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Electro-Harmonix Ripped Speaker review

An affordable and compact fuzz pedal that takes distorted guitar tones right back to the beginning

Electro-Harmonix Ripped Speaker
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Gnarly with knobs on. Edgy fuzz with all the fine adjustment you’ll need.

For

  • No speaker cones were harmed in making these distorted tones.
  • Classic voicings.
  • Small format.
  • Affordable.

Against

  • Nothing, but lo-fi is an acquired taste.

EHX’s Ripped Speaker is a nano-sized fuzz pedal that celebrates lo-fi distortion and supplies it in varied shades. 

The sound of You Really Got Me came about when The Kinks’ Dave Davies took a razor blade to his speaker. Electro-Harmonix’s pedal pays homage to that sort of damaged cone action, as well as the lo-fi distortion caused by faulty electronics.

At its heart, the Ripped Speaker is a fuzz pedal equipped with Fuzz and Volume knobs and an extremely effective transformative EQ – but it also sports a Rip knob that adjusts the bias, basically setting the amount of waveform clipping. 

Electro-Harmonix Ripped Speaker

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

Around noon is optimum for a conventional fuzz sound, which is fat but rough-edged, straight out of the mid-'60s and at its best in the upper reaches of the Fuzz knob. Turning the Rip knob to the right adjusts the bias for a hard gating effect – it’s almost unplayable at its extreme, as if the battery is being given the last rites.

Across the arc of the Rip knob you’ll find there’s plenty you can exploit with playing dynamics: tightly wound chords, spitty note clusters and sitar stylings. To the left, the gating is smoother and less hooligan, and while it can do extreme spluttery, there are subtle musical variations just left of centre.  

Electro-Harmonix Ripped Speaker

(Image credit: Future)

Specs

  • PRICE: $110 / £79
  • ORIGIN: USA
  • TYPE: Fuzz pedal
  • FEATURES: True bypass
  • CONTROLS: Volume, Rip, Tone, Fuzz, Bypass footswitch
  • CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
  • POWER: 9V battery (included) or 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 10mA
  • DIMENSIONS: 70 (w) x 111 (d) x 50mm (h)
  • CONTACT: EHX

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Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.