from Walrus Audio, the DEFCON 4 Preamp / EQ / Boost. I didn’t expect it to be bad - Walrus makes good stuff. And I’ve met Ryan and talked gear with him (mostly old movies, but we did geek out over pedals for a bit) and hung out at his studio, Paxam, a couple of times. He’s got a good ear for vintage and boutique equipment and knows what he’s looking for tonally. But mostly his music just isn’t my thing, so I expected a mild drive pedal or something of that ilk. When I received the fancy little EQ pedal, the idea of it fell GEAR REVIEWS u Walrus Audio DEFCON4 right into what I was expecting. Plus, I’m always leery of artists’ “signature” equipment. Not to say it can’t be great, but whether or not the artist is actually playing their signature piece is pretty hit or miss. Being offered a signature piece is too cool of an opportunity for an artist to pass on, but realis- tically, I think there is a tendency to stick with the sounds you know and love. That being said, Ryan Adams might be the perfect guy to create a signature pedal for. He’s essentially been making his own signature pedals for years. His board is a mix of Boss and EHX standards, boutique pedals you know, and custom one-offs that he had made for him. Mostly these one-off pedals are takes on classic effects rehoused in vintage movie or obscure TV show themed boxes. The DEFCON 4, with its light up display of ICBM flight paths and impact points and its num- bered switches and correspond- ing LEDs will fit right at home on Ryan’s board. The DEFCON 4 is controlled by three 5-posi- tion rotary knobs and three corre- sponding toggle switches that turn each knob on or off. The IV knob controls the low band; The III knob controls the mid band; and the II knob controls the high band. Do you want to play? New collab pedal from Ryan Adams & Walrus is better than nuclear war BY WADE BURDEN 54 GEARPHORIA SEP/OCT 2018