Back at the beginning of March I talked about a pedal-sized device from Casa Distortion called the PEDALpUNK! In the simplest terms the Punk allows an extremely easy way to incorporate your physical pedals into your digital recording process. But, it’s really a lot more than that. You can use it as a direct box and even overdrive and amp with it. It’s an ‘in the moment’ method of altering your sound – tactile and exciting. It’s a bunch of gear in one tidy box, making it perfect for production on the go. And, outside of post production , it provides an extremely fun way to connect your guitar – through your pedal board – into your recording device of choice.
After my shout out, I was contacted by the creator of the PedalpUNK!, Scott Eric Olivier. Scott is a multi-instrumentalist and music engineer that has worked on over 200 albums with artists from Michael Jackson (in preparation for Jackson’s comeback tour that was tragically halted), Chris Cornell, Christina Aguilera, the Goo Goo Dolls, Rhianna and more. He’s also a studio musician that can roam from instrument to instrument and one – as you can tell from the musicians he’s worked with – that feels comfortable in a number of genres and styles. He asked me if I’d like to try out the PEDALpUNK! to see it in action for myself. A week later prototype #5 of 10 arrived and I cracked it open.
Let’s get something straight here, I’m not a producer or sound engineer. I use an outdated version of Garage Band and an old Peavey mixer to jot down ideas and put together arrangements. It’s messy and noisy and the whole process would make most people cringe. With all that on the table though, I’m happy to tell you how easy the Punk is to set up and get going. Check out the Source Side:
The input and the output come in the form of a combi jack input and choice of XLR or TRS jack output. The Far right button is for polarity inversion. Sometimes if you are recording an amp and a DI, the signal from the DI will get to the computer or tape machine faster than the microphone. The polarity inversion will take care of this lag most of the time (to find out why -listen to the interview below!) This is just one of the many instances where the Punk solves a problem before you even realize you have one. Let’s take a look at the Pedal Side:
Just enough going on this side of the box to get the job done. Pull out of the send into your single pedal, your board or…really the sky’s the limit. On the other end of the aisle you can throw it all back to the return – which eventually leads to the output on the source side and back to your recording device. But before we get there we need to look up top:
Up top, we have Return, Focus and Send. The return and send level controls can be used to overdrive pedals in the loop or the PEDALpUNK!’s input transformer respectively, while the focus knob allows players to adjust the input impedance of the signal at the send jack. To me the realization of the impedance knob was another ‘that’s amazing forethought’ moment. Being able to (over-under)compensate the impedance of the signal gives the PEDALpUNK! a diversity of uses. Now you can hook just about sort of input device up and capture its true tone without despair. Last side worth looking at the Power side:
The Punk uses a 9vDC powersupply (included) and when it’s plugged in, it’s always on -ready -willing -able.
It’s hard to put into words how satisfying it was to play around with the PEDALpUNK!. The learning curve on this is tiny, but the payback is huge. When talking with Scott, we completely jumped out of the world of guitars and started imagining a world where the Punk gets incorporated into the live performance – DJs and the like. Remember, that loop isn’t restricted to the mundane and this device is not reserved for guitarists. To my mind, Scott has really created something useful and inventive. A box that will provide new opportunities to musicians on stage and in their recording studio – be it bedroom or professional.
Finally, don’t forget to check out an interview on SoundCloud we did with Scott Eric Olivier where he dishes on the PEDALpUNK! and all he hopes it brings to the world of music. You can also get more information on the controls by checking out this PDF they put together. The PEDALpUNK! is currently in pre-sale. Learn how to get yours at pedalpunk.com.