Walrus Audio’s unique 385 overdrive pedal was based on a vintage film projector – and now it’s been overhauled as the 385 MkII

Walrus Audio has issued an updated version of its 385 overdrive pedal – the aptly named 385 MkII – which looks to squeeze even more versatility and practicality out of the unorthodox gain circuit.

Back in 2016, the US-based brand debuted the first iteration of the 385, which was inspired by the built-in amp of the Bell and Howell 385 Filmosound projector – an incredibly niche bit of vintage kit that became popular among players for its dynamic response and tone.

The projector itself was repackaged into pedal format by Walrus Audio, but now the MkII adds a number of neat updates.

Namely, an additional A/B footswitch has been added, alongside an extra set of Gain and Volume parameters, which allow players to switch between two separate parameter sets for on-demand gain boosts. 

A and B-specific Gain and Volume knobs are joined by universal Treble and Bass controls, with a final bypass footswitch and a newly designed 385+ toggle switch capping off the topography.

Notably, that toggle switch channels another sonic side of the original Filmosound projector, and throws in additional gain, saturation and sustain, supposedly pushing the overdrive into more distortion-style territories.

Some housekeeping tweaks have also been made, making the 385 MkII a far better pedalboard companion compared to its predecessor. Namely, it’s got top-mounted jacks for easy rig assimilation, and a soft-touch, relay true bypass.

Two different visual iterations of the 385 MkII have been released: one with a classic flat black enclosure, and another that depicts an illustration of the original 385 Filmosound (as drawn by David Hüttner) in yellow and red.

Both are the same price, though, weighing in at $249.

Head over to Walrus Audio for more info.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.