Sunn O))) (the band), in collaboration with comrades at EarthQuaker Devices of Akron, OH, are pleased to present the LifePedal Octave Distortion + Booster in parallel with their new album, “Life Metal”.
During the writing sessions for “Life Metal”, Stephen and Greg worked extensively shearing their tones toward a broader energy spectrum over high-powered saturation and across vast planes of sonic character.
With the ambition to take full advantage of the exacting capture skills of “Life Metal’s” recording engineer Steve Albini, the final results are nothing short of astounding. There is breadth and luminosity of colour, vast sonic cosmoses, and flashes of abstract hues (synthetic and organic) which emerged from the mastered depths of circuits and saturation between the two players and their mountains of gear.
The Life Pedal is designed to represent the core front-end chain used in those sessions, to drive the tubes of the band’s multiple vintage Sunn O))) Model T amplifiers into overload ecstasy. This is a 100w tube amp full stack’s holy dream, or its apostate nightmare.
Chasms cleared, mountains sheared, glaciers calved, novæ birthed.
We hope you transcend.
What is it?
LifePedal is an octave distortion and booster built in a custom folded aluminum enclosure. It is faithfully modeled after the classic LM308 “White Face” distortion pedal, right down to the tantalum caps. The only modifications made to the original circuit are in the clipping section. The traditional circuit uses a single pair of silicon diodes for a tight, compressed crunch. The LifePedal introduces two additional clipping options to better adapt to different rigs. The first position is no diodes to allow for full, grinding Op Amp assault at maximum volume. The second position utilizes two silicon diodes and one LED in an asymmetrical clipping configuration. This delivers a slightly compressed and smooth crunch, similar to a valve amplifier. The last position is the stock double silicon diode configuration which provides that classic tone you know and love.
The Octave in LifePedal is an all-discrete, analog full-wave rectifier circuit built around a pair of Russian Germanium diodes. Located at the input of the circuit, the Octave control slowly blends in the octave effects as you turn it clockwise. Because this is an analog octave effect, it is monophonic and works best playing single notes above the twelfth fret while using the neck pickup. Playing chords with the analog octave will sound clanging and chaotic. Using the bridge pickup and playing below the twelfth fret will produce a very subtle octave effect. Going full Octave transforms LifePedal from a simple distortion device into a swelling, raging fuzz similar to the classic Super Fuzz!
The boost section of LifePedal is a simple all-discrete MOSFET booster designed to blast your preamp tubes and drive them wild. It is a 100% clean, no-nonsense, high impedance booster that adds very little color to your tone. It does not add distortion on its own but has plenty of output to push your amp into saturation.
The signal path goes Octave>Distortion>Boost. The octave distortion and booster can be used independently with their own respective foot switches. The Petrine Cross is the octave distortion and the Christian Cross is the booster.
Life Pedal Tech Specs
Input impedance: 1M
Output impedance: <1K
Input Impedance: 500K
Output Impedance: <1K
This device can be powered by a 9v battery or a standard 9-volt DC power supply with a 2.1mm negative center barrel. We always recommend pedal-specific, transformer-isolated wall-wart power supplies or multiple isolated-output supplies. Pedals will make extra noise if there is ripple or unclean power. Switching-type power supplies, daisy chains and non-pedal specific power supplies do not filter dirty power as well and let through unwanted noise.
• If using a battery, unplug the input cable when not in use to preserve battery life.
• DO NOT RUN AT HIGHER VOLTAGES!
This device is true bypass and uses electronic relay-based switching. Audio will not pass without power.
Octave: This blends in the analog octave as your turn it clockwise.
Distortion: Turn clockwise for more distortion, counterclockwise for less. This provides about +60dB of gain.
Filter: This is a low pass filter with a frequency response from around 500Hz to 30kHz. Turn clockwise for more high end, counterclockwise for less.
Amplitude: Output volume for the octave distortion side. Clockwise for more hearing loss, counterclockwise for a healthy life in old age.
• OpAmp- No diodes to allow for full, grinding Op Amp assault at maximum volume.
• Asymm- Utilizes two silicon diodes and one LED in an asymmetrical clipping configuration. This delivers a slightly compressed and smooth crunch, similar to a valve amplifier.
• Symm- This is the stock double silicon diode configuration which provides that classic tone you know and love.
Magnitude: This is the output volume for the booster. Clockwise to blow up your amp, counterclockwise if you are a baby. Unity is somewhere right around noon on the dial.
Right footswitch: Octave Distortion Activator
Left Footswitch: Boost Activator
Designed and Manufactured by EarthQuaker Devices in the dark corridors of Akron, Ohio.