Featuring great tone, excellent versatility and top of the line hand-built craftsmanship, Walrus Audio pedals don’t just give players new ways to color their instrument’s sound, but offer an assortment of features that push their sound to the next level. With that in mind, we decided to take a closer look at their take on distortion – the Iron Horse. Read on to find out what this pedal is all about.
Seeing as how this marks the tenth or so Walrus Audio pedal I have personally inspected, it comes as no surprise that the Iron Horse features the same high-quality construction as the rest of them. With a tough as nails chassis, knobs that feature a satisfying amount of give and a paint job that’s as clean as the design is awesome, the Iron Horse is truly a well put together stompbox. It should have no problem taking the beating of constant use and looks good while it's at it. But with that said, the prettiest, best-constructed pedal in the world is nothing more than a glorified paperweight if the tone is no good. Luckily, it doesn’t fail in that department, either.
With controls for Volume, Tone and Distortion, it might seem as though the Iron Horse is your typical by the book dirt box – not so. After spending a good weekend taking the Iron Horse for a spin on various amps and a couple of different guitars, I can easily say that there is a lot of potential inside this little yellow box. Throw in the back panel toggle switch that allows you to choose between three different clipping diodes and you have a highly versatile distortion machine.
While it’s by no means an OD pedal, I was easily able to dial in a smooth, warm overdrive sound with the Distortion knob set at 8 o’clock. A little past that, we get into true high gain territory. At 10 o'clock, I was able to get a nice amount of grit and midrange punch that still had plenty of string-to-string clarity, perfect for rhythm tone or even a bit of lead work with some bite. Going further up the knob and the distortion gets you into heavier territory.
While there is no indication on what exactly the three-way switch does to the pedal, it was easy to hear the differences once engaged. Of the three, the middle position provides the most boost along with some midrange punch and some added thickness to the low end. The left position is a bit smoother, with a touch less emphasis in the midrange. The lower frequencies also sound a bit looser but remain tight. The right position seems to lower the overall output but yields a very creamy, smooth tone.
While I honestly cannot see too many players using the pedal with the Distortion knob cranked at full blast, there is enough tonal range and versatility in the entire pedal that should satisfy all type of high gain fans. There's also enough sensitivity in the knobs that you can easily dial in your desired tone without having to be surgical about it. Whether you want warm, tube-like overdrive, classic '70s distortion or an all out high gain attack, the Iron Horse has it.
Featuring high-quality construction, a great range of rich, complex distortion tones and an awesome paint job to boot, I can easily say the Walrus Audio Iron Horse is worth the buy, or at the very least, a test drive. Personally, I can see the Iron Horse taking a hard-earned spot on my pedalboard in the very near future! Now, check out the videos below to hear the Iron Horse in action!
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