Crucial Audio makes high-end tube pedals and studio gear at its shop in southern Delaware. Its latest, the WahVelope, is both auto-wah and envelope filter – and it also hides a punchy tube overdrive up its sleeve.
Inside the oversized WahVelope you’ll find two 12AX7 preamp tubes and 100 percent analog circuits, all meticulously built by Crucial Audio’s Steve Kollander. For guitarists, the box can deliver an accurate auto-wah effect, which simulates a wah pedal and is based on the speed of the Rate control. For even more control, there’s a jack for an expression pedal for real-time foot rockin’. Envelope filtering, of course, is different from auto-wah, giving a funky, organic wah sound that reacts to the speed and dynamics of a player’s picking – the harder you hit the string, the bigger the “bloom.” The filter in the WahVelope can conjure a range of voices, from the classic Jerry Garcia effects, to a range of vintage reggae and funk tones. You can even combine the auto-wah and envelope filter.
Other switches include Wah Up/Down to determine how the effect travels, Wah Voice for specific textures (more bark or quack), and Envelope Sense, which determines the threshold of the effect. The WahVelope’s secret feature emerges when you turn the funk-inducing knobs down – and the Gain up – invoking a sweet, tube-fueled booster pedal. In that light, it’s like three pedals in one – auto-wah, envelope filter, and badass tube booster. Another asset is that your tone is bathed in those preamp tubes when the effect is on. When off, the WahVelope offers true-bypass.
Sure, there are more-affordable wah and filter units out there, but if you want the ultimate boutique experience, the WahVelope delivers the funk – big-time.
This article originally appeared in VG’s January 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.