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Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal Review

Effects Pedals

Eric Lapp • Posted on 04/19/2021 • 3 min read

A daring distortion device? A lightning bolt in a box? What kind of mad science is this?

The geniuses at Gamechanger Audio are not ones to be put in a box...unless of course that box is packed with wild tones and technical innovation, much like the famed Plasma Pedal.

The Plasma Pedal is Gamechanger Audio’s entry in the fray of outstanding modern distortion devices. Featuring truly one-of-a-kind design, the Plasma Pedal is a standout among other distortion pedals. The centerpiece of the Plasma Pedal is its most eye-catching feature, a xenon gas-filled tube put on full display within the pedal. While this feature may at first seem like an impressive party trick, what is really being displayed is the magic of the Plasma Pedal at work. The vast majority of distortion pedals available today rely on circuits, transistors, or vacuum tubes to create their overdriven voices. This is where the Plasma Pedal stakes its own claim and makes a name for itself.

A High-Voltage Voyage

When plugged in and activated, your live instrument signal is transformed into a series of continuous high-voltage discharges that illuminate the xenon-filled tube. Those high-voltage bursts are then converted back into an analog audio signal, the product of all this science is a thunderous distortion with plenty of intricate tonal character. The Plasma Pedal’s voice can range from subdued and slightly dirty to wild and unruly. This spectrum of tones is easily explored through the responsive Volume, Voltage, Blend, and EQ controls.

  • Volume – the overall level of the effect 
  • Blend – the amount of the effect active, a wet/dry signal control 
  • Voltage – the amount of voltage active in the signal, a tone or gain control 
  • Low Freq / High Freq – the amount of higher and lower frequencies present in the signal 

The controls of the Plasma Pedal are straightforward and intuitive to quickly jump into the dark and distorted tones it has to offer. Finely sculpting a unique signal to fit into plenty of songs is easy and exciting. With the Plasma Pedal, there are many directions to go and plenty of paths to take.

Simply Electrifying

If you’re thinking that playing a bolt of electricity might inspire some new techniques, we’ve got good news – you're absolutely correct! The playing experience of the Plasma Pedal is unlike other distortion or fuzz pedals, and with good reason. The xenon-filled tube of the Plasma Pedal is acutely responsive to your picking and strumming due to a naturally occurring phenomenon. Since the distorted signal is not created by transistors or tubes but electrified xenon gas, the Plasma Pedal provides a natural gate effect. When the tube does not receive any input from your instrument, the effect cuts out quickly for a tight and responsive playing experience. Articulate notes and uniquely shaped chords are specialties of the Plasma Pedal without any distracting hiss, hum, or feedback. The science is science, and you won’t find it anywhere else!

Tonally, the Plasma Pedal dishes out some dynamic distorted voices. The effect can be rolled back using the Blend knob to create a fairly clean signal with some buzzy undertones or it can be cranked all the way up to summon some disastrous clashes of dirt. The Plasma Pedal makes a good fit for many kinds of music from blues to metal, but maybe not in a traditional sense. Specializing in more concentrated bursts of dirt and buzz, the Plasma Pedal is tight and articulate rather than overly throaty or roaring. Single-coil twang or humbucker bite can be blended in to retain the tones of your guitar. To that extent, you may find the Plasma Pedal more responsive than other distortion stompboxes. This deeper level of interaction makes the voices of the Plasma Pedal more reminiscent of blues and metal of more recent years – a pedal for a new millennium of distortion.

Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal Final Thoughts

Though the black box may appear unassuming at first sight, the Plasma Pedal is a marvel of modern distortion technology. If you’re looking for a new place to explore a darker side of distortion, the Plasma Pedal is the way to go. A tight and responsive sound spectrum with plenty of kick to build in a mix or cut through it completely puts the Plasma Pedal in a league of its own. On a dim-lit stage, those dark and dirty tones are only illuminated by a glowing tube of electrified xenon. Should you get lost, on stage or in life in general, let that tube be your guiding light.