It’s something of a mystery as to why I have still to acquire the earlier Ages Five-State Overdrive as that’s been on the wishlist near enough since its launch. So I will probably acquire the Ages and Eras as a pair - say around next month or so. I’ve just had a lot of other more pressing priorities and commitments I suppose - lots of juggling going on really - and even this early into September I’m already somewhat over-committed for the month and still have a few other gain pedal priorities ahead of this / these - including the Mr Black Thunderclaw!
I’ve called this a Vintage Style Distortion as all modes here have some degree of Mid-Cut to them and no specific Mids control - which by contrast is what all the modern distortion pedals tend to focus on nowadays. The mid-scooped sound is something of a product of the 70’s and 80’s which I guess this pedal is most reminiscent off.
It certainly has a searing sharpness to it at times - which can render a touch spiky - while careful deployment of the 2-Band EQ and Clean Blend allows you to sufficiently ameliorate that particular facet of the output profile.
The 6 controls are very straight-forward really - Volume, Blend (Dry > Wet Mix), Gain, Bass, Mode : I-V, and Treble. The only thing that warrants further notes is the 5 States of Clipping or Modes selection - which each apply a different combination of core EQ / mid-cut, LED, Silicon or both clipping gain structure and saturation - which can yield quite significantly different textures:
From what I’ve heard of the demos - the richly saturating and sustaining Mode III is where I’m most likely to live for most of the time. Walrus Audio really need to borrow a leaf out of the book of Jackson Audio - and include a ’Level-Matching Circuit’ - as the deeper Mid-Cut Modes IV and V have significantly lower output levels. Walrus Audio should look to equalising all Mode outputs - then they could assign a second footswitch to elegantly be able to cycle through all 5 Modes!
Again, and as Henning states in his particular demo - you can get some odd and unhelpful sounds out of this device, and a lack of mids control on a distortion is often a big miss for me - particularly within the pantheon of modern distortion profiles - which tend to be very Mids-forward / Mids-pushed. So the Eras moniker is doubly appropriate as Walrus are really harkening back to an older Era of Mid-scooped distortion - which was typically dominated by Boss in those heady 80’s and early 90’s - before grunge took root and changed everything. Funnily enough - at least for Nirvana - utilising a another classic Boss pedal - the DS-1.
You kind of wonder why Walrus didn’t just go the more typical 3-Band EQ route for the distortion - while it’s a perfect matching pair for the Ages format - so wholly understandable in that regard.
I like quite a lot I have heard here to date - while I’m not sure yet whether this would be in the running for one of my top-tier favourite Distortion pedals. Certainly there is enough going on here to be of interest- and I’m determined to get one of these - along with its Ages sibling - as soon as priorities and commitments allow.
Pricing is at the typical $199 level / £179 in the UK - and these can be acquired direct from the Walrus Audio Webstore right now - and imminently from Dealers too.
I’m sure there will be lots of takers for the Eras, as Walrus has been on a role for a while now and maintains a loyal following. Some of the recent pedal graphics have been really on-point too - and the Eras continues in that mould. Certainly an attractive proposition - while I might have preferred the added versatility of a Mids control. What say you?