EarthQuaker Devices Special Cranker Review

Let’s put a mic and a mirror to your music’s most crucial component – you!

The team at EarthQuaker Devices is not only interested in the sounds their pedals make, but your unique sounds as well! If you didn’t know, we’re letting you in on a best-kept industry secret: EQD is a pretty big fan of your sounds and wants to bring them to life the best they can. The proof of this claim lays with the pedal you see before you – the EarthQuaker Devices Special Cranker.

The merrymakers at EarthQuaker Devices are no strangers to some good ol’ fashioned discreet signal enhancement. This can be traced back to the EQD Speaker Cranker. When put to work with its one dial, the Speaker Cranker gave signals some grit and boost without getting in the way. Today’s Special Cranker plays a similar role yet overhauls the single-dial experience without becoming needlessly complicated. Three dials, two diode options, and one way to play – your own. Let’s take a closer look.

Simply Cranked

At first sight or first listen, the Special Cranker can be pretty unassuming. Separate from both the transparent overdrives and clean boosts of today, EQD takes a new route toward reliable signal enhancement. The Special Cranker is definitively an overdrive effect at heart and its specialties lay with giving your signal some more kick and character without being entirely overwhelming. The Special Cranker sits somewhere in between a clean boost and medium-gain overdrive to hit the sweet spot of discreet signal saturation.

The Special Cranker builds upon its predecessor's design with two added parameter controls and two selectable diode modes. Added Level and Tone controls accompany the More control to set volume and treble levels. Tone and More interact with one another flexibly for a versatile tonal palette – turn up More to push gain levels further and follow it up with Tone to accentuate the treble frequencies of the signal. This combination of signal-shaping controls is readymade for straight-to-amp setups or to sit on a pedalboard. Whether you’re interested in letting a carefully driven amp smoothly rise into break up or adding some distorted saturation to your cleans, the Special Cranker has it on lock.

All this talk of careful and pinpoint signal saturation and we haven’t even landed on the Special Cranker’s two-way Germanium and Silicon diode switch. This small addition to the Special Cranker setup invites even closer interaction to shape the pedal in ways that suit your sound. Clicked left and the Special Cranker utilizes its internal Germanium diodes for softer, more vintage sounding coloration. Clicked right and the Cranker’s Silicon diodes liven up and brighten the sound for more modern tones with higher output. These two diode modes are compatible and receptive to the More and Tone controls for even closer signal shaping.

EarthQuaker Devices Special Cranker Final Thoughts

Giving your unique tone a loving push into the spotlight is the name of the game for the Special Cranker. It goes beyond the usual call of duty for a boost or overdrive pedal while keeping the whole package simple and streamlined. Staking a spot of its own, the Special Cranker lands at a balanced point in the spectrum of set-and-forget boosts and saturating overdrives.

Hook up the Special Cranker with single-coils, humbuckers, basses, synths, and even drum machines, if you’re feeling adventurous. The pedal effectively works in giving each instrument its own enhanced spot in a mix or on its own. Drop it in any signal chain and give your rig the lift it deserves.

EarthQuaker Devices is pretty hyped about the music you’re making, by the way. Keep it up!

Also, check out the EQD Special Cranker, Russo Music Exclusive and read our take on the EQD Astral Destiny Review.

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