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One issue that many people have with dual-distortion pedals is that often both ‘sides’ (the two channels) consist of the same voicing, whereas you change those voices by way of the EQ, how much Gain you give each, etc. That is NOT the case with the Eris. Both sides are completely different, with one being a low to moderate gain (more ‘classic’ sounding), whereas the other is heavy hitting and modern. Both have their own Gain and Volume controls, but the sculpting aspects are different as well. The low-to-moderate gain side has a Tone control and a high-cut control, so that you can dial in enough top end, while tapering off any excess shrill or bite. The high-gain side has both a Bass and Treble control.
To operate the Eris, there is a master footswitch to turn it on and off (with LED indicator), and a separate footswitch that toggles between the two channels (each with its own LED indicator). Operation is relatively straight-forward, based on the above information, but what I noticed is that to dial into a good sound requires some tweaking of the amp. For many pedals (or when using my amps in general), I tend to have the Bass slightly less than 12-noon, the Midrange around 12-noon or a touch higher, and the Treble around 1-o’clock or a touch higher. These settings vary at times, but those are typical. However, I find the Eris somewhat vivid in the higher EQ range. I’m not suggesting that it is trebly or bright, but that in order to get that midrange, chewy sound (particularly with the high-gain channel of the Eris) you need to back off on an amp’s treble while boosting either/or the bass and midrange. Once I did that, the Eris really shone and came to life – bolder and darker (not muddy), yet incredibly clear in the mix with a punch.
Now, to describe the characteristics of each channel, although this will depend on the pedal’s settings, as well as an amp’s settings. The lower gain side is extremely mild with the gain down, which makes for a fantastic clean boost, but also when wanting a hint of hair to a clean signal or to add some dazzle to an already dirty tone. Although a distortion pedal, this channel very much has an overdrive quality, and when turned up full it is reminiscent of classic rock. The high-gain channel is thick and meaty, so much so that the gain set at about 10-o’clock is plenty on a clean channel when riffing and going for that fat crunch tone. Dialing up more gain then gets into a distortion-fuzz-like quality, still sounding great for rhythm, although the added saturation does lead playing more justice. The high-gain channel can be added to a dirty amp, although the pedal’s gain should be turned all the way down and the amp’s gain reduced accordingly.
A definite part of the Eris’ sound sculping ability is obvious when working the EQ knobs. There is a tremendous difference in bass and treble responses that make it flexible enough for the darkest and brightest amps out there. Moreover, the EQ controls are very touch sensitive – a minor tweak goes a long, long way… what sounds too dark can sound too bright with only a slight turn (with an adjustment between always sounding just right). Consequently, when you get your tones dialed in, I suggest a small pen or marker indicator on the controls, just in case they get moved between gigs.
Overall, and with various distortions in my studio, the Eris sounds as good in most respects, but what separates it from the rest is the ‘bigness’ of its sound, but also its diversity. Two very different channels (as though two pedals in one) and a huge array in tone possibilities. I find it difficult to believe that one could not dial into preferred tones with either channel and with any gear in use. I tried this pedal on various platforms, both solid state and tube, and it sounds fantastic no matter the environment or cab IR.