Way Huge Purple Platypus Octidrive
By Chris Loeffler |
Way Huge Purple Platypus Octidrive
More than eight way huge reasons to own this pedal ...
by Chris Loeffler
Way Huge’s Jeorge Tripps is one of a handful of people musicians point to when they refer to the godfathers of the boutique effect pedal. Way before forums were a place where musicians could spread the word about new effects, share schematics, and argue for days over tonal nuances, Tripps brought tweaks and improvements to long unavailable circuits to market, and from 1992-1999 created some of the most sought-after and legendary pedals to show up on the used market today. While there were some larger (relatively) production pedals, such as the Red Llama and Aqua Puss, there were quite a few oddballs as well… Under the manufacturing guidance of Dunlop since a ten year stint at Line 6, Way Huge has released most of their big hitters, and they’re starting to reach deep into the bench.
The Way Huge Purple Platypus Octidrive MKII is an overdrive pedal with an integrated frequency doubler that features controls for Volume, Drive, and High-Cut in the standard Way Huge enclosure. The pedal features true-bypass switching and is powered by a standard 9v power supply.
What You Need to Know
The Way Huge Purple Platypus, like its animal namesake, seems like it should exist. While fuzz and analog octavers have been associated to some extent since the late 60’s, medium overdrive tones given the octave treatment are much rarer. That unexpected combination, however, results in a surprising musical, new-but-old-sounding effect that is incredibly dynamic.
The overdrive portion of the circuit is directly based on the most current incarnation of the Way Huge Red Llama, an overdrive pedal lauded for its ability to serve anything from a clean boost to a uniquely voiced mid-gain monster. The octave portion, to my ears, sounds like a take on Dan Armstrong’s Green Ringer octaver, which is known as a more cacophonous, present relative of the Tychobrahe Octavia heard on Hendrix and SRV recordings.
The result is a surprisingly deep and flexible effect that has way more hiding underneath its enclosure than the typical three-knob overdrive.
With the Drive knob rolled down, the octave effect shined through clear and clean, especially as I turned up the Hi-Cut. Playing with pickup selection and my guitar’s tone knob coaxed a diverse set of breakup characteristics and voicings, especially as I turned the Drive control up. By the last third of the Drive control, the gain began to saturate and fuzz out a bit while retaining a strong midrange. In the more extreme settings, pulling the Hi-Cut knob down further brought out pseudo-fuzz tones that neared Fuzz Face territory while retaining more body and presence.
The octave effect can get outright “clangy” in the way of a ring modulator with the right combination of guitar volume and tone settings, and rolling back the guitar tone knob on my bridge pickup resulted in a sitar-like resonant vibe that responded accurately to both sustained drones and staccato plucks of the strings.
To be clear, moderate fuzz tones are at the most extreme settings of the Purple Platypus, and the “Drive” in Octidrive designation is well earned.
Single coils and (surprisingly, passive bass pickups) are accepted by the Purple Platypus exceptionally well, although humbucking pickups also sound fantastic if you want to give up some of the magic responsiveness of the pedal.
While it can be reined in tightly, the Way Huge Purple Platypus is always going to have some frequency doubling applied to the drive, so it won’t out-and-out replace your Red Llama needs.
The Way Huge Purple Platypus is for players who want something different, but familiar, to add to their guitar tones. Not just a drive, not just a frequency doubler, the Purple Platypus walks somewhere in the middle, able to get 90% pure to either category, but excelling when embracing both effects at once and exploring the deep interactions between them. It can be raunchy or refined, warm or harsh, which is what makes it such an interesting pedal for me. I found drive tones that came alive with the right octave balance, and octave-focused tones that found just the right scream and frequencies with the Drive dialed in.
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.