Designed specifically for Joe Walsh, this dual effects pedal combines Compressor and Classic Amp circuits, which can be used independently or in tandem. The rugged, diecast metal enclosure features Bass, Treble, Gain, and Output controls for the amp side, and Sensitivity, Ratio, and Output for the compressor. LEDs indicate when either or both effects are active, and there’s also a Pre/Post switch that puts the compression before or after the amp stage. Besides providing more efficient use of pedalboard space, putting these two circuits in one box is a hip idea as they can work together to give you the best of both worlds when it comes to dialing in your overdriven tones. The distortion side is based around what Analog Alien calls a “Classic Amp,” in reference to the tube amps that Walsh has used over the decades. As such, it’s not a particularly high-gain affair, but it has plenty of body, good touch-responsiveness, and enough output to serve as a booster. The JWDC is ideal for playing grinding riffs and moderately overdriven solos—think “Funk #49”—and with a little compression added to a fairly high Gain setting you definitely get a more “studio processed” sound than a distortion pedal alone would deliver.
Compression is useful for increasing sustain and preserving the natural sound of the instrument—a reason why slide players often use it—and just in case you’re not a compression user, a few things are worth mentioning about the controls: Sensitivity lets you adjust signal level at the input stage, and is handy for either keeping the compressor from distorting when feeding it with a hot signal, or for raising the input level so that the compressor is optimized for lower-output instruments. The Ratio knob varies the compression ratio from mild to fairly squashy (the range is variable from 2:1 to 10:1), and Output adjusts the level from the compressor to overcome any level loss caused by higher compression settings.
Paired with an amp that’s already overdriving (such as the Blackstar Artist 30 that we were also reviewing at the time), the JWDC worked great for kicking the grind over the top and making the sound a little smoother in the process. It’s like getting a third channel out of a two-channel amp. The pedal is very quiet whether the compression is situated before or after the amp section, although I preferred using it in “Pre” mode because it added a little girth to the tone. Nice that you can have it both ways, and it’s just one of the factors that make the Joe Walsh Double Classic a very worthy pedal to try out.
Kudos Separately footswitchable distortion and compression in one package. Handy Pre/Post switch for the compression circuit.
Concerns Amp side may not have enough gain for some players.