This is a Guest Post by James Abel
The Pork Loin is the overdrive brainchild of FX Guru, and the man behind Way Huge electronics, George Tripps. It is a new pedal by the company, as opposed to the many re-issues we have seen emerging from the company over recent years. The Pedal is an overdrive that features both a take on a British classic pre-amp, as well as a modern soft clipping overdrive.
In my opinion the little box looks a bit of a stunner. It’s brushed purple steel and blue font coloration makes it cry for attention. The construction is fairly sturdy and looks like it could survive a few bomb blasts, while battery access is made easy with the inclusion of a small door situated at the base of the pedal. However, it still retains a pedal board friendly demeanour as it also features a 9VDC input on the top of the pedal. At the heart of this purple piggy is a BiFET gain stage, while it also boasts a clean pre-amp. Under the hood everything is clean and in order, with factory manufactured boards that are pristine. No prizes go to Way Huge for creativity in naming the three large knobs on the front of the pedal, as they display the standard Volume, Tone, Overdrive controls. However, Mr. Tripps has taken the proverbial step further and included two small trim pots on the front of the pedal, in addition to three internal trim-pots. The two pots on the outside of the pedal include;
Clean – this controls the amount of the clean pre-amp that is blended into your signal.
Curve – this allows the user to control the corner frequencies of the pedal.
Whereas the three trim-pots on the inside are as follows;
Filter – this acts as a tone control for the clean pre-amp section of the pedal.
Presence – this acts as a usual presence control, thus tweaking the top end frequencies, however this is only for the overdrive signal.
Drive Mix – this acts almost as an opposite to the ‘clean’ trim pot on the front of the pedal as it adjusts the amount of the BiFET overdrive it allows into the signal. For example, turning it all the way down will only provide the clean pre-amp side of things.
When first plugging in and playing through the pork loin, the pedal appears to match its ‘60s like paintjob. It’s warm, creamy and has a distinctly soft top end. Notes are well defined and remain articulate and dynamic with a nice natural compression.
When moving the tone knob a decent range of frequencies is covered, however it retains its creamy nature. The low end remains tight and dynamic while the top end remains soft and punchy. However some may be left wanting from the overdrive and volume knobs, as although the pedal feels like there’s a lot of gain, most likely due to the large amounts of compression, there isn’t. While in the factory setting mode, think Bonamassa or Eric Johnson, that’s the ball park.
Bringing in the clean and curve controls give the pedal a brighter tone. The clean pre-amp blend knob, in particular, helps to clean this pedal up nicely; it also gives it an almost transparent tone. Some might be lured into believing this pedal is a bit of a one trick pony, and they would be forgiven for this, had the internal trim-pots not been included. The trick to the versatility in this pedal lies with these pots. Situated in the guts of the piggy, they really do change the pedal. The presence control really opens up the top end giving it a real Marshall JMP kind of vibe, while the filter acts as a wide tone control for the clean pre-amp. The Drive mix is definitely the hidden gem here though. Turning it down in conjunction with increasing the clean pre-amp blend essentially turns the Pedal into a dynamic clean boost, which pushes valves hard while giving them a slight coloration.
In conclusion I’m chuffed to bits with this little gem of an overdrive. Metal heads and hard rockers should look elsewhere, but for those with an interest in British blues or people looking for that Bonamassa/Johnson tone should give the Pork Loin a try. At $169 it’s hardly a steal, but the pedal is definitely a reliable workhorse for any gigging blues player and I would recommend it for their pedal boards.
View the Way Huge Pork Loin on Amazon.