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Take a sonic tour of PRS’ first-ever range of innovative, flexible and superior-sounding stomp boxes

PRS has long been a brand name synonymous with some of the highest-quality, most iconic guitar designs – and, more recently, amplifiers – in the music equipment space. Now, the company has launched a new PRS era with the unveiling of three brand-new and rather impressive (not to mention colorfully named) guitar effect pedals. Meet the Horsemeat Transparent Overdrive, the Wind Through the Trees Dual Analog Flanger and the Mary Cries Optical Compressor. 

“Yes, you heard that correctly,” Guitar World Tech Editor Paul Riario says. “Paul Reed Smith, maker of many of the finest electric and acoustic guitars and even amplifiers, have thrown their hat in the stomp box ring and released three new guitar pedals.”

Paul Reed Smith himself calls these debut designs “highly usable, great-sounding pieces of professional gear” that are “the start of something very cool,” and clearly Paul couldn’t agree more.

First up is the Horsemeat, which is named as an ode to a popular overdrive pedal of the 1990s and is, as its title clearly states, a truly transparent beast, designed to enhance guitar tone without coloring it. The circuit boasts germanium diodes and can be used as a clean boost, straight overdrive, or to enhance an amp’s distortion by slightly pushing the front end of the preamp section. You also get boosted low- and high-end frequencies, with more available headroom. 

“Depending on the setting,” Paul says, “the Horsemeat can be used as a clean boost, straight overdrive or to push the front end of the amp’s preamp section to enhance the amplifier’s distortion.”

PRS effects pedals

(Image credit: PRS)

The Wind Through the Trees pedal, meanwhile, is a dual analog flanger pedal that offers controls for Manual, Depth and Rate for each circuit. There are also global knobs for Regeneration and Added Highs, as well as a Dry/Wet dial. Furthermore, a Mix control allows you to blend just the right amount of each circuit together, and maybe even achieve that perfect wind-whipping-through-the-trees sound. Or as Paul likes to characterize it, “two flangers mixed into one another.”

The third pedal in PRS’ initial pedal rollout, the Mary Cries Optical Compressor, features a straightforward layout with just two knobs – Output Gain and Compression. But the sounds it conjures are deep and complex. Based on the legendary LA-2A (and named for a ‘60s rock classic that you’ve maybe heard once or twice), the Mary Cries will add tons of definition to your tone by thickening your sound, helping to control signal peaks, lengthening sustain and more. 

What’s more, in addition to a compressor it can also, with just a bit of tweaking, be employed as a boost. “Even better, Paul says, “use it as a clean boost with a hint of compression.”

All three pedals in PRS’ new range feature top-notch design, with True Bypass switching, 9V DC or battery power and through-hole construction, “which broadens the component selection and allows for the best sounding parts to be used,” Paul points out. And they’re also made in the USA.

“PRS should have used the slogan “Expect the unexpected” for their brand-new pedal launch,” Paul says, adding that the company “has come out of the gate swinging with three high-end stomp boxes built to last a lifetime with classic sounds most guitarists will want to investigate further.”

You can check out more demo videos from PRS Guitars on the company’s YouTube channel (opens in new tab), and for more information on the Horsemeat, Wind Through the Trees and Mary Cries pedals, head to PRS Guitars (opens in new tab).

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