Gamechanger Audio made its name with the Plus Pedal, a sustain pedal that promised to redefine the guitar.
Its next creation, the Plasma, comes riding on an even greater wave of excitement. It legitimately boasts a distortion sound never before available to guitarists, namely clipping caused by high-voltage discharges as the guitar signal is fed through a tube of xenon gas.
Frankly, it looks spectacular, and we found ourselves giggling with joy on first plugging it in. But, more importantly, does it actually sound good?
Well, it’s certainly different. The core distortion sound is spiky, and has a static-like timbre to it, which makes sense, given the provenance of the clipping. The distortion is controlled via changing the input voltage and clean blend, but the night and day difference between the clean guitar signal and the Plasma signal leaves this somewhat tricky to dial in. With an ’89 Les Paul Classic into a dirty tube amp, the pedal came alive, with some amp compression helping to glue the distorted and clean guitar tones together.
Switching to the neck pickup required adjustment with the Low Freq knob, but there’s a pretty decent sweet spot with the guitar tone pulled back. So it proves with a Jazzmaster, where the darker guitar rhythm circuit proves compelling. The sweet spot between ‘brittle’ and ‘muddy’ is often difficult to find on the Gamechanger, however.