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Earthquaker Devices Transmisser Resonant Reverb

Reverberations from the Heart of Space

 

by Chris Loeffler

 

 

Writing about how something sounds is challenging (and, ultimately, futile). It’s like dancing to describe music; you might be able to get across some attributes and form of the music to your audience, but they still don’t know what it sounds like. That’s where comparisons come in… “Sounds like Clarence Clearwater Revival with Chad Kroeger on vocals.” However, this get a bit trickier when there isn’t really anything to draw a direct comparison to. Such is the case with the Earthquaker Devices Transmisser resonant reverb pedal. So, before we dive into what it does to your tone, take a listen-

 

 

As you can hear, it’s a reverb effect, but with filters, modulation, pitch detuning, feedback, and resonance. Technically, this results from feeding a long decay modulated reverb into a resonant filter, so the reverberated signal is effected, stretched, pulled in on itself, and crashes in waves over your direct tone, creating almost synth-like backing tracks to whatever is being played.

 

What You Need to Know

 

The Earthquaker Transmisser features six controls: Decay, Darkness, Freq, Warp, Rate and Mix. The pedal runs on a standard 9v power supply, and has 1/4" input and (mono) output jacks as well as an expression pedal input for a Moog-style expression pedal. This allows controlling the resonant filter's frequency for wah-like sweeps through the reverberated signal.

 

Decay controls the reverb trail length , and can be as short as a second or nearly infinite when cranked all the way up. I got tired of timing it, but trust me…it’s longer than you’ll need unless you’re creating music to watch paint dry.  Darkness seems to be a tone control for the initial reverb signal, going from muffled, lo-fi darkness to noticeably brighter than the original input signal for an airier sound. Freq sets the frequency of the resonant low-pass filter, and is highly interactive with the Darkness control.

 

The Warp control is the system slew control, and does a few things at once; it adjusts the filter depth and resonance, the decay's length and warmth, and the modulation width and tone. In other words it does a lot, but I feel Earthquaker really nailed whatever algorithm they used to scale the various functions, as they complemented each other across the sweep of the knob. Similarly, Rate is tied to several functions beyond the modulation speed, as it also affects the Darkness and Freq, depending on where the Warp is set. Again, these are subtle aspects, but they gel really well in practice. Mix is a Wet/Dry blend for the effect.

 

The resonant low-pass filter is, as cautioned by Earthquaker, constantly on the verge of going into oscillation, but fortunately the Warp and Rate controls adjust the settings so that it works on a sliding scale and never veers off course. Again, listen to the Earthquaker soundclip…if tones like that are what you're after, I can assure you there are near-infinite variations on that theme. While it may take some time to truly understand what all the controls do and how they affect each other, inspirationally space sounds are available at any setting, so the impatient can just stomp and reverberate.

 

The greedy person in me wishes I could hear the Transmisser in true stereo.

 

 

Limitations

 

There really isn’t a clean, studio-style reverb to be coaxed from the Transmisser.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The Transmisser is something rare in the world of effects…it doesn’t really have an analog in the pedal/rack world. It’s an effected reverb, true, but there’s so much character and sonic trickery happening behind the scenes that I don’t think it can be recreated by simply messing with a standard reverb and filters in an FX loop. Shoegazers, Drone, and singer-songwriters will undoubtedly find the Transmisser the glue that ties together their ideas, and there’s an “instant cohesion” effect that happens when the pedal is activated that’s incredibly satisfying (if a bit unsettling).

 

 

Resources

 

Earthquaker Devices Transmisser Resonant Reverberator Product Page

 

Buy Earthquaker Devices Transmisser ($225.00) @ Sweetwater

 

____________________________________________ 

 

Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer. 

 

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