Way Huge’s Pork Loin by Jim Dunlop: more overdriven valve classic than cascading gain metal monster
With Volume, Overdrive and Tone controls the Pork Loin looks like any number of other overdrives – but appearances can be deceptive. This pedal has two distinct audio paths that are blended together to create the pedal’s distinctive character. On one side there a modern soft-clipping BiFET overdrive with an HPF Tone control and a mini Curve function to fine-tune the ‘corner’ frequencies; the other side is a modified ‘British style’ clean preamp that blends with the overdrive via the Clean control.
Inside, three controls provide even more adjustability. Filter changes the clean preamp’s tonal spectrum, Presence alters the high frequency response of the overdrive, and Drive Mix sets the balance of clean and overdrive.
This pedal is about subtle tweaking rather than heavy overdrive. To get your head around it, flip off the back, turn off the overdrive section, and set the Filter to optimise the clean tone. It’s a near-transparent boost, but you can add plenty of zingy treble if you prefer.
Turn Clean fully off, then crank up Drive Mix to hear the overdrive alone. The tone is fairly neutral and it’s more ‘overdriven valve classic’ than ‘cascading gain metal monster’. From there you fine-tune the Presence and Tone controls to achieve the right balance for your guitar and amp.
With internal controls that allow all manner of fine adjustments, the Pork Loin is all about balancing the compressed grunt of the overdrive with the dynamic transparency of the clean side. You can roll off the overdrive’s high frequency content and blend in some shimmery clean for sweet but well defined driven tones, or use the clean side to push the front end of your amp and bolster sustain and thickness with a hint of overdrive.
It looks and sounds like regular pedals, but the degree of tone shaping is more on a par with digital modellers and multiple gain stage tube amps. The Way Huge collection pedals can generate a huge range of sounds, and the fine degree of control over gain structure and frequency response would make them equally adept in the studio or on the stage.