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Gamechanger Audio Plasma Rack

Distortion Processor By Matt Houghton

Gamechanger Audio Plasma Rack

With more control and functionality than the Plasma pedal that preceded it, is this box the new king of controllable carnage?

Gamechanger Audio's Plasma pedal, reviewed in SOS February 2019 ( is a unique, love-or-hate-it fuzz-like distortion, which adds lots of harmonics courtesy of a very high-voltage xenon discharge tube. It's a peculiarly aggressive, crunchy, fizzy, spluttery distortion that I love: an addictively disruptive effect, with potential applications in various genres. However, pedals aren't the most convenient format for me, so when I learned of the new 1U rackmount Plasma Rack, which includes a host of studio-friendly features, I had to check it out.

The Plasma Rack's I/O options mean it should appeal to musicians, sound designers and mix engineers. Unbalanced TS instrument and balanced combo XLR line inputs (the latter with a switchable 20dB pad) are joined by balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (TS jack) line outs. Between these, on the rear, are three TS-jack pairs for unbalanced insert loops, each at a different point in the signal path. A button sets these (globally) to operate at instrument or line level, so studio outboard or guitar pedals can be used. There are also MIDI In, Out and Thru ports, and a TRS jack expression pedal input. Power arrives through an IEC inlet with on-off switch, and there's also a standby mode, switched from the front panel.

A wealth of connectivity caters for instruments and line sources, stompbox and studio insert effects, as well as MIDI control/sync.A wealth of connectivity caters for instruments and line sources, stompbox and studio insert effects, as well as MIDI control/sync.

Starting Out

The front panel can seem bewildering at first, not because of poor design (it's very well thought out), but because the controls interact with each other. So dive-right-in, ignore-the-manual types willl need to break their habit: read the user guide, check out the...

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Published May 2020