Pedal Review: Earthquaker Devices The Warden

June 20, 2013

Review by Ian Garrett

The Pedal:  EarthQuaker Devices The Warden
The Point:  Optical Compressor
The Damage:  $195
Find the Warden at

I’m a fan of EarthQuaker Devices (EQD) pedals, and have used a couple of them over the years. I love that their “devices” are handmade “with sweet loving care” in Akron.  Fairly new to their arsenal – The Warden is a studio grade optical compressor.  Like most compressors, The Warden should be placed first in your chain to be most effective.  I appreciate how both the 9v power supply input, as well as the input/outputs for the pedal, are all placed on the top of the pedal, resulting in The Warden taking up a scant 2 ½ inches of pedal board real estate.

What You Hear and Don’t Hear

Compressors can be a difficult pedal to figure what they do.  Essentially its main purpose is to “compress” the audio signal’s dynamic range.  In other words, it reduces passages that are too loud or amplifies quiet sounds.  A compressor’s job is to make all notes sound fairly equal - nothing stands out too much - while preventing other notes from getting lost. It’s the one pedal that tries to “level the playing field,” so to speak.

It’s often described that compressors “squish” your tone, which to me isn’t all that appealing. Why would I want this?  Obviously there are different levels of “squish” from very subtle to quite noticeable.  The Warden, in my opinion, falls into the first category, even when set fairly high.   For those wanting more squish, a Ross style compressor might be more to your liking.

The Anti-Compressor

I like the way optical compressors sound, especially this one. The Warden is appealing because it doesn’t seem so compressor-like.  Instead it takes your notes and makes everything sound better. Notes ring out clearer, fuller, and with more authority.  You don’t really notice that the dynamics have changed much because everything sounds so alive.  The compression effect is there, it’s just not in your face.   The dynamics are controlled, yet the tone is still natural feeling. 

Perhaps the best feature of The Warden is that it provides added sustain while adding a touch of compression. The Warden will color your tone some, but not in a bad way, while giving you additional control. The tone control is for treble - turn it clockwise to increase treble (without adding white noise, yeah!) or dial it back for less bite – which curiously seems to bring out the compressed effect a little more. Around 11 o’clock is neutral.  The level control adds a nice volume boost should you want it.  The Sustain knob has the greatest overall impact. Moving it clockwise adds more sustain as you would expect – the low end of your sound blooms forward , not quite like a bass boost but in that realm. Dial it back if you want less of the effect.  I liked it best turned up around three o’clock.

Lastly, there are three other controls that need clarification. Ratio, Attack, and Release are all “secondary” controls in fine- tuning the compressor, and I found their effect to be fairly unassuming.  At times I did wonder what the point was - but better to have that control than not have it.  All three controls interact with one another, but you can quickly dial in what you like and just leave it.
• Ratio: Determines how much gain reduction affects the signal. All the way up is full compression - reduce it by turning it counter-clockwise. I tended to keep it around noon.
• Attack: Controls how quickly the compressor reacts to leveling out the signal. Set at the counter clockwise position you get a fast, immediate reaction, whereas clockwise slows down the reaction time. Again, around noon worked fine for me.
• Release: Controls how long it takes the signal to rise back to the level determined by the sustain and ratio settings. Counter clockwise is a fast release that will slow some as you turn it clockwise.  

Final Thoughts:

You might quickly find that this pedal becomes one of those “always on” pedals. If you like its effect, as I did, you may find there’s no need to ever turn it off. It adds that needed sustain and clarity to let your notes ring out, while helping you control the dynamics, yet it doesn’t “take over” either. The Warden is one of those pedals you didn’t know you needed, until you’ve spent some time with it and find it’s indispensable.


Rating:  4.0

5 – Tremendous product; among the very best
4 – Great value overall; exceeds expectations
3 – Definite contender, but look closely at the competition too
2 – Average at best; probably better choices exist
1 – Not ready for prime time


  1. Fred says:

    How does it compare with the Keeley 4-knob?

    posted on June 20, 2013 at 11:03 pm
  2. Ian says:

    Hi Fred,
    I have not used the Keeley, so I can’t comment on it. I have more recently owned the Mad Professor Forest Green Compressor which I liked a lot too - had it for several years. That one had the option of being more of a sustainer or a compressor, and seemed to be able to compress/squish the notes more, if you wanted that. I personally don’t. The other one that seems to be in the same camp and gets tons of praise is the Diamond Compressor. I haven’t used it, but it would be on my short list. But the Warden is great, I won’t be happy when I have to return this little gem. Having the in/outs/9v outlet all on the back of the pedal is great for saving a little room on the pedal board too.

    posted on June 21, 2013 at 4:57 am
  3. Mister Vertigo Musik says:

    Hi Ian,
    So you like the Tone @ 11 o’clock
    Sustain @ 3
    Level depends on the volume one wants obvo
    Ratio @ noon
    Attack @ noon
    What about the ‘Release’ control?
    I just ordered on from EQD so I loved this review for some good places to start :)

    Matthew (guitarist & songwriter @ Mister Vertigo Musik)

    posted on June 21, 2013 at 8:31 pm
  4. Ian says:

    Hi Matthew,
    I think the release can be about noon too. Really the Ratio, Attack and Release seemed to be more fine tuning controls to me. Now maybe if you’re playing with a lot of volume you may hear these nuances more. In my little controlled environment it was less noticeable. The sustain control does the most, with the volume and tone making key differences too. It’s a great compressor though, for both as a more subtle compressor but also as a boost pedal too, it can drive your dirt pedals a little bit too which can be helpful as well.

    posted on June 22, 2013 at 3:55 am
  5. Stephen says:

    Hi Ian,

    Thanks for the thorough review and your followup on comments. I’m curious whether you’ve compared the Warden to Effectrode’s optical compressor? Any comparisions to share or other info?

    All the best,

    posted on June 22, 2013 at 11:08 am
  6. Ian says:

    Hi Stephen,
    I have not tried the Effectrode. They make great stuff though for sure. A bit pricier than the Warden though.  If I were you (and you have enough credit card limit!) is to try out 2-4 of your top compressors from PGS, and do a shoot out - keep the one you like best, and return the others.

    I’ve used a few lower end compressors, one thing I hate is the noise some will add to your signal, especially when used with other dirt pedals. Cheaper components = more noise, most of the time. Diamond, Mad Prof, CMATMODS, Empress, BearfootFX, Walrus, and this Warden are all pretty good, you won’t get a loser here at all, just different features/options that might or might not be important to you.

    posted on June 23, 2013 at 12:40 am
  7. Mister Vertigo Musik says:

    Thanks Ian!

    posted on June 23, 2013 at 8:05 pm
  8. terryg says:

    I’m always interested in new compressors, since it can be such a critical tool and many I’ve tried are disappointing.
    I would be curious to hear how The Warden compares with the Carl Martin Comp/Limiter or the EBS bass compressor; you mention you haven’t tried the Keeley or the Diamond, which tends to dilute your review here (for me, at least).

    posted on June 25, 2013 at 3:04 am
  9. Ryan says:

    I auditioned the Warden - it’s very clean and transparent, but almost to a fault. The tweakability is certainly there, but even at the most extreme settings any squash I got out of it was almost too subtle, certainly not a funk compressor that can add a little dirt to the sound. I ended up exchanging it for an Xotic SP compressor that can do both the clean and the squash. I suppose for more refined ears this might be a great pedal.

    posted on June 25, 2013 at 3:30 am
  10. its a shop says:

    never trust a pgs pedal review.

    posted on June 25, 2013 at 6:21 am
  11. Bebop says:

    I have one, its a fair review.

    For those who seek a near transparent optical compressor, this one is for you. Great sustain, still very subtle, can do very nice clean tones or stack with other effects.
    But if you like the colored tone or the dirt compression, best look elsewhere.

    The one i have won’t leave my board :)

    posted on June 25, 2013 at 10:58 am
  12. zhangfei says:

    USA, Coach handbags indeed doubts. Contains the original cheap coach handbags were earlier in the economy powerful female leisure activity designer Diagnostics.Most of cheap vogue Coach handbags are suitable Louis Vuitton Outlet Store  for the recreational occasion but some of them also not not fashion but also casual. if you want to know some information of Coach company or the latest Louis Vuitton 2013  products, you can find the useful news on the cheap Coach handbags.Sometimes a picture is worth Louis Vuitton  a thousand words, or at least a few of the words to describe the way you feel. This is what I ask all of you.<br>glamorous types of ladies in the globe today. Therefore replica designer coach purses cannot only boost up your individual fashions significantly but also help you to stay louis vuitton outlet  confident, attractive, and charismatic all the time. Fabulously the fake coach handbags are the best source for enhance your self esteem, exposure, elegance, and grace once and forever. Currently hundreds gucci handbags  of millions of icon ladies are making the most of fashion coach handbags for the fashion purpose globally. Therefore if you are truly looking for the fabulous kinds of handbags Michael Kors  for your natural. <br>favorable discounts if you try order more than two piece one time, you also may get big surprise after you purchased Newest Chloe Handbagsyou wouldn’t miss it,Thelonious Louis Vuitton Outlet  In Action!For most women, finding a makeup bag is as easy as going to their local retailer and selecting one that is big enough to hold all of their makeup. authentic louis vuitton handbags  For other women, the process is a little more daunting. Why shouldn’t it be? Most women keep their makeup bag much longer than they do their purses or travel bags. Cheap Christian Louboutin  Shouldn’t a bag that is going to be around for a longer period of time. <br>

    posted on July 9, 2013 at 11:12 am
  13. Omeiyueq says:

    good quality.  Named after the center one of the largest provinces in Russia, this large satchel mixes supple, durable canvas with exceptionally fine leather, creating a pocket of the utmost sophistication. Ideal as a briefcase, this bag can also Michael Kors Outlet  function as a portfolio because of its removable strap. With two inside pockets, one zippered back pocket and beautifully brushed palladium hardware. Taiga leather and supple, durable canvas Sari canvas lining. This 7 Star Replica LV Taiga Satchel comes with: Serial and model numbers, the LV dust bag, LV care booklet, LV cards and Tags, and copy of the genuine receipt from an michael kors outlet online  official LV store. Free shipping & drop <br>especially for goods monopoly, at least 5 times, demand Coach fans.  The young people love fashion IT, in the creation of the largest discount stores in Hong Kong, 7 themed area, 25 brands, prices are approximately 3-fold in the rule. Club21 the CK, DKNY, AX, to be sold by 3-fold, very popular.If you are looking christian louboutin outlet  for best authentic designer sunglasses then fashion sunglasses will be your right choice. At you find only the best quality 100% UVA, UVB protected designer eyewear at low prices day! Get an unforgettable LV Purses  experience, comfortable, durable yet affordable eyewear at this online sunglasses store.  We assure for top quality designer <br>get the attention of anyone who is willing buy watch, grab. It is well known brand for quality, design and innovation. All watches produced by this brand are paying high attention to all their data. When it comes to adding style and elegance, watches Burberry rated as the best choice. This brand is known for its tartan check material that you can easily find many of his fashion accessory lines known. Your luxury watches are Louis Vuitton purses  not only highly praised by men, but it has become a top choice for ladies. Style, fashion, elegance, class and sophistication, everything is part of the collection they present their watches with pride. Range of watches is your task of <br>every newspaper, blog or website has turn more news on how people are laid off or asked to take a long vacation. The Michael Kors Outlet Store  way it is, there is no guarantee that even those who can in a relatively safe position without further danger. One of the first things people do in such a situation is grim, to get back their money. Many of us would have lived out the good times ride the wave credit card, spend more than we can afford and build debt. The Louis vuitton outlet  best way to cut spending and repay debt, up on expensive purchases that are completely preventable.  Louis Vuitton handbags have always had a timeless appeal. They occupied a position of pride and have an enviable following <br>

    posted on July 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm
  14. Benediktagwd says:
    posted on July 22, 2013 at 8:21 am
  15. says:

    This has to be one of my favorite posts! And on top of thats its also very helpful topic for newbies. Thanks a lot for informative information!
    Texas Gun Trust

    posted on August 9, 2013 at 5:18 pm
  16. says:

    Just continue to write such a position. I will be your faithful reader. Thank you again
    knitting needles

    posted on August 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm
  17. dctfacilitiesmanagement says:

    A good information site, that has given me a good knowledge. I will definitely make a point to visit the blog and check for the new.
    Facilities Management Consultant

    posted on August 24, 2013 at 5:45 am
  18. liubei says:

    I went to a local print shop owner, old William Bradford - he was Pennsylvania’s first printing shop owner, and later and from there moved to Michael Kors Outlet Handbags  New York, I asked him to take me as a man. His business is not much there, staff had enough, so he could not hire louis vuitton store  me. But he said: “I am in charge of firearms son recently lost his chief aide Accra Ross, and he died .. If you go louis vuitton purses  there, I’m sure he will hire you.”  Philadelphia from New York, 100 miles away. In order to get this job, I set off by  boat to a safe Po, leaving my suitcase and blanket, later transported by sea.  <br> promises, and also perhaps he is accustomed to this louis vuitton outlet  bar.  James and I came to England December Guelph, here we are intimate friends. We lived together in one we could find the cheapest coach factory outlet  inn, but he has money to spend over the UK trip. So, in his search Michael Kors Outlet  for work this time, we both had to rely on my own money to live. He went to many places to find a job, such as: printing, theater, and then went to the law firm looking for work, but he could not find any work. And Christian Louboutin Outlet  my situation a little better than him. I was soon in a well-known printing - printing Palmer found a job. <br>of the current Coach handbags, michael kors outlet  a few have grown to be a little too much. With the improvements put on the handbags, like straps, butterflies and patches, the appearance has christian louboutin outlet  wavered much more to the youthful guests than the grown-up crowd. However, never to get worried. Coach continue to make stunning handbags. Even with the michael kors outlet online  transforming of times and innovating of the brand, Coach still continues to be true to its experienced customers and provides the newest styles to the Louis Vuitton Outlet  newer buyers.These handbags have marketed so good because of its high quality materials. <br>

    posted on September 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm
  19. Mark says:

    Thanks to share your nice informative information in this blog site thanks to share it.

    posted on September 5, 2013 at 3:35 am
  20. Michael Gill says:

    Very nicely written post it contains useful information for me. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post.
    ustin Divorce,Austin Child Custody

    posted on November 15, 2013 at 5:59 pm
  21. shifan1 says:

    much , you do not have to doubt the ability to create the elegance and grace for you . Please set to zero the distance to dream <h1>louis vuitton outlet</h1>  of your offer discount price in this <br>have been complaints from certain quarters for there ’ benefits , their In <h1>louis vuitton store</h1>  many cases , the product becomes a disadvantage to the user of the bag . And especially if <br>years old that <h1>louis vuitton</h1>  are still in quality shape . This is the start of a retro Because it is very quickly FAD of <h1>michael kors outlet online</h1>  Louis Vuitton , <h1>louis vuitton outlet</h1>  and keep your eyes open for the Louis <br>replica of Louis Vuitton cruiser bag 45 Replica of Louis Vuitton Wilshire Boulevard M93642 Rose M93645 replica of Louis Vuitton Wilshire Building Green Issue ? , <br>considerably less than retail . It <h1>louis vuitton bags</h1>  is a gift dust bag dead . If dust The dust bag authentic that is included , it does not <h1>michael kors</h1>  have rounded corners , and the bag is made <br>sufficient reason to believe . When you have achieved enough to own <h1>louis vuitton handbags</h1>  a statue of wax private her Madame Tussauds Wax Meseum, Miley Cyrus is showing off the ultra-luxury <br>elegant way now . <h1>Louis Vuitton Sale</h1>  She knows that to be paired tote Chanel black boots with the same black and leopard print dress spicy . In <h1>michael kors outlet</h1>  addition , this whimsical girl to go is <br>

    posted on December 3, 2013 at 11:48 am
  22. estelajhon says:

    Thanks for sharing the post filled up with so much knowledge. Going to share with my friends.
    medical diseases

    posted on January 1, 2014 at 2:27 am
  23. Michael Gill says:

    Youre so right. Im there with you. Your blog is definitely worth a read if anyone comes across it.
    Medical Negligence Specialist

    posted on January 15, 2014 at 2:57 am
  24. yoyo says:


    coach outlet online,

    coach factory outlet,

    coach outlet,

    gucci outlet,

    coach factory outlet online,

    michael kors bags,

    gucci sale,


    ugg australia,

    tommy hilfiger,

    uggs on sale,

    louis vuitton bags,

    calvin kleins sale,

    louboutin shoes,

    air jordan retro,

    burberry outlet,

    abercrombie and fitch,

    posted on April 15, 2015 at 11:21 am

Leave a Comment

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.