The EHX Tortion is Electro-Harmonix' new flagship overdrive pedal, featuring a 4-way pre-gain selector for dialing in various OD tones.
EHX Nano Big Muff Pi
The pre-gain selector drives the pedal's JFET overdrive circuitry, which is then paired with a switchable boost section with independent volume and gain controls.
Being labeled as "flagship" is supposed to be a big deal for a manufacturer, and it usually translates as being the best that they can offer. Unfortunately, this may not necessarily apply to overdrive/distortion pedals because guitarists simply prefer different "voices". So after releasing one dirt pedal after another last year, it was quite surprising for EHX to release anther overdrive pedal and label it as THE flagship model!
You read it right, according to company founder and president Mike Matthews, the EHX tortion is indeed their "flagship overdrive/distortion". They describe it as a "database of great tone", and is designed to cover various voicings that affords us players with tone versatility. They summarized: "The EHX Tortion’s full complement of features and controls make dialing in the right guitar sound intuitive — whatever the era — from vintage to modern."
The core of the pedal is a JFET overdrive circuit, utilized by boutique builders and other manufacturers that are going for tube-like response and tones. What makes this one unique however is the 4-way Pre-Gain selector, unfortunately, not much information is released about this feature as of yet but presumably it works with the 3-Band EQ to let you dial in different overdrive flavors.
The Boost section with its independent controls further add to the tonal variations that can be achieved. It can also serve as a virtual 2nd channel, especially with its dedicated gain and volume knobs.
It's not just tonal versatility that EHX went after, they also wanted the pedal to be versatile in terms of connectivity. They equipped the unit with a balanced XLR output complete with cabinet emulation, so you can use it as a preamp. It seems that cab emulation is gradually becoming a standard feature on many of today's pedal makers, much like how True Bypass became part of the norm.
Having gone through the specs, check out this demo of the pedal:
The EHX Tortion is scheduled for release in the middle of March, with a list price of $198.67. More information on the pedal will soon be available at Electro-Harmonix.
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When you consider how much time and effort you put into getting your rig to sound just the way you want, it makes sense to ensure your guitar cables are also up to the job - after all they're an important part of the tone chain. Also remember that occasionally things will go wrong, so always carry at least one spare cable to gigs and rehearsals.