Review: EarthQuaker Devices Avalanche Run Pedal

(Image credit: EarthQuaker Devices)


Few effects inspire creativity as much as reverb and delay (just ask the Edge, who pretty much built U2’s catalog on those effects).

But EarthQuaker Devices Avalanche Run pedal is so ingeniously laid out that it’s more of an instrument unto itself than a usual reverb/delay pedal. While it offers the stellar sound quality and processing power of a pro DSP unit, its operation—particularly in live performances—is stomp box simple.

The Avalanche Run provides delay and reverb effects in true stereo thanks to its stereo input and output jacks. The delay time ranges from zero milliseconds to two seconds, and the reverb is essentially a lush, hall-style effect. When both are engaged at once, the delay effect comes before reverb in the signal path. Controls for the delay are located on the top row and consist of time (zero to 2,000 ms), repeats (zero to infinite), tone and mix.

Reverb controls are on the bottom row and consist of decay and mix. Also on the bottom row are controls for the expression pedal jack assignment knob and the delay ratio switch, which selects delay subdivisions when using the tap tempo footswitch. A mini toggle switch selects normal (delay and reverb), reverse (reverb and reverse delay) and swell (volume swell) modes.

To get the most out of the Avalanche Run pedal, I highly recommend connecting an expression pedal to the expression pedal jack. This allows users to manually control one of the following six functions with an expression pedal: reverb decay, reverb mix, delay time, delay repeats, delay mix, or toggling between forward and reverse delay.

While you can use the Avalanche Run as a straightforward delay/reverb pedal, several “hidden” functions give players added creative control. For example, when holding down the tap tempo footswitch in normal or swell mode, the delay will go into self-oscillation for trippy dub effects, or in reverse mode it will flip the delay effect to normal (forward) as long as the tap tempo switch is held down. The pedal can also be set up so the delay effect trails off with natural decay in five different trail length settings.

The sound quality is as clean, noise-free and pristine as a professional high-end digital processor, but the overall tone is fat, rich, lush and musical. The Avalanche Run will give your guitar tone a professional-quality sheen, but more importantly it seems to pull creative inspiration out of the ether.

MANUFACTURER: EarthQuaker Devices,

• An expression pedal jack allows players to manually control any of six different reverb or delay settings.

• Holding down the tap tempo engages delay self-oscillation (normal or swell mode) or flips the reverse mode to normal.

Much more than the sum of its built-in delay and reverb effects, the EarthQuaker Avalanche Run is a creatively inspiring instrument that generates mind-boggling effects in live performance.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.