15 kHz. Turning up the resonance with the Q knob and diming the
High Band’s gain turned the pedal into a sonic weapon, summoning
everything from whistling feedback sounds to intensely abrasive and
ear-piercing screams. The EQ’s Low Band can pump out massive sounds
that are both punishing and satisfying. It’s easy to crank out enough low
end to justify firing your bassist.
Though the Acoustic Trauma is well suited to the digital environment
of direct Pro Tools recording, it was most at home in front of the Super
Bass, which rounded out the tone and coaxed milder and more manageable distortion tones from the pedal.
One thing to note is that all controls have a very wide throw, so if you
bump a knob slightly, you can drastically change the sound you’ve carefully dialed in. And while some players who switch settings on the fly might
consider such sensitivity a negative, I found myself constantly exploring the
virtually limitless variations of the Acoustic Trauma’s basic sonic fingerprint.
While the Acoustic Trauma is capable of some very rich—even warm—
distortion tones, this beast from WMD is designed for going against the
grain. It can be a mighty weapon for the sonically adventurous player.
And while there’s a learning curve to go with the impressive array of
tone controls, in the end, the Acoustic Trauma is a very sensitive and
flexible pedal. The only thing missing in the box is a voucher for a free
tetanus shot—because yes, it can be that filthy.
you’re into sonic decimation and out-of-the ordinary experimental distortion.
gain and tone knobs are all you need in
a distortion unit.
WMD Instrument Effects
ASTRO TONE FUZZ
By Gary Guzman
168 PREMIER GUITAR NOVEMBER 2010
For those of you who want a little fuzz from the past in your future,
Analog Man has unleashed another interpretation of a classic—and
underrated—circuit, the Astro Tone. In this case, Analog Man looked to
Sam Ash Fuzzz Boxx and Astrotone Fuzz pedals that were built by Astro
Amp in the mid-to-late ’60s. Analog Man took those fuzz circuits and
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all of the pedals in this roundup.
improved on them—most notably making more bottom end available, a
move that lets the pedal sound better with a band.
Built for Exploration
Like all of Analog Man’s pedals, the Astro Tone is built rock solid. The
case sports cool graphics that evoke a ’60s aerospace company logo.
The Astro Tone also features true bypass switching and is built around
a simple set of controls: Volume, Tone, and Fuzz. And pedal geeks take
note: the first few hundred of these gems will be built around original
1966 Fairchild Semiconductor silicon transistors that were an essential
part of the original Astrotone’s sonic signature.
I began evaluating the Astro Tone using a Les Paul and a Fryette
Memphis amp. Despite its mid-’60s lineage, the Astro Tone’s basic character resides somewhere between a fuzz and distortion. It’s not strictly
limited to the bee-buzzing sounds of a Maestro Fuzz Tone or the MKI
Sola Sound Tone Bender typically associated with ’ 66 fuzz. Nor is it as
buzzy, compressed, or over the top as a Fuzz Face. Instead the Astro
Tone’s fuzz has a full, crunchy growl.
Using neck and bridge humbuckers made it easy to dial up a smoother ’70s rock tone. Single-coils sounded great too, driving the Astro
Tone into warm, bluesy territory without diminishing the pedal’s
capacity for sustain. A Paul Reed Smith Starla X with soapbar pickups