Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seeing Red

For so so long have I been trying to get my hands on these pedals. I can remember visiting the Heavy Electronics website telling myself "Wow! These have to be awesome boxes." In fact, Heavy Electronics was one of the first companies I contacted when I started the AWC weblog. Well, I am super duper stoked to say that Heavy Electronics have come through, and the pedals they sent for us to try out are absolutely mind blowing! These cats totally met and went beyond our expectations. The build quality, tone, versatility, and style that these pedals own make them some of the coolest I have ever tried. Analog War Cry will be spending some time looking into a handful of the Heavy Electronics stompboxes, and if we're lucky will be able to bring them all your way. Now a very special treat from us to you. Heavy Electronics.

Red Eyes

  • Handmade in Minneapolis, Mn by Musicans
  • Lifetime Warrenty (barring obvious abuse)
  • Upgrades, Repairs, and Mods Available for Life
  • Voiced Openly for Guitars, Bass, or any other Instrument
  • True Bypass Switching/Minimum Length Leads
  • PCB Design. Printed and Populated by HE
  • 1oz Copper1/16" Single Point Mounted PCB
  • 24mm Large Size Pots for Maximum Reliability
  • Flying Leads to all Pots and Jacks
  • Neutrik or Switchcraft 1/4 inch Single Jacks
  • Sealed Metal LED Housing w/ Flying Leads
  • 9V 200mA Power for Maximum Compatibility
  • Powder-Coated Diecast Aluminum Enclosure
  • Custom Option Available (graphics, colors, etc..)
  • Duel Quality Control Testing (Audio & Build)


First impression
Straight out of the box I was able to get magic from this pedal. I didn't even pay any attention to the setting at first. I just grabbed a couple cables, a guitar, and plugged into an amp set sparkling clean. I plowed down onto a handful of big rock chords and there came thundering out of my amp a huge gritty rock tone. It didn't take more than 5 minutes for the Red Eyes to have me hooked at the gills. The Red Eyes comes equipped with controls for gain and level, and voicing/tone. I will also mention that this is the latest version of the Red Eyes, sporting the super cool octopus graphics and powder coat finish. The Red Eyes also has two extra LED's (the octopus eyes) which work the pedal's clipping and work as a clipping indicators. Strum softly and the LED's fade in softly then fade out. Start to dig in and the LED's shine bright and angry. I was actually quite taken by how responsive and accurate the LED's were, a great tool for dark and loud stages.

Looking straight into the eyes
Once it was apparent that this pedal was going to be nothing but good times, I went ahead and grabbed the closest guitar to me and got to steppin'. I plugged in, and wallah. All around good stuff for everyone. The first setup I tested the Red Eyes through ended up being a Jazzmaster and a 22 watt 65' Deluxe reissue. The snappy feel of the amp and vintage vibe of the pedal matched up like a hand and glove. I was so surprised by the huge sound I was able to get from the 22 watts of Fender amp. The first thing really that stood out and impressed me was the tube-like grit and transparent nature of the pedal's sound. The midrange bit down beautifully, while the lows and highs touched off with a clarity and warmth. The Deluxe's tasty tone ended up being the perfect canvas for painting on top of. The first setting of fooled around with was - voice switch to the far left, gain set to about 15%, and level control matching the amp's output. Once engaged the pedal blew out a crunchy tube light overdrive that complimented the amp's woolfy vintage vibe. Just behind my amp's clean root tone I could hear and feel the Red Eyes' gritty character breaking through and helping the signal shout out with style. The subtle aggression and attitude of the Red Eyes' tone made for a very nice riffin' blues tone . Next I added in some more of the pedal's gain and rolled the voicing up 10%. Here the pedal did something really interesting. By playing lightly I could draw out a nice balanced overdrive from the pedal, then by digging in just a little harder the overdrive would go from smooth to broken up. This tone worked great for accenting lead runs and playing off of vocals and chorus sections. With the amp a little louder I was also able to get more out of the pedal's tone all together. Very nice nice stuff. From here I began cranking the amp into a light natural overdrive then stacking the pedal's grit on top of it. With a medium dirt setting I noticed the Red Eyes would give me an unbelievable amount of dynamics and range. This was possible due to how well it blended with the amp's dirt and how well it responded to using guitar's volume and tone controls. To simply get back to square one all I had to do was roll back the guitar's volume about 25-30% and I was in. The tone control on my guitar was also quite nice for working it into the pedal's character. In fact, it responded so well to the guitar's tone that it was like having another control on board the pedal. While in this same amp setting I turned up the Red Eyes' gain even more, then slammed down on some tasty rockin' power chords. The signal broke up even more creating a smooth and wonderful 100% rock and roll tone. This was a fantastic guitar tone that worked for just about every application I put it through. Next I worked the pedal's gain control just passed noon, voicing switch far left, and level slightly hot to help push the amp's signal even further. Without the pedal engaged the Deluxe amp pushed a sweet'n'warm vintage rock tone. With the pedal's help it was an entirely different story. The Red Eyes took the amp and converted it into a howling, riffing, hard rock machine. I dug in with some heavy blues licks, complex chords, leads, bends, and double stops. It all sounded like golden goodness. After running a handful of great tones through the 22 watter and Jazzmaster, it was time to break out the big guy - the 100 watt Super Lead. Along with this amp I also broke out my recently upgraded semi-hollow Viking. I first dialed in the Super Lead to a medium snarly overdrive and pushed the Red Eyes head first into it. The Red Eyes was set pretty high, with it's gain close to max, voicing switch in the middle, and level a bit hot to help push the tubes even hotter. The combination of the amp's natural grit, pedal's overdrive, and amount of output going into the amp, all worked together to create a giant sounding epic rock tone. The tone had plenty of harmonic richness, dynamics, and great picking response. The sound the Red Eyes creates is definitely voiced more towards the classic rock, hard rock, blues, alternative, and punk. Even when introduced to a screaming overdriven sound, the Red Eyes is capable of maintaining the amp's warm lush tone, while adding to it and making it even bigger. I found the pedal to work beautifully stacked with both tube and solid state amps. This is nice for those of us who still have a little faith in the solid state amp market, I in fact still have a great sounding solid state amp that I use for clean tones. It doesn't matter whether you use this pedal for light grit tones, as a tool to help push a clean tones, to stack up with dirt tones, or to use as your main lead or rhythm tone, it will always come through and deliver proper sound. Heavy Electronics through the few pedals has shown me that they're all about one thing and one thing only - Killer Tone! I highly recommend you guys seek out some of these boxes and run them through their paces yourselves... you'll be glad you did.


For more info on Heavy Electronics go to or click the direct link o our sidebar. We will be going down the Heavy Electronics line so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for more killer tone madness. "Bow down to the tone..."



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