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The Walrus Audio Vanguard is dual-stage phasing pedal for use with guitars, keyboards, or other instruments with suitable connections. Its top row of knobs controls an initial 10-stage phaser, which can then be run into a secondary phasing section. This secondary phaser can be switched into one of three modes. Flip the toggle switch to run the signal into a six-stage phaser with pitch-warping, a four-stage phaser with an added filter, or an additional 10-stage phaser with regeneration controls. You can also choose to forego the second phaser altogether.
The top row of controls includes separate Dry Mix and Wet Mix knobs that independently adjust the level of your unprocessed and modulated signals. You’ll also note standard Rate and Depth controls for controlling the speed and intensity of the effect. A Regen knob controls how much of the effect is fed back into the phase filters; heaps of this knob can give you a crazy sound indeed.
The second set of Rate and Depth controls affect the ancillary phaser, while the associated Tweak knob changes to act similarly to the Regen control in the 10-stage setting, and behaves as a pitch-shifter in the four-stage mode, giving you a more chorused tone. In the six-stage position, the Tweak knob controls a filter, which, in heavy doses, acts almost like an envelope control, and can get quite bizarre. You can also run each phasing section independently by turning the Rate, Depth, and Regen/Tweak knobs to their minimum values. So, turn all the knobs down on the second row of controls, and you’ll only hear the output of the first phaser; turn down the Rate, Depth, and Regen controls of the top row, and you’ll only hear the secondary phaser.
A wide array of tones can be secured with this pedal. Looking for something like Radiohead’s Paranoid Android? This can do the job. Looking to approximate that riff on Stone Temple Pilot’s Army Ants? The pedal can make that possible. You can even minimize the phasing and juice the pitch on the tweak knob, thereby securing something like John Scofield’s highly-modulated lead tone, the one reminiscent of a bumble bee passing by.
By default, the pedal routes sound in mono. However, by means of internal DIP switches, you can flip the Vanguard from mono/stereo to stereo/stereo modes, effectively turning the stompbox into a 2-in / 2-out device. Please note you’ll need a TRS splitter cable to route your stereo signal into this pedal for this usage.
An expression input lets you use your favorite expression pedal to swell various controls in the pedal. For information on how to set up an expression pedal, please see the feature section. A remote input provides increased functionality, as it lets you put the Vanguard in the back of your pedalboard and use a remote pedal to toggle the preset-cycle and bypass footswitches. The remote pedal is available separately, as is the 9 VDC power supply needed to power the unit.
The Vanguard utilizes true-bypass circuitry to ensure your pedal is pristine and unprocessed in its bypassed state. As indicated by the preset footswitch, you can save three presets into the pedal and cycle through them with this footswitch. For more information on how to store presets, as well as a comprehensive breakdown on how the tweak control changes depending on your selected mode, please read the features section.
Rate Knob: This controls the speed of the initial phase effect.
Depth Knob: This controls the intensity of the initial phase effect.
Regen Knob: This controls how much of the phased effect is fed back into the phase filters. At minimum values, you’ll hear a tamer phaser. To hear more phased peaks in the frequency spectrum, feed more of the phased signal back into itself by turning the control clockwise.
Wet Mix Knob: This controls the level of processed signal at the output of the pedal. Set it to zero to hear only the unaffected signal; set it to full to bring in the wet signal. This is a global control, working with both phasers.
Rate Knob (Lower): This controls the speed of the second phase effect.
Depth Knob (Lower): This controls the intensity of the second phase effect.
Tweak Knob: This control changes depending on the mode.
Mode Toggle Switch: This changes the mode of the second phaser.
Preset Footswitch: This changes between presets,
Bypass Footswitch / Preset Save: Push bypass to turn the pedal on or off. To save a preset, move the controls into the desired position. Hold down the Bypass button. Bypass button will blink, and when the blinking ceases, your preset has been saved. There are 3 available presets, indicated by the blue, green, and red LED above the preset footswitch. You can toggle between those presets by pressing the Preset footswitch.