EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath Otherworldly Reverberation Machine V3
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Overview

There are plenty of reverb pedals out there, but none quite like the EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath. Somewhere in between an ethereal, cavernous reverb and ensconcing swarm of delay, the Afterneath opens up sounds literally never heard before while maintaining a familiar, if haunting, feel.

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Product Specs

Brand
Model
  • Afterneath Otherworldly Reverberation Machine
Finish
  • Black
Year
  • 2010s
Made In
  • United States

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More Information

With all the fervor around creating improved reissues of classic effects, such as Catalinbread Echorec, there haven't been many effects pedals lately that genuinely do something original. The EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath has caused a stir because it is undeniably original, bringing us back to the early days of effects when new sounds were being discovered that we weren't sure what do with yet. Technically a reverb pedal, it achieves the effect by cascading what sounds like thousands of micro-delays that can be stretched, dragged and dampened to create various atmospheric textures.

The result is an incredibly deep, organic sounding reverb with trailing oscillation that sounds as if a group of drummers were using mallets to roll on a metal pipe or glass bottle tuned to your note. On paper this sounds more like a distraction, unwanted artifacts tagged onto an otherwise pure reverb sound. But once you hear it, you instantly realize there is potential. Once you play it, you will become obsessed with finding the edges of the Afterneath's sound, playing your old standby phrases first and then reaching deeper and deeper as the pedal encourages you to create.

A Six-Knob Reverb

Yes, there's a lot going on here, so you need a knob for each parameter. Let's take a look at what each knob does:

  • Length: Controls the decay of the reverb
  • Diffuse: Our favorite knob. Controls whether you get a sharp attack (left) or an ambient wash (right).
  • Dampen: Similar to the tone knob on most pedals. Controls brightness or darkness.
  • Drag: A knob you can only have on a pedal like this. Since the reverb is actually many microdelays, this controls the spacing between them. Turn left to hear the individual delays, turn right to drag them together into reverb. Beware of warp drive sounds, or use them.
  • Reflect: Controls how much the reverb regenerates. Self-oscillating wash to the right, less regeneration to the left.
  • Mix: Wet/dry blend. You cannot get full wet, but it sounds darn close.

  • How does this compare to other recent digital reverbs, such as the Red Panda Context or the Walrus Audio Descent?

    It doesn't. While most digital reverbs like the Context use digital technology to simulate classic reverb settings and stretch cathedral and cavernous reverb into infinite ambience, none use the cascading micro-delay to the same effect that the Afterneath does. The Descent adds harmonic artifacts for a shimmer, but shimmer the Afterneath does not. If there was a word, the Afterneath might rattle, in the best way possible.

    What kind of music is this for? It sounds awfully impractical for country or blues.

    This pedal is not for players who are looking to recreate sounds of the past. Genre-bending novel creation is this pedal's strike zone, though it would feel at home as part of some current artists' rigs, such as Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky, Tame Impala or Bjork. We like to think that part of the appeal of the EarthQuaker Devices Aferneath is that we're not sure what it's for. We just know that we want one.