Earthquaker Devices Arpanoid Polyphonic Pitch Arpeggiator
By Chris Loeffler |
The Earthquaker Devices Arpanoid is ready to open up sonic possibilities for adventurous guitarists with octaves of polyphonic pitch arpeggiation.
By Chris Loeffler
There are currently thousands of different effects pedals built around replicating or improving upon classic circuits that are the DNA of the iconic guitar sounds guitar players know and love. There’s a good reason for this… people want to sound as good as, if not better than, their idols. Almost everyone. For every hundred guitar players looking to be the next (next) Jimi Hendrix, there’s one that just doesn’t want to conform. Every forum centered around guitar effects will eventually turn up the question, “Why doesn’t someone make something new?” New is hard, but that doesn’t appear to dissuade the folks at EarthQuaker Devices from coming up with gems like the Arpanoid.
The EarthQuaker Devices Arpanoid is a polyphonic pitch arpeggiator that features eight arpeggio modes controlled by Wet, Dry, Rate, Step, and Direction controls. The dry signal is pure analog and is blended with the digital effects in the wet signal. The pedal is powered by a 9v DC power supply (not included) and is true bypass.
What You Need to Know
- For those unfamiliar with arpeggiator devices, their primary function is to create stepped pitch notes from the base note that follow the chosen scale. In the case of Arpanoid in Major more, playing a "C" as on the guitar will cause the pedal to create the following sequence of pitches from the original tone- C,D,E,F,G,A,B and C. Confusing? Watch the video at the bottom and all will be clear.
- The Arpanoid is built to retain your original tone with all analog direct signal pass-through and works its arpeggiating magic with a high-sample digital circuit offering eight distinct modes: -1 octave to root, root to +1 octave, -1 octave to +1 octave, and Random in Major and Minor scales. The direction of the arpeggio is dictated by the Direction toggle switch, which seects whether the scale will repeat up, down, or up and then down from the original note or chord.
- The Rate and Step controls adjust the speed and number of notes in the arpeggio sequence. The Rate knob takes the pedal from over a second of delay between notes to Pacman-like warbles so rapid it resembles pitch bending more than discrete steps. The Step control allows players to choose between one to eight notes to be played in the sequence. One or two step settings cop convincing tremolo or vibrato sounds, while extended runs take you further and further along to scale towards the octave. When the Direction toggle is set to up or down, the Rate knob essentially halves the duration between notes, making the full run of the arpeggio up and down the note the same duration as if it swept up or down only.
- Random mode intoduces a world of possibilities as the arpeggio dances around the base notes in a random sequence. The result is one note “solos” when the wet and dry signal are equally mixed, musical glitch-fests when the signal is pure wet, or subtle harmonies when the Wet channel is less than half the Dry channel. In both Major and Minor Random modes, the Step knob is essentially decommissioned, as all notes in the chosen scale will play.
- Sonically, the Arpanoid sounds is limited only by the player. The arpeggios are solid and avoid the fizzy, digitized tone of many polyphonic octave effects… they are pleasant and warm and distinctly different from your base tone, allowing for nice sonic separation in chords and triads. The hypnotic effect full arpeggio runs create is undeniable, and basic scale knowledge will keep adventurous players from getting too outside the box when attempting more complex chords.
- The Arpanoid can sometimes produce a bit of white noise if powered with a really dirty daisy chain (daisy chaining is not recommended by the manufacturer).
The EarthQuaker Devices Arpanoid is an inspirational, hypnotic tool that awaits adventures players willing to explore its potential. Different settings yield drastically different results, and anyone who stops after finding that “one” sound will be missing out on all the greatness the pedal has to offer. Arpeggios, simulated bass, harmonic accompaniments, and trippy tremolo-esque settings are all lurking within.