Old Blood Noise Endeavors is up to its old tricks once again, unveiling a manic distortion pedal that is said to be capable of conjuring up “a massive wall of sound”.
Owing to the brand’s track record, we’re inclined to believe that statement. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that OBNE was stretching the boundaries of what a chorus pedal can do with its BL-82 Chorus Variable Clock Effector.
Here, though, the Beam Splitter Automatic Triple Tracker Distortion isn’t too concerned with reinventing the wheel. Rather, its goal is to put three separate high gain voices under one roof, and squeeze as much versatility (and weirdness) from each circuit as possible.
It’s an objective that can be seen from the pedal’s topography. There is an abundance of control knobs yet only one footswitch, with three independent overdrives that have been “voiced to work together perfectly”.
In practice, there are three control sets for the trio of gain modes, which are differentiated between Purple, Green and Blue color schemes.
Taking one at a time, Purple is described as the pedal’s core tone – a hard-clipping distortion dictated by Gain, Volume and Tone knobs that is the Beam Splitter’s “heaviest and most compressed” option.
Green, a versatile overdrive with both light and bright sounds, is also dictated by Gain and Volume knobs, but throws in additional Time and Decay parameters. These behave as you’d expect, equipping the effect with delay of up to 125ms.
To round things off, Blue is labeled as “the most neutral and reactive” effect, and has the same Gain, Volume, Time and Decay knobs as the above.
The final control knob arrives in the form of Deviate, which is responsible for most of the Beam Splitter’s sonic mischief. Here, the knob adjusts the randomness of the delay variation in Blue and Green drive sections and, according to OBNE, serves to create a “more realistic sense of doubled players”. Conveniently, Deviate can be altered via an expression pedal.
In practice, these three drives can run in parallel or be split to three separate sources thanks to the assortment of top-mounted jacks.
Having said that, gain sounds aren’t the only consideration here. According to OBNE, “While the goal is singular bigness, you can also find strange filters, flangers, lo-fi vibratos, and trailing slap-back echoes using the delay controls and blending everything to taste”.
In other words, it's a quintessential OBNE pedal, one that looks to be capable of some impressively expansive gain tones.
The Beam Splitter is available for $229.
Head over to Old Blood Noise Endeavors for more information.