Earthquaker Devices Afterneath

  • By Phillip Dodge @tonereport
  • September 29, 2014

This pedal has a picture of a wizard silk-screened on the front. What, that's not reason enough for you to buy it? Good, you passed the test. Now follow the wizard inside the cave and learn what lurks Afterneath.

The Afterneath is a reverb pedal. But not like many reverbs you've heard before. It's not a plate, not a spring, and not a "shimmer." It's mind-bending, slightly confusing, and totally awesome. EQD calls the Afterneath an “otherworldly reverberator,” and that’s as fair of a description as I can think of.

Built around a “swarm” of short echoes, the Afterneath blurs the line between reverb and echo. It’s also one of those pedals that takes a while to get the hang of. But don’t worry, once you figure it out, it starts to make sense. It reminds me of the Z. Vex Fuzz Factory in that the knobs are labeled more for how they impact the sound than what they are doing in the actual circuit.

For example, Drag could be more accurately labeled delay time (although wired in reverse to most delay pedals). But when you play the Afterneath and begin to manipulate the Drag control, you can feel you guitar dragging through the space-time continuum. Fully clockwise, you have a fast reverberation with the delays echoing and blurring into each other in rapid succession. As you turn counter-clockwise, the repeats begin to separate into their own distinct repeats. But they don’t have the consistent spacing of a delay pedal. Instead, they ebb and flow—some coming quickly, some taking their time. Imagine a chamber with a multitude of reflective surfaces and hearing the reverberation off each of those surfaces. That’s the sound of the Afterneath.

The Reflect knob is another example of a knob labeled for sound rather than function. On a more traditional pedal, Reflect could be labeled “feedback,” as it controls the regeneration of the signal being fed back through the reverb engine. But within the Afterneath, you can imagine it adding additional reflective surfaces for your guitar tone to bounce off. At extreme settings of the Reflect knob, the Afterneath begins to freak out into runaway oscillation.  

The coolest features (and sounds) of the Afterneath come courtesy of the Drag and Reflect, but there is more to it than that—four more knobs to be exact. Length is easy to decipher; it controls decay and it runs from short to insanely long. At the longest settings, the Afterneath can act almost like a synth pad under your playing. Mix is another easy one; it controls the mix between the all analog dry signal and the digital reverb signal. Anywhere above noon, the reverb signal is louder than the dry signal. The Afterneath won’t do a fully wet signal, but extreme settings of the Mix knob get close.

The last two knobs to consider are Diffuse and Dampen, two more oddly named controls. Dampen is relatively easy: it behaves like a tone control (counter-clockwise is darker and clockwise is brighter). The darker the tone, the more the Afterneath appears to sit under your guitar in the mix. The brighter settings have the effect of bringing the reverberation more forward in the mix and of adding emphasis to the attack of the individual echoes.

Finally, we have Diffuse. Diffuse is very interactive with Dampen as turning it counter-clockwise further increases the attack of the echoes while blending the individual repeats together as you turn it clockwise.

All of this is to say that the Afterneath is an extremely versatile reverb pedal—it’s not just another spring or plate reverb. It’s capable of sounds that I’ve never before created or heard; some of them were tame, some of them were crazy. Take the time to sit down and get to know the Afterneath. You might get lost in it for a few hours (or days), but you will almost definitely come away impressed and inspired.

What we like: The Afterneath is versatile and offers sounds you’ve never heard before. You find original sounds and inspiration every time you plug it in.

Concerns: Option overload. With six controls and so much versatility, it can be difficult to dial in the same exact tone twice. I recommend taking notes or using your phone or camera to capture settings you really like.

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