Sneak Preview: WMD Geiger Counter

June 2, 2009

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WMD (a.k.a. William Mathewson Devices) specializes in stompboxes that are decidedly out of the box. “We strive to create pedals with strange features and settings that inspire creativity through unpredictable behavior,” says the manual.

And here’s what it says about the pedal on the WMD Web site:

“The WMD Geiger Counter is hundreds of entirely new face melting sounds. A high gain modern preamp drives an 8-bit computer, creating sounds which range from nice (tubey overdrive, lofi aliasing, hot gated leads) to total madness (impossible amounts of gain, multiple octave foldover, harsh digital data errors, and piercing sculpted noise). This is NOT a modeling pedal, it turns the fundamentals of digital into a source of extreme distortion.”

After spending about a half-hour with the Geiger Counter, I’d say that’s a pretty accurate description. There are Gain and Tone controls that may be switched in and out, and controls for Sample Rate and Bit Depth that do just what you might expect, and a whole lot more that you likely will not expect. And at the center of the action there are 252 Wave Tables (see photo) that “take your signal and destroy it with math.”

The sounds I got fell into two categories: Those that had the same (or at least basically the same) pitch as the note I played, and those that did not. The pitched sounds included hyper-edgy fuzzes, Octavia-type buzz, ring-modulator-type clanging, and Octavia through a ring-modulator-type craziness. Non-pitched sounds ranged from ultra-high squeals and hisses to saw-toothed buzzes to growls and flatulent splats. While many of these sounds worked really well with guitar, I imagine you could also use this pedal to process drums, bass, and even voice.

Keep your eyes peeled for a full review in the pages of an upcoming issue of Guitar Player.

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