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Walrus Audio - ACS1

Fri Mar 26 2021
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Disclaimer: This should be considered paid promotion. Walrus Audio sent me this pedal for free.

The ACS1, the amp and cabinet simulator from Walrus Audio's Mako series makes home recording and silent stage setups a breeze. It's aim is to be the center piece of your bedroom rig.

If you're familiar with my recording setup, you know that amp/cab simulation is a topic dear to my heart. I'm on this endless quest to find the best silent setup for not crazy money.

The sonic range of the ACS1 lies in between crystal clean and edge of breakup. Just like the Strymon Iridium, it offers 3 different amp models:

The Fullerton models a Fender® Deluxe Reverb. It can go from sparkling to thumping clean.

The London is supposed to sound like a 1962 Marshall® Bluesbreaker. From all 3 models, this has the most gain. For my single coil pickup, this means just a bit over the edge of breakup with the gain dimed.

The Dartford is inspired by a 1960s Vox® AC30. It has that classic chime and for my playing feels the most comfortalbe. This also can get a little crunchy.

All of the models take some convincing to go into overdrive, but are very dynamic and react well to harder and softer pick attack.

The Room knob controls the amount of room reverb, from dry to wet. This is great for mixing and making the signal feel more lively, but it's not designed for anything seriously ambient. If you want that, try something like their Slö.

You can choose between 6 different cabinet models, all based on modern IR (Impulse Response) technology. Walrus designed them to suit the different amp models well. So cabinet A is designed to sound best with the Fullerton amp, B for London and C for Dartford. But of course you can mix and match as you like. The first 3 cabs are modelled after closed back cabs, the second batch of cabs are open backs and accesible by holding down the bypass switch and flipping the toggle simultaneously.

A unique feature is the ability to have two different amps panned left and right. This is great for wet/dry setups, recording unique tones or getting huge three-dimensional sounds by mixing settings that complement each other well.

In the demo above, both amps have exactly the same settings, paired with their respective "best" matching cabinet.

There are more features like the Boost (more gain/volume), 3 presets (128 via MIDI), separate stereo ins and outs and the ability to load your own custom IRs.

Verdict

It sounds spectacularly good. With the clean settings, I instantly had to channel my inner Frusciante through this. I especially like combining the more boxy but creamy sounding London with the chime of the Dartford.

I don't know if this sounds exactly like the original amps that the models are inspired by. But it just sounds good. And if it sounds good, it is good.

Signal Chain

  • K'mo Memphis Std. (T-style neck pickup)
  • ACS1
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
  • GarageBand

Links

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