Walrus Audio Iron Horse V3: What is it?
Here’s a little riddle: When is a Rat not a Rat? When it’s a horse, an Iron Horse to be precise. And once you learn that there is an LM308 chip under the hood in this Walrus Audio distortion pedal, which is now in its third version, then it’s quite clear what sort of sounds you are in for.
Or is it? After all, there are so many Rat variants, stompboxes inspired by but not clones of the famous Pro Co black box.
Walrus Audio’s Iron Horse has evolved in recent years but this third edition offers the tantalising prospect of a variable silicon/LED knob that lets you blend the two different clipping configurations. It’s a nice variation on a toggle switch and presents the Iron Horse as something a little different.
Elsewhere, you’ve got controls for Level, Tone and Distortion, and, as is seemingly the house style for Walrus Audio, the jacks are mounted on the top of the pedal and soft-relay switching tops off a classy build. The Iron Horse is true bypass and takes a 9V DC power supply.
Walrus Audio Iron Horse V3: Performance and verdict
Despite the classy build, it’s the call of the wild that attracts us to the Iron Horse. Like the Rat that inspired it, this is a distortion pedal that can get good and feral as the distortion is cranked up, and this fire-breathing is complemented by a tone control that has plenty of travel on it.
The Tone dial, allied to the range of gain on tap, makes the Iron Horse a versatile and usable distortion pedal that can be marketed as a high-gain distortion and yet find itself useful at lower gain levels, adding heat and a little bite, or even just as a boost when you have that gain knob pulled all the way back.
• Pro Co Lil' Rat
Crowded pedalboard or not, there’s always room for a Rat, more so when it’s a little micro-sized guy like this. And for the money, you can’t go wrong.
• Jam Rattler
It might be a RAT-inspired pedal, but the Rattler proves itself to be a distortion for most occasions.
It’s remarkable how much you can change its sound via the Tone control. It can be piercing and bright, all treble and presence, or it can give you some low-end vroom that would pair nicely with drop D tuning and riff adventures in the Seattle sound.
The Si/LED clipping knob extends its uses further. Hitherto, a three-way toggle selected the Iron Horse’s clipping options. This way you have access to some interesting in-between sounds.
You might have to fine-tune your controls level if travelling from one extreme to the other, as the pedal reacts a little differently depending on the clipping. On the silicon end of things, you have compressed, harmonically rich distortion, with LED clipping offering a more open sound, and ample opportunity to make your electric guitar sound like hell with the lid off. Lovely stuff.
MusicRadar: With a silicon/LED clipping blend control and an array of useful and often feral gain tones, the Iron Horse v3 might well win by a nose in the battle of the Rat-inspired distortions.
Walrus Audio Iron Horse V3: The web says
“The gain range is very versatile, taking you from a tonally targeted clean boost right through to full-on distortion. Coordinated adjustment of the Level knob is needed when setting the Si/LED blend – the LED end of things is louder and looser compared with the silicon, which is quieter with more compression and capable of thick saturation that can take off nicely into harmonics.”
Walrus Audio Iron Horse V3: Hands-on demos
Walrus Audio Iron Horse V3: Specifications
- ORIGIN: USA
- TYPE: Distortion pedal
- FEATURES: True bypass
- CONTROLS: Level, Tone, Distortion, Silicon/LED clipping knob, Bypass footswitch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
- POWER: 9V DC adaptor (not supplied)
- DIMENSIONS: 67 (w) x 125 (d) x 57mm (h)
- CONTACT: Walrus Audio