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Electro-Harmonix Ripped Speaker Review

A versatile fuzz inspired by the legendarily damaged tones of Link Wray, Ike Turner, and Grady Martin.

Wide range of tones. Unique fuzz tones. Easy to control. Very responsive to picking dynamics and other effects.

Bias and tone controls would benefit from detents.


Electro-Harmonix Ripped Speaker


The idea of broken gear can be triggering to many folks, but many of us think that some amps sound best in the moments just before they kick the bucket. The EHX Ripped Speaker successfully captures that sound—without the panic and desperation that normally follow. And just as a malfunctioning amp can go unnoticed or totally change your vibe, the Ripped Speaker runs the gamut from subtle to blown out.

The pedal’s rip knob, which is the bias control, is the secret to the most damaged sounds. With a moderate amount of fuzz, the EHX creates the buzzy spurts and sputters that we associate with broken gear, from Link Wray’s punctured speaker cones to the sounds of dying tubes and batteries. The Ripped Speaker is capable of much more though. With the bias control at a neutral setting, scanning the range of the tone knob with various doses of fuzz provides everything from spiky Fuzzrite-style distortion to warm, bluesy tones. Cranking the bias control not only evokes broken gear but also saturated gated-fuzz mayhem that the weirdest noise freaks will be stoked about.

Recorded using a Creston JM-style through a 1949 Fender Deluxe miked with a Shure SM57 through an SSL 2+ into Logic.

  1. Middle pickup position. Tone at 2 o’clock, fuzz at 9 o’clock, rip at 9 o’clock, noon, and 3 o’clock.
  2. Neck pickup. Tone at 2 o’clock, fuzz at noon, rip at 9 o’clock, noon, and 3 o’clock.
  3. Bridge pickup. Tone at 2 o’clock, fuzz at 5 o’clock, rip at 9 o’clock, noon, and 3 o’clock.
  4. Neck pickup. Tone at 9 o’clock, fuzz at 5 o’clock, rip at 2 o’clock.

The Ripped Speaker is responsive to pedals placed before it, and I had a blast stacking it after an overdrive and a phaser, both of which pushed the pedal to greater extremes. And while it’s easy to control and operate, the hottest sounds will keep you on your toes.

Test Gear: Creston JM-style, Gibson SG Special, Fender Tweed Deluxe