Walrus Audio Ages Five-State Overdrive review

Walrus Audio’s latest is a versatile drive pedal with five different ‘flavours’

 Walrus Audio Ages Five-State Overdrive review
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Guitar World Verdict

Capable of low-level transparent boost through to hard-hitting saturation, the Ages offers a versatility that enables it to work with a wide range of different guitars and amps, not to mention stacking with other drive pedals. Definitely one that will stay on your ’board.

Pros

  • +

    Compact size.

  • +

    Good range of clipping options.

  • +

    Dry mix knob.

  • +

    Practical EQ.

Cons

  • -

    None.

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It’s not uncommon to see multiple overdrive pedals on a ’board, each with its own characteristics to suit a range of scenarios. But another option is a single drive pedal that can provide a choice of overdrive flavours. 

The Ages overdrive does just that with five distinct variations on its basic overdrive voice. It follows standard drive pedal protocol with volume, gain, bass and treble knobs but is equipped with a rotary switch offering five different clipping modes. Furthermore, there’s a knob to mix your dry sound with the drive for myriad variations.

The drive is provided by symmetric silicon diode or LED soft clipping with low-gain and high-gain modes for each plus an extra high-gain silicon hard clipping mode. 

Choose the low-gain drives of modes I and II if you wish to use the pedal as a clean boost; keeping the gain at minimum you’ll find unity gain with the volume knob at around one o’clock. As you turn up the gain, both modes provide a transparent spectrum of just-breaking-up and mild crunch tones.

Hard clipping mode V takes things into cranked stack territory with more compression and saturated sustain-y textures

The differences are subtle, but mode II (LED) is a little less compressed with a more open top-end. The Bass and Treble EQ is sympathetically ranged to enhance the core tone with bass adjustment pre-drive, so you can cut or boost to best suit your pickups while the treble tailors the output.

High-gain modes III and IV get straight into the crunch, moving through a range of tasty driven amp tones. The differences are more pronounced here with the LED offering louder and looser to the silicon’s more tightly controlled dynamics. Hard clipping mode V takes things into cranked stack territory with more compression and saturated sustain-y textures. 

Overall, there’s drive here to suit many needs, especially considering the nuances available by integrating the Dry knob for clean sound bolstered with a little drive or drive with added string clarity.

Verdict

Capable of low-level transparent boost through to hard-hitting saturation, the Ages offers a versatility that enables it to work with a wide range of different guitars and amps, not to mention stacking with other drive pedals. Definitely one that will stay on your ’board.

Specs

  • PRICE: $199 / £179
  • ORIGIN: USA
  • TYPE: Drive pedal
  • FEATURES: True bypass, 5x drive modes
  • CONTROLS: Volume, Dry, Gain, Bass, Treble, Mode switch, Bypass footswitch
  • CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
  • POWER: 9V DC adaptor, 100mA
  • DIMENSIONS: 67 (w) x 125 (d) x 57mm (h)
  • CONTACT: Walrus Audio (opens in new tab)

Also try...

Hamstead Soundworks Odyssey Intergalactic Driver – £219 Described in our review as having “a versatility that’s truly remarkable”, this Intergalactic Driver features three selectable clipping options or a simple clean boost with EQ. (Image credit: Future)

JHS Bonsai

JHS Bonsai – $229 / £219 Another drive pedal with multiple options, the Bonsai has a rotary switch that offers nine different variations of Tube Screamer, covering the history of that iconic pedal’s circuitry. (Image credit: Guitar Center)

EarthQuaker Devices Dunes – $189 / £179 Dunes is a cut-down version of EarthQuaker’s Palisades offering three of that pedal’s six clipping voices alongside two different bandwidth settings and gain, tone and level knobs. (Image credit: Future)

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Trevor Curwen

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.