By - walkingthyroid
So… I usually try not to come to r/guitarpedals too often these days as I found that obsessing over gear and pedals was just sorta getting in the way of actually playing music. Anyway, you’ve heard that whole spiel before but the point is, I try not to buy pedals anymore (especially brand new ones). I’ve found a few I really like and I stick with them.
THAT BEING SAID… I bought the special cranker as soon as I saw it yesterday.
I’ve had the OG speaker cranker for two or three years now and it is hands down my favourite overdrive of all time. I love the simplicity, I love the lighter OD sounds, I love the way it sags and crackles like a fuzz when you dime it. Despite it being a ‘transparent drive’ I found that people didn’t really give it much attention but god does it deserve it. It just oozes rock. If you push it with a fuzz or a boost the high gain sound always remind me a bit of a direct in console sound or the distortion on phil elverum albums? And the lower side is just as good. Anyway, I think it’s fantastic. It’s transparent but it also has personality. It’s simple but dynamic. Sounds good on guitar, drum machines, bass, synths, anything. The perfect overdrive in my opinion. HOWEVER, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t sometimes wish that the speaker cranker had a volume control. And that leads us to the special cranker…
This thing is really cool. The settings in the photo are about the closest I could get it to sound in comparison to my favourite position on the speaker cranker. 3 O’clock. As you can see this leaves more room for extra MORE, and WAY more room for volume. Both upsides. The germanium diodes are a really nice addition as well. Cleans it up a little. Makes it a little tamer. However I think I still prefer the silicon.
The special cranker does sound a little different though, even on the silicon side. A little more presence maybe? I can’t really put my finger on it but it is ever so slightly different. It was honestly kind of hard to tell as a) my usual guitar (j mascis jazzmaster) is in the middle of being painted so I had to use my strat and b) my amp can only go 15 minutes at the moment before it starts making loud popping noises (god I should get around to taking it for a service).
I’ve only had it for a day so I’m not making any calls but… (and this may sound silly) I’m not sure if I prefer it over the speaker cranker. Yes, the special has way more functionality and control and sounds BUT there’s something special (haha get it?) about the speaker cranker. I like that there’s only one knob and there is minimal thought process involved in using it. As soon as I turned on the special cranker however I was making minimal adjustments and focusing way too hard on the tone and all that crap. Maybe that’s a me problem but regardless, the original completely gets rid of that. I turn it on. I play.
I also prefer the look of the original but that’s not a big deal.
Who knows? Once I get my amp fixed and my guitar painted and I can take it for a proper spin it might blatantly win me over.
If you haven’t ever had a speaker cranker try the special out. It’s cheap as chips so why not? It is honestly better than the speaker cranker. I’m just perhaps a bit too sappy and sentimental.
For reference here’s my usual signal chain as of recent:
Squier J mascis jazzmaster -> earthquaker hoof -> earthquaker Westwood -> speaker cranker -> boss dm-2w -> strymon el cap -> Fender ‘65 Deluxe Reverb RI
I usually play indie rock, garage rock, artsy stuff and any sort of the variations within that general space.
Hope you’re all having a great day. Feel free to ask me anything in the comments.
So glad you love it dude. I was thinking the same thing about the plumes. If the plumes is the new tube screamer standard I can see the special cranker becoming a new top recommendation for people looking for a transparent drive. My individuality complex might suffer a little bit but I think I’ll get through it
Yeah, the west wood is my very slightly dirty boost/ eq. Not a fan of its high gain sounds at all. A little too raspy for my liking. I’ve never had the plumes myself but yeah just doesn’t seem like my cup of tea either
Yeah I’m dying to know if this would replace my Plumes. I like the Plumes to stack with my Fuzz, but it was always lacking for me when I didn’t use the Fuzz. This Cranker seems more of what I need. I can’t wait for video comparisons.
Give it a crack, it’s cheap. It’s just a different flavour of overdrive and I’ve found that it’s the most natural sounding od I’ve ever played while also stacking great with fuzz. The way it makes my hoof sag and stutter is bliss.
Fellow Westwood-er here, playing a similar setup and similar music. I’m using an Arrows + Westwood for edge-of-breakup tones and it seems like the Special Cranmer may be able to accomplish that by itself? I’m always down to try anything EQD and will probably pick this up at some point anyways given its price, but just wondering your initial thoughts on Westwood vs. Special, thanks!
I’ve got an Arrows, too, which I’ve used as an always-on for my base tone. You figure this stacks with it or?
I’m wondering if the Special Cranker can get me the tone stack of Arrows + Westwood on its own, at least for the application I use it for.
I’d say for the price it is, give it a shot. It sounds like you’re pushing the circuit of the Westwood with the arrows which I’m sure sounds great but i guess the cranker is just a different flavour in how the gain reacts. You might prefer it you might not, but hey it’s like $99 usd right?
Yep, hard to say no at that price point. EQD runs 15% off sales around certain holidays, so I’ll most likely grab one then.
Special cranker does exactly what you're doing with the Westwood and arrows, as I do the same thing but with the Westwood and a custom boost.
I now use the Westwood as my "clean" tone (tiniest tiny amount of grit) and use the special cranker for what you just described.
Hahaha thanks man, I didn’t even notice that I was my cake day until I posted
I guess it depends on what you’re going for. I’m used to the silicon cause that’s what speaker cranker uses but I reckon if you’re going for that cleaner overdrive sound the germanium side is just better at it. For me though it’s the way silicon reacts to the low end of my signal that I love, especially with p90s
This comment made me look into both the special cranker and the speaker cranker and I have to say, while I loved the special cranker at first, the speaker cranker just sounds better. Where the special cranker claims to retain your original sound, the speaker cranker actually does retain your sound. There is some low end loss with the special cranker that the speaker cranker doesn't do. Overall, it just sounds better.
The original Speaker Cranker uses germanium diodes, going by the pedalpcb clone. So silicon is actually the new addition
I ordered the Special Cranker. Although it’s a different flavor the overall vibe reminds me a lot of the Mid Fi Demo Tape Fuzz, another great one
I thought the speaker cranker used silicon?
According to the pedalpcb clone, the Speaker Cranker uses 1N60P Germanium diodes. Pedalpcb is generally very specific and accurate so I trust this is correct
I guess I'm just confused because in [this video ](https://youtu.be/VBy4hAfEL0g) around 2:25 Jamie Stillman says the special cranker has "stock silicon diodes" and then you can switch it to germanium. I thought that implied the speaker cranker was silicon.
I don’t know, but when pedalpcb opened up a Speaker Cranker to trace the circuit they apparently found germanium 🤷♂️
I've never owned a EQD pedal before but I think I might have to. The videos I've seen of this thing turned all the way up give me queens of the stone age vibes.
Get that amp checked out soon. Sounds like a possible filter cap issue and maybe even something bad going on in your power section.
Yeah for real, don't mess around with tube amps when they start making weird noises. If you wait until something (agree probably the electrolytics) blows up it can take other things with it and end up costing way more to fix.
Excited about your NPD, and love your write up, but the upvote is also for the Volca Beats!!
Such a great little drum machine. I’ve had it for a while now but I only just found out the other day that you can sync the stutter rate to subdivisions of the tempo by holding the function button. So cool
If you ever get the time, could you grab a pic of the circuit board please?
I’ll take a picture and send it through to you now
Last thing I need is more boost/OD, but this has me super intrigued. Never got to try the Speaker Cranker, but the Special may change that.
Wish they'd kept the color scheme of the old one though. Don't love this peachy orange thing that's going on. At least we have about 15 alternative colorways to look forward to if history is any indication.
>Last thing I need is more boost/OD, but this has me super intrigued.
Same, I have a westwood and plumes already, but that fuzzy saggy sound the Special Cranker gets is really calling to me😬
Price is phenomenal, as well. They must have made a killing on the Plumes. Really found themselves a nice pocket in the market with these quality drives at solid prices.
Kind of an interesting conversation about the sales of the Plumes:
too long;didn't watch: As of 2020 when that video was made, Jamie says the Plumes came out last year and have sold over 10,000. The Hoof, the first pedal they've ever made had sold 12,000 at the time of that video. Then another data point, the Avalanche Run had been out for 5 years and had sold 15,000 (this one surprised me).
That's wild. I assumed it had done well but almost outselling their entire catalog in just a couple years? The Hoof especially is surprising. That feels like such an accessible/wonderful fuzz and with the longevity alone I would have thought it would be far and away their top seller.
Reminds me I've been meaning to get a Hoof again. EQD really does know dirt.
Ordered one as soon as I saw it, too. I sort of share your sentiments, I much prefer the paint job on the original and think the tone control (and even the ge diode to an extent) are a little superfluous. I bought and sold 3 speaker Cranker’s because they were just too loud, though I loved the sound so much, been saying they should put a volume knob on it for years. Regardless, I’m really excited to try out the special. We’ll see how it compares to my Box of Rock which I’ve been loving lately. If it was me, though, I would’ve just kept the original format and put a volume knob on it. Call it the Speaker Cranker V3 or something. Perhaps that’s a project for a later date when I get more into building/modding pedals. Cheers, man!
I’m kind of thinking the same thing man. I’ve seen the volume knob mod done before so I’d be keen to try it out. I’m pretty crap at electronics though so maybe not haha
Hope you are not going to burn that book.
I would never
Does it sound clean at the lowest 'more' setting, or more of a dirty boost? Or does it clean up at all with the guitar's volume? I'm wondering if I could use it as an always on.
I’d say it’s more like a dirty boost at its lowest settings
How does it sound stacked with the Westwood? I’m tempted to grab one as a second gain stage but wasn’t sure how well they compliment each other.
For me the speaker cranker sounds fantastic paired with just about anything, especially if you’re giving it a bit of a volume boost before it. For me I like to either boost the bass on the Westwood to emphasise the cranker’s fuzzy sound or cut the bass back to clean it up a bit. I guess the idea is the cranker is the base and then the Westwood modifies it
I might have to take the plunge. Thank you for the advice!
Do you think it's worth to sell my Speaker Cranker in order to get the new Special?
Also, nice username. Can the Special Cranker do IDLES?
That base overdriven sound they have? I’d say so, easily. That being said, their pedalboards are insane. I know Lee has something like 5 or 6 dirt pedals all for gain staging on top of all the other weird shit he has. Mark is the same. So I guess if you want the full pallet of the idles sound you’re gonna need a lot more than a dirt pedal. But really it seems that their philosophy is to make weird unique sounds with what you have so yeah. I mean I’m probably not gonna sell my speaker cranker but if you’re not overly attached to it like me than yeah sell it and get the new one. It’s an obvious improvement.
Thanks! Yeah I've seen their rig rundown, impressive boards
Have you ever tried the Acapulco Gold? Seems similar.
I’ve always had an eye on it but I’ve never been a doom guy. It does look pretty sick though. I had the erupter for a while and I absolutely loved the sound of that thing. However the volume jump in this case was too dramatic for me to keep it.
I’d love to know the difference between the Westwood, which I’m rocking now, and the Special Cranker
I love the Westwood for its eq, and it’s light dirt sounds. While I usually have my speaker cranker set a very obvious in your face overdrive I prefer the Westwood as a more subtle thing to provide some shaping and colour. As I said to another comment I don’t like the Westwood for its higher gain sounds as I think it sounds too raspy. instead I use it more to modify the sound of the speaker cranker. Add more bass to make it sound fuzzier, cut the bass back to clean it up a bit, boost the volume to push it. You get the idea. I think a lot of people love the Westwood across its entire gain range but to me something like the speaker cranker just sounds more organic. The Westwood sounds like an overdrive pedal and the crankers sound like a dimed fender tweed amp. They stack great and if you love the Westwood sound the cranker could add that extra oomph when you need it but for me the Westwood enchanted the speaker cranker’s sound
Sweet, good to know. That’s the thing about EQD drives, they all seems designed to stack well together. I’ve had a bunch of different ones and it’s been true. I was jamming last night with my current set up (Black Ash > Westwood) and It was glorious
God I want a black ash. That would’ve sounded so sick
It’s awesome and I’m lucky I got one for normal value. Is it worth the prices they’re at now? Nothing is, really, but if you can get yours hands on one at a reasonable price, do it!
I've been super tempted to get the Special Cranker since it came out.
My drive section consists of Westwood -> Hot Cake -> Hoof. I also have an always on preamp for a better clean tone earlier in the chain.
I'm thinking of swapping out the Westwood for the Special Cranker for what I would consider the first light overdrive stage. Do you think given the chain and application it may be a better fit that the Westwood? Do you find the Special Cranker to outshine the Westwood?
It could also be cool to have an all EQD drive section but it's hard to get rid of the Hot Cake!