After cementing its reputation as one of the finest electric guitar, acoustic guitar and guitar amp manufacturers of the modern age, PRS has now set its sights on becoming a commanding force in the world of effects pedals.
That’s right: PRS pedals are finally here. Announcing its entry on the stompbox stage, the Maryland brand has today debuted three all-new effects pedals: the Horsemeat transparent overdrive pedal, Mary Cries optical compressor pedal and Wind Through The Trees dual flanger pedal.
According to Paul Reed Smith himself, the first three entries into the company’s latest range were inspired by his own personal creations and mod jobs, which took place when he couldn’t find what he was looking for anywhere else.
The result of many months of R&D – as well as a meticulous prototype testing phase – the three stompboxes also supposedly mark the start of “something very cool," with Smith hinting that even more PRS pedals will be arriving in the future.
“This whole concept started in my home studio,” he explained. “When recording, I was looking for tones and textures I couldn’t get straight from the guitar. When I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I would build a device with the help of some friends.
“That’s how the first pedal prototypes were born,” he added. “Over time, we all got so excited by them, that we decided to offer them to more players. I think these first three designs are the start of something very cool.”
Read on for a deep-dive into PRS’ first-ever effects pedals.
Up first is the Horsemeat transparent overdrive pedal, designed from scratch in an effort to “enhance your sound without coloring your tone." In operation, it vows to deliver a harmonic midrange richness without diminishing high notes, all while granting more available headroom.
Under the hood, it features germanium diodes, and is said to be suitable for a wide range of gain tones, from clean boost and out-and-out overdrive to an amp-enhancing distortion that slightly pushes the front end of the amp’s preamp section.
Control-wise, the all-analog pedal has a large Gain knob front and center, as well as smaller Level, Voice, Treble and Bass parameters and a true bypass footswitch.
Wind Through The Trees
The most complex and intricately crafted stompbox of the bunch, the Wind Through The Trees is a dual analog flanger that has been described as “two flangers fighting each other."
Supposedly named after the wind-like whipping sound it creates, the flanger features two LFOs, each with Manual, Depth and Rate knobs. An LFO Mix control also makes the cut, and can be used to adjust the overall mix levels between the two.
A Dry/Wet parameter also lets guitarists dial in the desired amount of flanger action into their overall signal, while Regeneration and Added Highs add further levels of tone-tweaking possibilities into the mix.
Last but not least is the Mary Cries – an easy-to-use, two-knob optical compressor based on the Teletronix LA-2A. Serving as a standard compressor pedal, the deceptively busy unit strives to thicken your tone, help control signal peaks, lengthen sustain and push your tone without losing clarity or definition.
To achieve this end goal, the Mary Cries has Output Gain and Compression control knobs – as well as a true bypass switch – that can help turn the pedal from a straightforward compressor into a boost unit.
“We believe the pedals we’ve created are highly usable, great-sounding pieces of professional gear,” Smith said. “A real magic pedal makes the board. We’re trying to make pedals that make the board and stay on it.”
The PRS Horsemeat pedal will sell for $249, with Mary Cries going for $219 and Wind Through the Trees ringing up at $349.
To find out more about the trio of stompboxes, head over to PRS.