Thursday, April 5, 2018

Earthquaker Devices Westwood Review

The Earthquaker Devices Westwood is an interesting overdrive pedal. Earthqaker Devices calls it a Translucent Drive Manipulator and it's not exactly like anything else I've played. The gain structure is similar to a TS pedal but it doesn't sound like one. That's because from the get go it has a flat EQ. So what do I mean by gain structure? If your playing a crunchy amp and add a TS pedal your going to add a layer of even order harmonics and get a more liquidy feel in your sound. While the Westwood is a low gain pedal as are most TS pedals, it sounds pretty fluid across the range.

As I stated above the Westwood has a flat EQ so no low end roll off and no mid hump. Then they add an Active EQ with a Treble and Bass knobs. There is a noticeable notch at 12 o'clock in these knobs and at that position gives you a flat EQ response from the pedal. You can add a bit of air by moving the treble knob up or roll back to round off the high end of your signal. On the Bass side you can add some low end resonance or thin it out some if the mix is starting to sound to muddy. This is also great if your using a small combo and need to tweak your strat a bit. 

The Level knob has ample amounts of boost if you'd like this to double as a clean boost it will do just that. If you have a cranked fenderish amp and run a TS pedal into this with with the Level kicked up just a tad you can be in SRV territory in no time at all.

Let's talk about build quality. As expected the Westwood is built like a tank. I love the top jacks and silent relay switch, I wish this was standard on all pedals. The light is a super bright white that could double as a flashlight on a dark stage. It's a bit much for me but it doesn't stop me from using it. Earthquaker recommends using an isolated power supply but currently I'm using a OneSpot daisy chain and it's quieter than my other OD pedals. It adds a bit of hum but if I'm jamming it's not noticeable.  

So who is this pedal for? 1) The guitarist who hates how a TS sounds because of the mid range bump or low end cut off but still wants to add a layer of gain to his amp. 2) The guitarist who wants to pair his TS pedal with a strong boost or sometimes need a clean boost. 3) Overdrive whores like myself who love different flavors of OD. 4) Anyone playing with a small tube combo at home. For my taste I think this pedal works best with more open pickups or stacked with other drives.

I'd like to add that I won this pedal from Distortion Ltd but was in no way paid for this review

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