Keeping the two-is-better-than-one mantra going, Darkglass Electronics’ Alpha·Omicron is a somewhat scaled-back version of the company’s Alpha·Omega preamp released last year. It’s essentially the same engine, with its two separate distortion circuits, but the new pedal offers a smaller footprint and $100 off the original’s price tag. The 3-band EQ and additional outputs found on its big brother aren’t part of the package, but this rugged yet sleek and sexy enclosure can cover a ton of territory on the bass-dirt landscape.
The layout is simple, with the usual suspects of drive, level, and wet/dry blend dials. And the mod dial is central control for sweeping between the alpha distortion’s darker and defined sound and the omega distortion for gnawing and raw tones, or blending the two circuits to taste. Push buttons for growl and bite add some EQ control by providing a bass boost and high-mid boost. The controls made easy work of dialing in top-to-bottom distortion sounds, and I didn’t come across anything unpleasant (in a bad way). The aggressive nature of the omega circuit serves up a howling buzz saw when the saturation is pushed, but doesn’t sound like an angry slopfest of noise for noise’s sake, and man can it grind. Meanwhile, I was drawn more to the warmer nature of the alpha circuit. It has punch, quite a bit more sophistication, and a fuzzy depth that was accentuated nicely by engaging the growl push button to fatten it up even more. Mix as you see fit, and you have a distortion party at your feet with tone attendees of all creeds and colors.
Test gear: Orange O Bass, Fender Precision, Gallien-Krueger 800RB, Orange OBC212, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
*Recorded direct using Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface into GarageBand.
Clip 1 - blend 2 o’clock, mod @ full alpha, level 1 o’clock, drive 3 o’clock, growl engaged.
Clip 2 - blend 2 o’clock, mod @ full omega, level 1 o’clock, drive 3 o’clock, growl engaged.
Clip 3 - blend 2 o’clock, mod @ 50.50 blend (noon), level 1 o’clock, drive 3 o’clock, growl engaged, bite engaged.