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9 of the Best Walrus Audio Pedals

Big Muff Style FuzzBoostBoost and OverdriveChorus and VibratoDelayDigital DelayDigital ReverbEffects Pedal MakersFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionLo-Fi DelayModulationOverdrivePhaserPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzReverbSilicon FuzzSpacey ReverbTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveWalrus Audio+-
2019GPX9BestWalrusAudio700-min.jpg

This article was largely triggered by the recently released Slö Multi Texture Reverb which of course I love and which has gone straight onto my wishlist despite its mono output. I see it as a solid competitor to the rather pricier and more complex Chase Bliss Audio Dark World and a perfect tool for ambient textures. I personally would use it as a textural tool in my ’glitch pedal’ slot as my main time-based effects are stereo.

 

I’ve featured Walrus Audio a fair number of times on this site - including all of the above and several more besides - there’s no doubt that Walrus makes some exceedingly good pedals, and their attention to detail does make them stand out amongst their peers.

 

Walrus has 3 really cool reverb pedals - the larger Reverb/Octave Descent, the more all-rounder Fathom Multi-Function Reverb and of course the recent Slö Reverb mentioned. I love the feature sets on each of these - of course wishing the compact pedals could be stereo output, while the Descent is really a touch too large for my own preferences.

 

The pedals are listed alphabetically, so we get the cool ARP-87 Delay first - with that essential tap-tempo - which is also a feature of the newly compacted Monument Tremolo. In fact I have long felt that both the Julia Chorus and recent Lillian Phaser could both do with separate tap-tempo footswitches of their own. My pedal-chain’s analog modulation section as such is mostly populated by Chase Bliss Audio - Chorus, Flanger, Phaser and Tremolo, with the JHS Unicorn V2 providing the Univibe flavour - all of these feature tap-tempo which I find pretty essential. This means alas that however good the Julia and Lillian sound - and they do sound great, they will never replace the more controllable Chase Bliss pedals I already have in place.

 

Onto the drive section, and the only Walrus pedal I have acquired to date - the Jupiter V2 Fuzz, next we have the Iron Horse LM308 Rat style distortion and Warhorn TS808 style overdrive. I’m obviously a fuzz fanatic - with now I believe around 120 fuzz pedals in the collection - so that was always likely a shoe-in, while for the Iron Horse and Warhorn I have other preferences for those particular slots - which give me greater versatility and control to go alongside great tones.

 

Walrus describes itself as the perfect balance between art and performance in sound manipulation - which I paraphrase to ’Art and Artistry’. They have a fantastic provenance and track record in making great sounding effects which look as good as they sound. All of the above pedals have been featured on this site in one way or another, and all come highly recommended.

 

With the degree of competition around though there may be other offerings on the grid that you might prefer. For instance the newly shrunk Monument Harmonic Tremolo is one of the very best of its kind - I place it right at the top of the upper echelon alongside the Chase Bliss Gravitas and Stone Deaf FX Tremotron. For a Tremolo I would definitely want tap tempo and there are quite a few of those now - alongside a Harmonic mode option which is a lot rarer. I personally love my Gravitas and Tremotron, and the Monument would be my third favourite choice right now.

 

The pedals here I’ve featured the most often are that perfect pairing of ARP-87 Delay and Fathom Reverb - which though cannot compete with what I have in place in my chain already. Depending on your own criteria and if you have a mono rig - then these are all exceptional propositions - albeit I feel the modulations should really have tap-tempo too. My most likely next acquisition here is the Slö Reverb - which I will place just before the start of my stereo pedal section - to create beautiful ambient sweeps and flourishes.

 

I have referred to Walrus Audio in my recent Design 101 features and cited it for exceptional consistency in high quality design values - while I feel it could still be more thematically harmonious - as there is no single overriding theme for all these pedals - there are various different category groupings with quite a few anomalies and outliers.

 

I will list below - the remainder of their range too, and some further discontinued pedals from the past - along with more details on each of the top featured pedals - alphabetical by name. Another great thing about Walrus Audio is that they have a wide distribution and are relatively easy to get your hands on!:


ARP-87 Multi Function Delay - £179

A 4-mode tap-tempo digital delay and one of the best of its kind - with Analog | Lo-fi | Digital | Slap modes. You get 5 control dials besides the Program/Mode control - Level | Dampen (Tone) | Repeats | Ratio (Sub-divisions) | X - where the last mentioned is a variable parameter depending on mode - i.e. modulation depth for all but Lo-fi where it is filter width. Its most direct competitor is probably Alexander Pedals' Quadrant Delay, then Radical Delay DX - both of which also offer second tap-tempo footswitch. This pedal alongside its cousin the Fathom Reverb are the two most featured Walrus Audio pedals on this site and rightly so - most likely Walrus's 2 biggest sellers at the moment as witnessed on so many pedalboards. Walrus's tap-tempo - as incorporate on the Arp-87 and Monument can sync up with other tap-tempo pedals and each other - simply via patch cable.


Fathom Multi-Funtion Reverb - £192

Its fitting that this comes next as the perfect pairing of ARP-87 Delay and Fathom Reverb is so often seen together. You get 4 modes here - Hall | Plate | Lo-fi | Sonar, with the last mentioned the most unique. Like the ARP-87 you have 6 controls, albeit one of those is a 3-way toggle switch - Decay | Dampen (Tone) | Mix | X (pre-delay x 2, filter width, octave blend) | Modulation Depth | Program/Modes. And you again have my favourite type of dual footswitch arrangement with bypass and sustain on this occasion. So popular is the ARP-87 and Fathom combination that Walrus is brining out a combo pedal of the pair in a few weeks' time. The Fathom has a secret feature too where if you hit both footswitches from the off position you get a momentary burst of decay.


Iron Horse LM308 Distortion V2 - £192

This has featured in both my Rat pedal roundups, and is well known as one of the very best Rat style pedals at this form factor. You get a very typical 3 control dials - Level | Tone | Distortion, alongside 3-way Clipping Mode toggle switch - Slight Compression/Open/Compressed. I really love Rat pedals and have several in the collection - so it's fairly likely I will end up adding this one too at some stage - even though there are probably one or two 'Rats' ahead of it in preference on my wishlist. Very good example of the genre though.


Julia Analog Chorus/Vibrato - £176

This has long been celebrated as one of the very best choruses out there - although it does not necessarily garner quite as much love as say Boss, EHX, Ibanez or TC Electronic - it is nevertheless seen on a lot of pedalboards. My own chorus of choice is the Chase Bliss Warped Vinyl which has a significantly deeper feature set and onboard dual-footswitches tap tempo. The Julia has 5 controls including Wave Shape toggle switch - Rate | Depth | Lag | Sine/Triangle-wave | Dry/Chorus/Vibrato Blend. So a solid feature set with some great tones, I really think it should have had a tap-tempo footswitch too though.


Jupiter Multi-Clip Fuzz V2 - £192

This is the one Walrus pedal I have in the collection to date, and I've had it for quite a while being the fuzz fanatic that I am. It's a really versatile compact fuzz - sort of in the Big Muff area, with a couple of extra tone-shaping options. It has - Level | Fuzz | Tone dials, then 3-way Clipping with Mid Scoop/Open/Mid Boost options - with varying amounts of compression. And finally it has a Bass Boost/Cut switch for focusing / clarifying the tone at higher saturation levels. It's a really decent versatile fuzz, while there are others still more versatile at this level with a few more controls - but this one still sounds great. The Jupiter has an internal trim-pot sort of noise-gate which can be used to dial down the aggression and even induce dying-battery style if you so wish.


Lillian Multi-Stage Analog Phaser - £192

Another of Walrus's recently released pedals - this launched to a fanfare of exceedingly positive reviews. It's obviously designed as a sort of pair to the Julia Chorus - with identical control topology. My own chosen pedal in this Phaser slot is the Chase Bliss Wombtone - which again has a somewhat deeper feature set and comes with my essential tap-tempo requirement. As with the Julia it is a great sounding pedal for its type, but competition at this level is pretty fierce - and I felt that Walrus could have done a little bit more with this format. Either way it's a great sounding versatile phaser that should have you covered for most usage scenarios. Onboard controls are - Rate | Width | Feedback | 6/4 stages | Dry/Phase-Shift/Vibrato Blend.


Monument Harmonic Tap Tremolo V2 - £189

Walrus did an amazing job of shrinking down its Monument pedal to compact enclosure. This is the perfect style of tremolo pedal as far as I'm concerned. Again I have a Chase Bliss Gravitas which offers a little more, but the Monument is right up there. Probably my 3rd favourite tremolo at the moment after the Gravitas and Stone Deaf FX Tremotron. The Momentum has that essential Harmonic flavour option which is still relatively rare, but not quite as rare as some would lead you to believe. In this format though there are just 3 offerings - the Gravitas and Monument of course, alongside Flower Pedal's Dandelion - all those have tap-tempo, while the Supro Tremolo also has the Harmonic option but no tap-tempo. The Monument has 6 controls - Volume | Tap Divisions | Rate | Wave Shape (Sine/Square/Ramp/Lumps/Random) | Harmonic/Standard Mode | Depth
Bypass and Tap-tempo. I fully expect this to join the ARP-87, Fathom and Slö as one of Walrus's bestsellers.


Slö Multi Texture Reverb - £189

Walrus's most recently released pedal should be another surefire success. It provides an exceptional ambient foil to the more mainstream Fathom Reverb. I see this in a similar area to the Chase Bliss Dark World Reverb for me - in being able to create really interesting ambient textures - proper spacey reverbs and swells of the mono variety. It has a really cool control topology with Alexander/Meris-style secondary features. You get 3 great mode algorithms - Dark | Rise | Dream, which also double as a Wave Shape selector - Sine/Warp/Sink when you apply the secondary / alt function of the Bypass footswitch. The main controls are - Decay | Filter | Mix | X (octave level/swell time/vibrato depth) | Mode | Depth (Alt Modulation Rate) - and then you have dual footswitches - Bypass/Secondary Function and Sustain. I love everything about this pedal that I've seen to date, and this is my most likely next acquisition from the Walrus range. I will use it as a texture pedal at the end of my analog modulation section - and before my stereo sections kicks in - which contains my main core time-based effects pedals.


Warhorn Mid-Range Overdrive (TS808) - £177

Walrus's own take on the Tube Screamer gives you Baxandall 2-band EQ alongside Compression toggle switch - so a significantly more versatile screamer than stock. With its - Level | Drive | Bass | Treble | Compression controls it certainly offers more than your typical Tube Screamer, but then again competition in this area is particularly fierce and there are several more Tube Screamers out there with even more expansive and evolved feature sets. As with all Walrus pedals this one of course sounds great, but it's not quite amongst my favourite upper echelon Screamer style pedals.


Other Pedals in Range / Recently Discontinued

Walrus has quite an extensive range - it's certainly not in the Boss / EHX / MXR / TC Electronic big leagues - but is well up there in the middle tier - with quality solutions in most of the typical areas - and often something distinctly different. I would single out the Bellwether Analog Delay here and the excellent Luminary Quadruple Octaver. For some reason the Phoenix power supply is also still proving to be popular - although I feel there are more modern, compact and more versatile power supplies currently available:

  • 385 Overdrive (Bell and Howell 385 Filmosound projector preamp) - £176
  • Bellwether Analog Tap-tempo Delay - £329
  • Deep Six Compressor V3 - £192
  • Descent Reverb/Octave - £299
  • Emissary Parallel Boost - £159
  • Fathom + Arp-87 Combo Reverb/Delay - £299
  • Janus twin-joystick Trem-Fuzz - £279
  • Luminary V2 Quad Octave Generator - £299
  • Messner X Overdrive Ltd Edtn. (High Gain Transparent) - £189
  • Phoenix 230V Clean Power Supply - £274
  • Voyager PreAmp/Overdrive - £159

Longer Term Discontinued / Past Pedals

The Defcon 4 was discontinued for obvious reasons - and a number of these just got superseded by better alternatives - while I still have a soft spot for the Vanguard Dual Phase - one of the few proper competitors to Mu-Tron's Bi-Phase:

  • Contraband One Knob Fuzz - £126
  • Defcon 4 PreAmp/EQ/Boost - £293
  • Harvester High Gain Overdrive - £126
  • Mayflower Mid Gain Overdrive - £161
  • Messner Overdrive - £170
  • Plainsman Clean Boost - £134
  • Red High Gain Distortion (HM-2) - £169
  • Space Pilgrim (Mayflower OD + Jupiter Fuzz) - £200
  • Vanguard Dual Phase - £251

Final Thoughts

I feel that there are many things that Walrus does exceptionally well - its fine balance of graphic and sound design has served it really well over the years, and it has produced some stellar pedals.

 

As mentioned throughout this overview - such is the competition nowadays that I often have preferred alternatives to many of these - which nevertheless does not discount what fabulous pedals these are.

 

Walrus certainly has a loyal following, although possibly not quite a s loyal as say EQD - but generally I prefer Walrus's compact pedal executions more - their attention to detail is superb. I certainly feel Walrus are on the right track with their strategy - and that they will continue to remain a highly appealing proposition.

 

Not all these pedals are particularly suitable for my own particular stereo rig, but I am going to try to accommodate the Slö Reverb for sure on sometime rotation. I have a few more higher priority pedals to source first - but it should not be too long before one of those hits my effects library.

 

As mentioned several times - for those rocking a mono rig - there is plenty here to get excited about and I can only see Walrus improving over time. I still feel they should have included tap-tempo on their Chorus and Phaser pedals though!

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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