Seismic Activity: EarthQuaker Devices Speaker Cranker

EarthQuaker Devices is a small, boutique pedal manufacturer from Akron, Ohio, known for a wide variety of colorful stompboxes that just sound great. If you’re looking for fuzz, delay, pitch modulation and more, EarthQuaker Devices has it all.

The Speaker Cranker is an overdrive pedal with one knob for “More” and no other controls to tweak or obsess over. It’s not what you would call a boost pedal; instead, it offers some heft and crunch to an already overdriven amplifier without coloring your tone dramatically.

The “More” knob dials in the amount of dirt, with overdrive creeping in around 9 o’clock on an amp set to clean. The Speaker Cranker is true bypass and operates on 9-volt battery or an optional 9-volt regulated power supply.

I find that the Speaker Cranker is an essential stompbox if you use a single-ended amplifier, such as the Marshall JCM 800, or a two-channel amp with a rhythm and lead channel to deliver much-needed gain for harmonics and solos. The pedal does color your sound, but in a good way, slightly darkening the tone to take out any high-end harshness. The gain isn't overwhelming and offers just the right amount of bite if your amplifier is already overdriven.

If you’re running the amp clean, the “More” control will add some roundness, compression and grit as you move the knob toward noon and finally overdrive past that — just enough to sustain notes. Check back again as I will be certainly covering more of EarthQuaker’s fantastic pedals.

List Price: $105
EarthQuaker Devices,
Buy it on Amazon

I try very hard to remain under the radar despite being on camera as gear editor, but in this age of social media it was only a matter of time before it had to come to this. So with that, I will make my blog painless and a quick and easy read so you can get on to more important things like practicing guitar and sweep picking, or if you’re like me, obsessing how to race the Tour De France and trying to be Kristen Stewart’s next mistake. I will use this blog to inform you of things I find cool; like new gear I’m playing through and what I’m watching, reading or listening to at any given moment. So feel free to ask me anything that’s gear related — or if you have a problem with your girlfriend, you know, life lesson stuff, I’m pretty good at that too — and I’ll do my best to answer or address it here.

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Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.