Earthquaker has rapidly advanced from small boutique shop to major player in the pedal market on the strength of well constructed, attractively designed, and great-sounding effects that are affordably priced for what they offer. The Depths ($195 street) features a classic-style optical Uni-Vibe circuit with Intensity and Rate controls, each covering a wide range of settings. A handy Level knob helps compensate for any psycho-acoustic or actual volume drops that can occur when engaging the pedal, and it can go beyond that and even push an amp into overdrive. The Depth’s circuit has a current draw of 35mA and requires an external power supply (not included). You can choose to run it on 9 volts for a warmer response, or at 18 volts for a brighter sound with more headroom.
EarthQuaker strays off the beaten ’Vibe path via a Voice control that shifts the effect’s tonal center, bringing out different parts of the undulating sweep. Turn it clockwise and it enhances the low end; twist it the opposite direction and it thins out the sound and enhances the midrange. This control also interacts with the Throb knob, which adjusts the low end of the pulse. By manipulating the Voice, Throb, and Intensity, I could create warm-sounding Uni-Vibe phasing textures à la Hendrix and Trower, or, at higher Rate settings, Leslie-style effects. And that was just the beginning. For example, with the Intensity control turned up, the Voice knob could be used to enhance various frequencies, creating a number of cool sounds that were more auto-filter than Uni-Vibe.
Some ’Vibe clones tend to muddy the mix— not so The Depths. These swirling sounds were far from murky, making this pedal ideal for humbucker lovers and/or loud volumes, as well as helping it play well with distortion, whether of the amp or pedal variety. Bottom line: With its cool graphics, pedalboard-friendly size, and pristine sound, The Depths definitely rises to the upper tier of ’Vibes that you’ll want to audition.
Kudos Wide range of lush Uni-Vibe-style effects. Solid construction.
Concerns Battery power not an option.