The Walrus Audio Voyager is at first glance another 3-knob analog Overdrive pedal built into a painted Hammond case. Boutique makers are hand-building pedals like this all the time. Like many Overdrive pedals, The Voyager features only a Volume, a Tone, and a Gain knob. But the myriad of capabilities in the Voyager are revealed throughout the range of its controls, showing it to be a treble booster, distortion, clean boost, and overdrive pedal all in one. I've personally never encountered a pedal that did so much, yet had no mode or boost switches anywhere on it.
The housing is solid, featuring a heavy-duty Carling 3PDT Footswitch, super bright white LED, and a slightly recessed 9V adapter jack.
The Voyager couldn't be simpler to implement into one's pedalboard, as it's very small, and simple to operate. The input and output jacks are solid and of good quality. The pots are high friction and feel nice and solid, yet smooth with their taper.
The pedal's bottom is thoughtfully(conveniently) left bare, ideal for attaching velcro for fixture to your pedalboard. There is not battery compartment, however, so changing batteries requires a screwdriver and a few minutes of time.
A quick peek inside reveals a circuit that, to the informed eye, borrows very heavily from one of the most infamous (and expensive) boutique overdrive pedals every conceived. If that is indeed the case, it's great to see the design brought down to a more realistic price point.
With the Gain and Tone set conservatively, the Voyager serves as a clean boost, giving you the tone you're already getting from your amp, only more of it.
Upping the Gain pushes the Voyager into overdrive territory, delivering smooth, woody overdrive character without coloring your amp's tone. Upping the tone control at this point adds shimmering topend harmonics, reminiscent of some of Brian May's most memorable solos.
From here, things can only go up. Cranking the Gain launches the Voyager into the distortion stratosphere, with molten saturation, upper midrange grind, and searing harmonic content. All while, once again, maintaining the basic tone of your setup.
In most cases, cranking the tone knob can render a tone that's too bright, but for those with a dark amp, this might not be a bad thing.
The volume control is responsive, and wholly capable. This pedal can pack a punch!
The Walrus Audio Voyager is more than an overdrive pedal. It's a tool for expression for those daring and capable enough to utilize it to its full potential.
What's more, the Voyager is Boutique-quality without being Boutique-priced. I've tried many overdrives, and they all have their pros and cons, but very, very few offer the transparency, raw versatility and inspiring touch response of the Voyager.
I would highly recommend any guitar player who is a fan of overdrives to give the Voyager a test launch.