After its Ages Five-State Overdrive proved popular, Walrus Audio dipped back into the concept with a box offering five distortion modes.
The Eras Five-State Distortion brings similar controls and functionality; sculpting tone, headroom, and boost is keyed by its Blend, Bass, and Treble controls. Pushing the Gain increases saturation intensity, but the real fun begins with the rotary Mode knob, which adjusts five modes of clipping diodes using LED and silicon circuits. Mode I offers a mid-cut with LED hard-clipping and has the fastest response (excellent for palm muting) while Mode II uses silicon hard-clipping with a mid-cut – smoother, but more compressed. Mode III combines the two, creating greater saturation with beaucoup sustain. Mode IV and V are for rhythm tones, with deeper midrange cuts and the option of LED or silicon hard-clipping.
Each Mode can be fine-tuned, but the Five-State’s strength lies in how quickly it can dial-up prodigious tones.
Walrus’ recipes of gain and compression are a gift to soloists and rhythm players; the Five-State can help create punchy light-rock rhythm work or soaring Satriani solos. It also favors single-coils, but humbuckers yield outstanding chunk with minimal flub.
A true-bypass pedal that takes a nine-volt adapter or battery, the Five-State Distortion is warm, super-tight, and well-defined.
This article originally appeared in VG’s June 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.