The Chi- Wah-Wah is a very tiny breed of wah pedal—about the exact same size together a standard Boss pedal

The Plutoneium Chi-Wah-Wah supplies apressure-activated pedal to manage wahsweep and speed.

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According come (avery informative and thoroughlyresearched website the I very recommendvisiting), more than 300 brand-new brandsof effects pedals and much more than 2,000individual effects gadgets were broughtto sector in 2011. With much more than 300new models and close to 40 brand-new brandsappearing top top the radar in the an initial sevenweeks the this new year, this deluge ofstompers shows no authorize of slowly down.

Despite this jaw-droppingly largeamount that releases, one an essential componentappears to it is in lacking amongst the vastmajority of new arrivals: innovation. Itseems that plenty of brands are playing itsafe, sticking with subtle variations ontried-and-true concepts, rather than makingany probably risky moves that mighttake them far from the basic directionof the flock.

Yet every so often a daring maverickgrabs the wheel and also steers the industry ina decidedly forward—if not slightly off-center—direction. One such innovator isa small company called Plutoneium (completewith intended “tone” misspelling)and their unique brand that “weapons-gradesonic engineering.” This slogan is fullyrealized in your flagship product, theChi-Wah-Wah.

As we all know, a Chihuahua is a verytiny breed of dog. Likewise, the Chi-Wah-Wah is a an extremely tiny each other of wahpedal—about the very same size as a standardBoss pedal, to it is in exact. Yet as the double-entendrename suggests, yes a many ofenergy packed right into this tiny beast, and itsbark and bite belie its diminutive nature.

Despite that is compact design, every singleaspect the the Chi-Wah-Wah screams quality.Plutoneium deserves to be commendedfor your “spare no expense” strategy tomanufacturing—a lot of larger and also betterknownbrands can learn indigenous this. Forexample, the CWW’s casing is made from1.5 mm rolled steel and features a toughpowder-coated finish. The bottom plateis enclosed by four sturdy Allen screws,the nameplate is riveted come the casing, andjack labels room actually etched right into thechassis. Top-mounted controls enable theuser come tweak the impact on the paris (we’lldiscuss this concept in a future column)and knurled steel knobs with set screws sitatop steel pot shafts. Bulletproof.

However, the unique aspect of theCWW lies not in the construction, butrather its ergonomics. Unequal a traditionalwah pedal wherein the base frequencies sit atthe heel place of the treadle and also trebleat the toe, the CWW is set up in a reversefashion with bass at the peak position the itstiny treadle.

While at an initial this may seem counterintuitive,the genius that this designbecomes obvious when you consider thatthe CWW’s wah impact is automaticallyactivated by just pressing down on thetreadle. As quickly as her foot uses pressureto the pedal (its stress is adjustable),the wah result engages and, startingin the lower frequencies, move throughthe mid- and upper-frequencies together morefoot press is applied.

Plutoneium describes this attribute as“wah-on-demand.” when it may soundstrange or also sacrilegious come the wahpurist, it’s in reality much simpler than havingto action down hard on a wah pedal toengage (or no engage—oops!) the switch,then rock your heel ago to seize the bassfrequencies first.

This design likewise makes for lot fasterand much more precise manage over the wah effect,since you room using her body weight—rather than the place of her ankle—tocontrol the pedal sweep. While that does takesome getting used to, the CWW’s brand-new wayto wah deserve to actually it is in far much more expressivethan the timeless wah design.

Of course, a pedal’s ergonomics rarelytake a front-seat come sound quality, yet onceagain the CWW has this facet of wahdesign extended in spades. The CWW’sinductor-based circuit can be changed bythe level, contour, and gain knobs mentionedearlier to offer the user a broad paletteof wah textures, ranging from smooth andmellow to sharp, loud, and also obnoxious.

When you’re done making the CWWsquawk, merely take your foot off of thetreadle. The pedal features a short timedelay whereby the wah stays energetic beforedisengaging the result using a buffered,optical switching circuit. Twin LEDs indicatepower and effect respectively, makingit easy to tell the CWW’s current status ata glance.

Praises aside, there are a couple ofaspects the the CWW’s operation thatmay bother part users. Since the treadleis spring-loaded it can’t be set in a “halfcocked”position, an interpretation no MichaelSchenker imitations. In addition, thebypass hold-up does take it some acquiring usedto and can be rather awkward if youneed come move in between effected and also cleansounds very quickly. However, based on theCWW’s ingenious operation, bulletproofconstruction, outstanding sound quality,and ultra-compact design of this pedal, Ibelieve Plutoneium has properly raisedthe bar of wah design and I imply othermanufacturers take note.

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Kevin Bolembachis the presidentand founder of Godlyke, the U.S.distributor for countless well-knownboutique impact brands, includingMaxon, Guyatone, EMMA, andProvidence..