Satellite Amplifiers produces some pretty sweet sounding rigs. But amps can be kind of expensive, and they tend to take up a lot of space when compared with, say, a stompbox. Fortunately, the company has introduced the Eradicator, a tube-based preamp in pedal form. It’s perfect for the person who wants the excellent Satellite tube tone, yet who already owns a decent amp. Heck, even Satellite amp users who simply can’t get enough of that warm, warm tone would probably love it.
The Eradicator’s shape is one of the more distinct among the pedals I’ve reviewed. It looks like a cross between an industrial power supply and a steel doorstop. It’s like something that could have emerged from a machine shop in the early '60s, back when things were built to last.
I will go on record right now to say that I believe this pedal is among the sturdiest I’ve encountered. Although my editors won’t allow me to do it, I expect that the Eliminator would survive being driven over by a mid-range sedan or a light-to-medium duty pickup truck. Of course, to do such a thing would be a shame, because the Eradicator is better suited to produce excellent distortion and ear-charming tone. Oh, and this thing is loud.
Perhaps the pedal is exceptionally loud because it’s modeled after the preamplifiers in Satellite’s amps. That means that although the Eradicator requires only nine volts of power (sorry, no batteries allowed here), the rectifying tube produces 300 volts of direct current. There’s no need to fear its power, though. It’s meant to fit right into a standard pedal chain.
As for its tone, I liked the way the Eradicator sounds. I was really impressed, and I mean that in a good way. At the lower gain levels, the Eradicator mainly acts like a filter. I can boost or cut the high end for a lot or a little shimmer, but I heard very little in the way of added color. Surprisingly, even at low gain levels, the Volume knob could be turned down and the pedal would still pump out a lot of sound. At progressively higher gain levels, the Eradicator became extremely loud. High gain produced a pleasingly thick, compressed tone which sounded balanced (not too much low or high end) and rich.
The Eradicator’s distortion reminded me more of classic British overdrive in the Marshall or Vox style than it did of Fender-style overdrive. The distorted tone seemed “round,” which is about the best way I can think of describing the sound quality, cello-like at times, and more noticeably compressed when I applied the high-pass filter for some shimmer.
Satellite bills the pedal as capable of metal-style overdrive, and I could hear what they meant by that, but just keep in mind that the Eradicator is not necessarily the pedal for “xtreme” sustain and “wicked sick” thick distortion. I’d say that the Eradicator is more sophisticated than that, and more subtle—and I mean that in a good way. Think “metal” as in Black Sabbath, not Yngwie Malmsteen.
So, if you’re looking to begin building your next amp piece-by-piece (a la Johnny Cash and his Cadillac in “One Piece at a Time”), and would like to start with the preamp, or if you already own a Satellite amp and can’t get enough of its warm tone, you’d be wise to investigate Satellite’s new Eradicator. After hearing it, you might decide to eradicate similar pedals from your list of potential purchases.
What We Like: Excellent mid- and high-gain distortion with plenty of crunch and classic character; the pedal is built to last any bombardment.