Straight out of the gate, this pedal establishes itself as something much more than your standard dirtbox. If you’re looking for something that’s just going to add a bit of grunt and girth to your sound, then you best go for a simpler option. Elektron’s creation is about tone-sculpting, and is capable of moving from a synth-like buzzsaw fuzz to dark and brooding doom sonics in a heartbeat. If you’ve got a distortion sound boiling away in your mind, it’s a fair bet that this pedal can help you achieve it.
With eight settings ranging from the usable to the experimental, there’s some serious room for experimentation under the hood of this puppy. Moving clockwise, each setting will up the gain and by the time you make it all the way to the thick gain mode, your signal will be worlds from where it started.
Kicking things off with clean boost, you’ll basically be getting what it says on the tin. It’s more of you — with no colouration, unless you want there to be. That’s where the low, mid and high control knobs come into play, acting as a master EQ for all of the modes the Elektron is capable of moving through.
The mid drive will get you into classic Tubescreamer territory, loaded with that throaty mid-range hump that players either love or hate. Personally, there’s no better way to cut through a mix than with that honky, gnarly mid-range, and this pedal will get you there and then some. The dirty drive setting warms things up a bit, rolling off the high end in favour of an earthier, bluesier tone that shines during rhythm playing.
Once you hit the big distortion mode, things start to get a little fizzier. You’re still not in the realm of pure fuzz, but you’re getting there. When playing on the bridge pickup, things tend to get a little bitey, but for more abrasive styles of music this could certainly come in handy.
Focused distortion mode will cut through a full band like a knife, while harmonic fuzz brings in a slew of overtones that really help lead lines sing out in the vein of classic germanium-stye pedals. It’s a well-rounded fuzz tone that’s never overbearing, and works well for both organic and contemporary styles of playing. Extremely touch responsive, it’s one of the finest assets this pedal has to offer.
Once things hit the final high gain settings, your signal is going to be absolutely cooking. High gain mode offers a more focused and compressed midrange, while thick gain ups the ante even more — resulting in a sound that works best when palm muting some chunky power chords.
All in all, this could be the only dirt pedal you ever need. It’s capable of working through a gamut of styles and sounds, with the EQ controls meaning you’re free to further sculpt them to your liking. Whether you need such a versatile tool however, is of course up to you.