Click here to head online to
premierguitar.com/nov2010 or scan this QR
code with a mobile device to access sound
clips for all of the pedals in this roundup.
Built to Tweak
At first glance, the WMD can seem a little daunting. A total of 17 knobs
are arrayed across the face of the black box, which is adorned with red-and-white punkified graphics and control names written in typewriter
font. The input, output, and 18VDC inputs (the Acoustic Trauma ships
with a power supply) are located on the right side of the unit, adjacent
to a true-bypass switch and red LED indicator.
Because the unit is built around two preamps—Cool and Hot—there
are Gain and Level controls for each on the upper left. Just below
these is a Preamp Blend knob for mixing the two preamp signals.
Most of the pedal’s upper right area is occupied by a unique, fully
parametric, 3-band EQ. Each band features a center-frequency knob,
a “Q” control that adjusts the filter’s sharpness and resonance, and
gain knob. There are also knobs for Gate Threshold, Noise Reduction,
and Output Volume.
Warm to Radical
Using a Les Paul, I plugged the Audio Trauma into my Marshall Super
Bass, as well as directly into Pro Tools. In both environments, the preamps could be a little hard and grainy sounding, though by dialing the
Blend knob for as much Cool Preamp signal as possible and rolling off
the volume on my Les Paul, the tone cleaned up nicely.
This is not the case when cranking up the Hot Preamp, which dishes out
far more gain than you’ll ever need—even to the point of overloading
on itself and achieving a very cool, but out-of-control clipping effect.
But some of the coolest tones come from blending clean and dirty
signals from the two Preamps and taking advantage of the frequency
cancellation that happens as a byproduct of the filtering.
The EQ is a thing of beauty. It has a fairly extreme range—more like
a mixing console than a pedal—that spans frequencies from 40 Hz to
PREMIER GUITAR NOVEMBER 2010 167