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3 Dark Stalking Horses from Lichtlaerm Audio - Altar High Gain Fuzz, Gehenna High Gain Distortion and Trugbild Lo-Fi Chorus

Big Muff Style FuzzBrown Sound DistortionChorus and VibratoDistortionDriveEffects Pedal MakersFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionLichtlaerm AudioMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionModulationSilicon Fuzz+-
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My first introduction to Lichtlaerm Audio was courtesy of Henning Pauly - where I caught him talking about Daniel Ringl’s Berlin-made pedals way before Henning’s demo videos were released. There’s actually 4 pedals to the range - including an input-triggered Noise Gate called The Key and The Gate - working somewhat similarly to Fortin’s Zuul, but relying on a loop rather than single input trigger. I’m very well covered in the area of Noise Gates so that is not my current focus - said pedal is sold out in any case and not currently available. The focus here is on the 3 pedals which Henning recently reviewed - practically in the same order as he reviewed them.

 

The first up for consideration is the 6-knob and dual-footswitch Altar High Gain Muff variant Fuzz + Boost - in fact all the pedals featured here contain dual fooswitches which is very much to my liking. The Altar’s 6 controls are : Bass | Depth | Treble | Boost | Gain | Level - with the Fuzz activated by the right-hand footswitch, and the Boost by the left. It’s a really versatile, evenly balanced and wide-ranging fuzz, and the Mosfet Boost is actually really complementary - as long as the fuzz is dialled in right - Depth control in particular. I actually really like this fuzz - in truth I don’t need yet another Muff variant I really have plenty of those already - but have an inkling there may still be room for one or two more - and yes - this one is definitely going on the wishlist.

 

In the middle we have the Gehenna High Gain Distortion and Boost - with 5 knobs, 2 x toggle-switches and of course dual-footswitches. The knobs are : Bass | Mid | Treble | Level | Gain; while the two voicing switches are for Modern/Tight/Vintage as you would imagine, and British/American - the latter switch which alters the Mids response between Marshall-esque and Peavey/Mesa-esque frequency profiles. I’ve actually been looking for a High Gain Distortion that does those dense mid frequencies - like the best of my favourite Diezel amps. I love that Herbert-style midrange attack especially, and this pedal sounds like it could get me pretty close. I own the two versions of the Diezel VH4 pedal which I rotated out of my pedal-chain because of the rather awkward size factor - which kind of precludes me from acquiring the Herbert variant too. I’ve been steadily on the look-out for pedals that do that kind of Diezel sound - and this is another that seems to come very close. Right-hand footswitch activates the distortion, and the left-hand footswitch activates the sort of Tube Screamer style Boost - which is further adjusted by internal trimpot. This is a great sounding High Gain Distortion with the kind of saturated mids character I really like - I will definitely be getting my hands on one of these.

 

The final pedal featured here is the Trugbild - a really cool Lo-Fi style of warbly Chorus with multiple Waveforms / Modes for added versatility. Controls are : Depth | Lag | Rate | Tone | Mix - with the inclusion of Lag pretty rare; while the 3 waveforms/modes are : Random/SineWave/TriangleWave. Here the right-hand footswitch activates the Chorus and the left gives you Tap-Tempo control of Rate. Had I encountered this pedal earlier I would have likely placed it on the wishlist - as it is, I have rather too many Choruses on my wishlist already - so the decision process for acquiring one of these would be some way off. I still really like it - it’s unique enough to warrant consideration - and like its siblings featured here does some clever things within the form-factor.

 

Henning noted the all black construction here and I must admit it’s something of a pet peeve of mine if I can’t see the pointers on the knobs/dials. I have a white permanent marker just for those purpose - so I can add in a dot or line if one is not included on the knob. This seems to be the case a lot for mini-knobs in particular - where I have marked up quite a number. The Lichtlaerm pedals seem to come various with two types of knobs - one has a line marker / pointer - while all those pictured simply have a hollowed divot which is really not visible in low light even when really close to the pedal. Lichtlaerm literally means ’Light-Noise’ - which I guess is the white graphic counter balance of the pedals - which otherwise are really very dark, and slightly occultist in flavour - which I actually don’t mind at all - in fact I think the aesthetic quite suits the theme and output of these pedals.

 

I’m most likely to acquire the Gehenna first, then the Altar sometime after that - and the Trugbild really much later. They’re all worthy of consideration though - this is very much my preferred kind of form-factor - so several things are pretty much spot on here and to my liking. Are any of you readers impressed by one of these and considering acquisition - drop me a line and let me know where you stand! All three are available via the Licthlaerm store on Reverb.com - the Altar is €179/£156, Gehenna is €199/£174 and Trugbild is €199/£174.

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
Guitar Pedal X
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