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The Plumes is a low to medium gain overdrive based on the trusty lime-green overdrive that has been an industry staple since its inception. This is the kind of overdrive that works in conjunction with a good valve amp to create the warm saturation people like to call “transparent”. While this circuit has been the foundation of countless other overdrives available today, we feel the Plumes has a few twists and turns to make it unique enough to stand out.
The Plumes does away with the trusted JRC4558 OpAmp and the BJT buffers and replaces them with low noise JFET OpAmps for a more robust and precise signal with a significantly lower noise floor. The 9v power input is internally converted to +/- 9v for more headroom and a clarity that is almost three-dimensional. We’ve raised the input impedance to a whopping 10 megaohms for a stronger signal with more clarity and chime. We’ve also adjusted the cutoff of the tone control to deliver a more useful range of travel with more booming bass on the low end without sacrificing the cutting midrange and bright top end.
Last, but certainly not least, the Plumes offers three different clipping options to ensure that it will work with a wide variety of gear and playing styles. Mode 1 is symmetrical clipping utilizing a pair of light emitting diodes. This is the crunchiest setting the Plumes has to offer. When played through a clean amp, it’ll deliver a reasonable facsimile of that classic crunchy valve amp tone. Mode 2 is clean boost mode. This eliminates the soft clipping diodes altogether and leaves you with straight OpAmp drive. This is perfect for pushing your clean tone out in front or driving the preamp of an already overdriven amp into tasteful breakup territory. Mode 3 is an asymmetrical silicon diode arrangement similar to the stock screamer but with more output and clean clarity; the tone some people describe as “transparent”.
The Plumes features EarthQuaker Devices relay-based “soft touch” Flexi-Switch™ Technology for both momentary and latching footswitch operation as well as a very low 25mA current draw.
Each and every Plumes is built one-at-a-time by delightful little hands in Akron, Ohio; the charred, black heart in the heart of it all…