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Zander Circuitry - Cranium Rat-Style Guitar Pedal, handmade in the UK

Zander Circuitry - Cranium Distortion

  • The Cranium is inspired by the framework of a circuit that’s been heard on countless legendary records from bands like the Foo Fighters, Radiohead, R.E.M., and Metallica. Those classic sounds are all in there, plus a whole lot more, thanks to added functionality that lets you precisely sculpt your sound and access even more grit for an all-out explosion of dirt. 

    That extra level of control makes it quicker and easier to find the ‘sweet spot’ that can take hours of fiddling to find on other versions of the circuit. And with our signature clipping selector switch, you can also experiment with different diodes to add a new flavour of distortion that’s uniquely yours. 

    Flexibility is the name of the Cranium’s game, giving you extra control over several critical parts of the circuit for stress-free tweaking. 

    Key to this is the extra Freq control, which works in tandem with the Tone control to give you a far wider range of sounds. Essentially, the Freq knob alters what would normally be a fixed resistor value, making it variable and allowing for precise frequency control that’s not normally possible with traditional versions of the circuit. Plus, the Body knob alters the low-end and overall gain response, letting you bring in more or less bass, depending on the situation. Both the Freq and Body controls work very interactively with the Gain and Tone controls.

    The Cranium also incorporates our signature diode rotary switch, which lets you choose between eight different clipping types (and for this circuit that means you get to pick from the many ‘rodent’ variants that have been released through the years) : 

    • Germanium: Smooth, sweet, and classically ‘amp-like’. (You Dirty)
    • Silicon: Louder, brighter, and a little bit brittle. (Standard)
    • LED: Louder again, with less saturation and more punch. (Turbo)
    • Asymmetrical germanium: A more aggressive version of germanium. (Zander)
    • Asymmetrical silicon: A more aggressive version of silicon. (Solo)
    • Asymmetrical LED: A more aggressive version of LED. (Solo)
    • Transistor/MOSFET: Similar to silicon, but sweeter and crunchier. (FAT)
    • No diodes: Loads of output and much less gain. (Deucetone)

    And when you need an added dose of distortion, the Cranium’s Blast footswitch ramps the drive all the way up, and activates a second volume control that makes it quick and easy to switch between low and high-gain sounds.

    The Cranium has seven controls that give you modern control over a classic circuit:

    • Gain: Gain control
    • Tone: EQ for the output signal 
    • Freq: Variable resistor control
    • Body: Low-frequency/gain tweaking
    • Level: Output volume
    • Blast: Output volume (in Blast mode)
    • 1-8: Clipping diode selector

    It also has two footswitches: 

    • Engage: Turn it on and off 
    • Blast: Activate Blast mode 

    The Cranium features both momentary and latching switching, which means you can hold down one of the footswitches to temporarily engage an effect and then release it to return to normality.

    Not to mention: 

    • Top-mounted in/out jacks
    • Power requirements: 9V DC (center-negative) supply
    • Current draw: 120 mA


    • (W)67 mm x (L)122 mm x (H)60 mm


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