Earthquaker Devices Sea Machine
Known primarily for its monstrous distortion and fuzz units, the folks at Earthquaker Devices have decided to tackle what has often been lamented as the wimpiest of effects – the chorus pedal. Their take on the effect, the Sea Machine, is certainly a challenge to the notion that chorus is meant only for hair-band choruses and renditions of “Message In A Bottle.”
The Sea Machine comes equipped with true bypass and six knobs. Rate determines the speed of the LFO in the unit, while Shape allows the user to rotate from a soft triangle to hard square-wave shape. The Dimension knob adds a unique control that, at its minimum position, adds small amounts of slap-back echo to the sound. As the knob is turned clockwise, a reverb-like character is introduced to the signal. At its fullest positions, the Dimension control adds a crazed sirenesque resonance to the signal. Intensity determines how much the LFO modulates delay time. The Animate control allows users to choose how much the pitch of the chorus signal moves (from traditional shimmer to wild pitch swings), and Depth acts much like a blend control, mixing the affected signal with the dry signal.
Starting with its most tame settings, the Sea Machine does indeed prove it contains classic chorus tones within, and it does so exceptionally, imparting sparkle and shimmer with a nice hi-fi tone. Further investigation reveals unorthodox chorus tones. Due to the interaction between the knobs, great sounds can be found via experimentation, especially with the Animate and Dimension knobs. Huge pitch bends are available by maximizing the Animate knob and amazing resonance from the Dimension knob. Complex, yet subtle sounds are attainable as well, adding depth and intrigue to an otherwise ordinary tone. Adding the Sea Machine to a distorted or fuzzed out signal also yields some very cool sounds, particularly when the Animate knob is pushed into more prominent pitch-bending territory. What you get is eerie, almost droning tones, perfect for sending chills down people’s spines.
In all, the Earthquaker Devices Sea Machine is one awesome little box and will charm even the most steadfast chorus critics. With a wide range of sounds – subtle, extreme, and everything in-between, the Sea Machine is a unique pedal that offers something for everyone.
This article originally appeared in VG June 2011 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.