Walrus Audio Janus Review – Most Innovative Fuzz/Tremolo Pedal?


Reviewed by:
Rating:
4.5
On October 9, 2013
Last modified:October 6, 2016

Summary:

Walrus-Audio-Janus-Review-Most-Innovative-Fuzz-Tremolo-Pedal-01

I’ve played a lot of great guitar pedals. And I’ve played a lot of really great fuzz and tremolo pedals. And I’ve seen and played some really interesting conceptual pedals that capture a unique vibe unlike anything else around.

And still, every now and then, a pedal comes along that completely blows my mind in every aspect of its concept, design, and overall execution. The Janus by Walrus Audio is one of those pedals.

The Janus combines a fully-featured fuzz of the highest quality and an equally great tremolo in a single enclosure. Add in dual-joystick control to manipulate 2 key parameters for each effect, and you’ve got more real-time tone-bending options than you’ll find in a fuzz or tremolo pedal anywhere else.

Fuzz and Tremolo are a bizarre pairing you would think, but they yield surprisingly interesting results once you dig in and and get acquainted with the Janus. Having an understanding of who exactly Janus is may offer further insight into what Walrus Audio had in mind when designing this pedal.


Walrus-Audio-Janus-Review-Most-Innovative-Fuzz-Tremolo-Pedal-05Janus is a Roman god often associated with transitions, beginnings and endings, and war and peace. Janus is usually depicted with two faces which look towards the future and to the past. This pedal certainly is a throw-back to such classic effects as tremolo and fuzz while bringing them into the future with ultra-modern design innovation. Notice how the faces of Janus look towards the different effects, the war-like chaos of fuzz and the peaceful and soothing tremolo. His eyes are fixated on the Level controls which are the swinging doorways to unleashing these effects. The efficient design and beautiful presentation of this pedal are a testament to a dedicated creative vision brought to life in a masterfully executed product. Walrus Audio have really raised the bar with this one. Let’s run down the features and transition to our in-depth Walrus Audio Janus review.

Features:

True Bypass Dual-Joystick Controlled Tremolo/Fuzz

Trem Level control knob adjusts the output level of the Tremolo effect.

Trem Joystick: Left to Right adjusts the depth from minimum to maximum depth, Down to Up adjusts the rate from minimum to maximum rate.

Trem On/Off True Bypass footswitch engages and disengages effect, letting signal pass unaffected when not in use.

Fuzz Level control knob adjusts the output level of the fuzz effect.

Fuzz Blend control knob adjusts the mix between clean signal and Fuzz signal, allowing for transparent, cleaner guitar tone with fuzz underneath.

Fuzz Joystick: Left to Right adjusts the amount of fuzz/gain/distortion from minimum to maximum fuzz, Down to Up adjusts the Tone of the fuzz effect from more bass to more treble.

Fuzz On/Off True Bypass footswitch engages and disengages effect, letting signal pass unaffected when not in use.

3-Way Mode Toggle-switch for selecting from 3 different arrangements of clipping diodes to create an assortment of fuzz tones.

Bass Toggle-switch boosts the low end/bass when switched to the left.

Powered by 9-Volt battery or 9VDC power adapter.

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Sound & Performance:

Just so you know, this review took me a while to write. I could barely stop playing the Janus long enough to write about it. Once you enter the realm of Janus, it can be hard to exit from whence you came.

For my review, I simply plugged in a humbucker-equipped American Strat and went into a flat, clean amp channel with the Janus standing guard, facing my guitar and amp.

I decided to approach this pedal slowly and tested out the Tremolo first. With the Level control at noon, I engaged the Trem side of Janus and gave the joystick a whirl.

The Tremolo of the Janus is smooth and musical, offering a nice gentle pulsing effect that can get pretty intense when you need it to be simply by adjusting the Trem joystick. At the lower left joystick settings the depth and rate are at their lowest for the most subtle effects. Bringing the joystick towards the center of its axis brings in a moderate tremolo sound for a bit more movement. The joysticks are stiff enough to maintain their position when set, so it’s easy to find a stationary setting you like on the fly. Pushing the joystick towards the upper right area brings in much deeper throbbing with a fast rate, great for intense pulsing effects. Taking the joystick to the right yields the deepest effect while pushing it straight up produces the fastest rate. I highly recommend using the Trem joystick in realtime, either with your hand or foot, to create some mesmerizing movement.

Walrus-Audio-Janus-Review-Most-Innovative-Fuzz-Tremolo-Pedal-03After getting a feel for the Trem side of this pedal, I switched over to the Fuzz side to experience the wrath and fury of Janus.

Even without the Tremolo functionality, the Janus is still one of the more versatile fuzz effects pedals around and packs in a lot of features for tailoring your ideal fuzz tones. The blend knob is incredibly useful for blending your dry signal into the overall sound for some extra clarity and definition. With the Fuzz joystick set anywhere around the left to center positions you can get some great overdriven fuzz sounds. You must try the Janus Fuzz in all 3 modes as they each have a voice and character of their own for a great “3-fuzz-pedals-in-1” appeal.

I’m a bit of a gain addict, so I really enjoy using the Janus with the Fuzz joystick set towards the right. From here, all 3 modes offer plenty of fuzz distortion in 3 delicious flavors. You’ve gotta try them all. Seriously, this pedal is overflowing with great fuzz tones. Pushing the joystick slightly up or down lets you set your high-gain fuzz tone just right. I personally find myself leaving the Bass switch on most of the time with the Fuzz joystick pushed upward a little bit to bring in more high-end for some great full-range fuzz sounds in all 3 modes.

At all levels of gain, the Janus Fuzz remains articulate and dynamic. Individual notes of chords can be heard clearly even at the highest gain settings. The pedal cleans up well when rolling back your volume knob, and it’s worth exploring the different mode options with various gain settings while attenuating your guitar’s volume knob to hear how expressive the Janus can be.

And of course the Janus must be experienced with both Tremolo and Fuzz engaged. This offers some truly unique sounds and performance options that you won’t find anywhere else. Both effects pair surprisingly well together and offer some very interesting modulated distortion sounds. With the Tremolo and Fuzz engaged, you can create some very dynamic textures by using the Fuzz Blend knob to mix your dry and fuzz signals, revealing both faces of Janus in a clean, yet dirty barrage of pulsating fuzz movement.

Things get really weird and wild when you try playing guitar while using your foot to control the joysticks in realtime. The Janus is truly a performance instrument in its own right and is made for the most adventurous guitarists who will appreciate all that this pedal is capable of.

Few companies are pushing the envelope as far as Walrus Audio have with the Janus. It’s a fuzz pedal like no other. It’s this kind of ingenuity, creativity, and risk-taking that sets apart the best from the rest. Much respect to Walrus Audio for releasing a pedal that’s so much fun to play and that offers a world of inspiration within. Let’s see the final result.

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Overall-Rating-4.5

The Janus by Walrus Audio is one of the most ambitious fuzz/tremolo pedals ever released. It offers 2 high quality effects that are worlds apart yet may be combined to create sounds unheard of until now. It has plenty of amazing fuzz and tremolo sounds on tap that can be easily dialed in and used together or separately. And if you’re feeling bold, you can bring chaos to order via realtime dual-joystick control. While the joysticks are particularly well suited to studio use, you can still use them in realtime with a nimble foot as well. The Janus is a veritable wellspring of great tone and inspiration, and I highly recommend getting acquainted with the Janus face to face.

That concludes our Walrus Audio Janus review. Thanks for reading.

 

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363 COMMENTS

  1. Not only does it sound great but it looks great as well. Fantastic pedal. Every time I visit this webpage the list of must-have pedals just gets bigger and bigger. This would be a really nice addition to my current pedal set! (calling it a ‘pedal set’ is kind of offensive… 2 distortion pedals + a Chinese multi-effect pedal aren’t really a set…)

  2. Alright, baby, did I win? Send it on over! Well, if I don’t win it, I guess I’ll have to buy one. I am a tremolo and fuzz junkie. This has it all – no need to leave the house.

  3. Love that this kind of looks like a game controller. Not to mention getting trem w/ fuzz w/ different pedals to work nicely can be tough, really needs a good trem pedal and this seems to have it… watching Steven Drozd mess with all the other pedals in tandem w/ the Janus was awesome… really makes me itch for this one!

  4. Awesome pedal. I wasn’t quite sure which pedals to choose from, the Janos or Decent, both are great. The music I play doesn’t require much fuzz, but this pedal is so unique and looks amazing that I got to have it.

  5. I’m not sure about joysticks. They look like it would be too easy to bump them accidentally after having found the “sweet spot”…

  6. Great demo and article. This is my favorite pedal from walrus audio. The Janus has always been my favorite guitar pedal. I love the video with Steve drozd. Cheers

  7. Hi! Due to my interest to post-rock I must say that this is the killer pedal I ever wanted! With god blessing walrus audio crew put the fuzz that I interested into this pedal. In my opinion double joysticks make this pedal much more useful in studio! But still I heard it only on the youtube(

  8. This just phenomenal ! I’ve been looking for a fuzz and trem for awhile, this combo really adds a new dimension to these effects and looks to provide some great tonal creativity. Great job on the review, really shows the possibilities.

  9. I’ve seen the Janus pedal for quite a while now and the joysticks always interest me. To have an effect with that level of sensitive control, it must be difficult to decide to “STOP” fiddling!

  10. A very interesting combination of units. While either one is in the typical guitarist’s tool box, you’d be hard pressed to find another unit which offers the option of mixing these two very different functions. I like it! Can’t wait to try one.

  11. Lately I’ve been discovering how versatile a tremolo can be, sounds like a fantastic pedal from a great company! I really liked how well the two effects stacked in the demo; kinda like eating apples and cheese together, sounds weird but tastes awesome.

  12. Very cool pedal ! It’s perfect for the stoner/doom/sludge oriented guitarists ! I thinks the joysticks are what make this pedal unique , giving more opportunities and more sensible control. I like it :-)

  13. Joysticks!! Fly it in to the Deathstar …
    Or just use to sound Sci Fi epic rock awesome!
    The review reads like a fantasy pedal, but this is real science.
    Best pedal.

  14. The Janus looks awesome. The joystick idea is both innovative and practical and the tone quality of the Fuzz pedal jumps right out at you from the demo clip. Would LOVE to get one….many months saving up in South African currency!!

  15. Joystick controlled boxes are ridiculously fun to use. I would have never have thought to combine a trem with fuzz but the results seem awesome.

  16. Ooooooooooooh, heavy duty and ready for action. I could go nuts in the Music Cave with this device! A tweaker’s delight, for sure….

  17. Honestly, the main reason I want this besides the fact that it looks amazing; it has the same name as my cat…I can see it all now janus on the janus

  18. This is innovation embodied. Who thinks of these things: first, combining fuzz and trem, and second, making it seem like a throwback to the 90s with the joysticks reminiscent of game controllers. Absolutely amazing!

  19. Wouls love to win the Janus. In need of a good Trem and love fuzz, love the idea of the toggle switches. I’m a pedal geek and this would really thrill me!

  20. I find this pedal is a fantastic combination of two effect that you never think of. I love the sound of the fuzz and the joystick control, seems have great fun. I would like to get one!!

  21. Love fuzz, love trem! Seems Walrus Audio has managed to combine the best of two worlds here. Would love to play around with this!

  22. I never would have thought to mix trem and fuzz but this pedal is just awesome. Every video demo I see of it I fall more in love. Great tone in all 3 clipping modes and super creative execution. The gamer in me just loves the idea of playing with a joystick. Would love to get my hands (and feet) on one of these.

  23. I recently tried a Janus to see if my Fender Hotrod Deville 212 would take to it. I was really surprised at all the different tones. I spent about 2.5 hours just messing with it. Only problem with it was it was not mine and had to give it back.

  24. Trem is frequently washed out by fuzz. They are integrated creatively here in a way where the two effects compliment each other. I also am intrigued by the foot-controllable joysticks. Lots of ideas occur to me just thinking about the possibilities…

    Very cool!

  25. Thanks for the review and a chance to win. Dual joysticks to control tremolo and fuzz? Looks like a lot of fun, kind of like Nels Cline playing Robotron.

  26. Janus! God of war and peace! And this pedal is worthy of worship as well, I love the trem modulation over the beefed up fuzz. This pedal holds the best of both worlds and would be a great addition to anyones pedalboard

  27. As a 19 year old University student I am constantly poor which means badass pedals like this one tend haunt my dreams. This is seriously one of the coolest ideas I have seen in a long time. The joysticks are incredible so easy to play around and get creative. I want to win this oh lord do I want to win this. So bad That I would consider riding a Walrus through my hometown to pay tribute to Walrus Audio for making such an incredible pedal. Just saying.

  28. QUITE AN INNOVATIVE LOOKING PEDAL! IM NOT SURE IF IT MAKES ME WANT TO PLAY OR FLY A MODEL AIRPLANE ;) BUT SERIOUSLY ITS A GREAT PEDAL!! ID BE HONORED TO WIN ONE

  29. The Walrus Audio Janus would be a welcome addition to anyone’s pedalboard.I would love to own one.The joysticks are cool and I guarantee it would be the first pedal on board that people would notice.

  30. I would love to win this, it looks awesome to experiment with. I love making a lot of weird noise and I think I could get really weird with this!

  31. Joysticks. Did someone slip the folks at Walrus some blue sunshine ?? This is probably the strangest, quirkiest, amazing stomp-box to bear witness to. Man oh man the combination of fuzz and tremm is tasty and it just kills me eardrums ! If steven drozd digs it, it has definitely got somethin’ going for it. Awesome review too, you guys realy covered everything.

  32. The joystick manipulation is really cool, but I wonder how long will the joysticks be able to stay in position, would they eventually wear out? The sound & ingenuity of this pedal is impressive.

  33. I’ve been looking for a decent fuzz pedal to mess around with, and this pedal seems perfect! Love that its apparently very flexible, I’m still trying to figure out what tone I like best.

  34. The design team at Walrus is off their freakin rocker. What amazing exploration and innovation they’ve managed to pack into these stomp boxes.

    Every time someone says “guitar rock is played out,” a new Walrus pedal gets its wings.

  35. Never seen a fuzz / tremolo combination before with dual joysticks for adjustments… both the fuzz and tremolo are LEGIT. I’d love to win this and rock my Baritone Guitar through it to chop down some trees!!

  36. I love everything about this pedal! From the joystick controls to the amazing artwork on it – not only does this pedal look good, but it sounds GREAT! I’d love to make this an addition to my current sound-scape set up and see what creative noise I can make.

  37. Entering the giveaway – those joysticks are calling out to me. Always been one of my favorite methods of controlling parameters. Very innovative and interesting pedal. Fingers crossed!

  38. Really an innovative design – both sound-wise (thats my guess) and graphically! I would love to have that in my pedal arsenal – I would love to have it in a studio.

    I only have 1 concern – can the joysticks hold up with a lot of live usage. I would love to test it!

  39. I have wanted to add some fuzz to my guitar loop for a while now and adding some tremolo too would be f@#$ing awesome. The joystick controls and the amount of other controls make me sure I can dial it in for the perfect sound, no matter what style I want to play. I can’t afford one of these regularly so winning would make my year!

  40. That fuzz sound is pretty epic. Compounded with the joystick control there seem like a lot of sonic possibilities. Want one!

  41. This is aesthetically the best pedal I have ever seen, and the joysticks are very nice and unique addition. All reviews I’ve read and seen were very positive and I hope I can get my hands on one of these.

  42. I was pretty blown away by the sounds Steven Drozd was coming up with in the posted video. I’m not sure what I want more, this or the Descent! (Probably the Descent actually!)

  43. What a strange and unique idea. Maybe there’s another pedal that combines these two effects, but I’ve never seen it. And I absolutely love the design, the artwork, and the videogame controller-like joysticks. Super bad ass.

  44. This is probably the number 1 pedal I want right now. It’s so sweet and the Drozd demo was great…I want to work the joysticks! Pick me so I can lol

  45. This has to be the most creative pedal I have seen this year. The joysticks seem to offer a never ending palate of sounds – the only problem I see is remembering settings from gig to gig and accidentally moving the joysticks while playing. The tremolo itself sounds wonderful and hell given the mood I’d buy the pedal for just that alone. Great review.

  46. The versatility of the Walrus Audio Janus Tremolo/Fuzz is amazing. For me as a Blues-Player the fuzz as well as the trem is an important part of my sound. Having both in one high quality pedal is very cool and usable on stage as well.
    A pedal not only for sound-hunters but also for musicians who need a very good sounding pedal that is easy to use.
    Well done! =)

  47. Definitely the joystick control for the variables of the effects is pretty interesting and you can play more with them in a easier way. I want one of those!!!

  48. Nice layout, joystick controls, nice sound and walrus quality… i love all about this pedal and i have a free space in my pedalboard reserved for it, that’s why i want JANUS

  49. Foot control of parameters. Brilliant. And having one control let you find the sound you are after. Great idea. I could get lost in there for days. Please.

  50. Oh man this pedal sounds awesome. The lush fuzz sound and the interesting vibrato works well together. The fact that is uses a joystick makes this so much cooler!

  51. joy stick analog controls seem like a great way to get the sound thats in your head very quickly, always good to have modes on the fuzz too

  52. This pedal fuzz side with its variety and flexibility
    can give a decent fight to a big muff…
    add in a tremolo to sweeten this deal
    this pedal sounds great and I could
    spent days playing with it!

  53. This looks and sounds like a really high quality combination of sounds and they really work well together. Would love to spend some time exploring this!

  54. love the way the Janus sounds. and you really can’t go wrong with a dual joystick fuzz pedal with modulation. I’d love to have one of these on my board. it would definitely get a lot of usage for sure.

  55. I’ve only recently gotten in to fuzz pedals and love it, the joystick idea on this is so interesting. At least it’s better than all the clones out there.

  56. Cool for experimenting, but not so to use it as a fixed fuzz pedal. Anyway, what I see as the most cool feature is having the chance to melt fuzz sounds with tremolo.

  57. Walrus Audio certainly made a masterpiece on this one, and the concept is brilliant, the double faced goddess. Sound´s so beautiful but at the same time so dirty, like some kind of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde vibe hehehe ! Never heard about Walrus Audio before now, a total wake up call for me hehe Will totally check their other works.

  58. The Steven Drozd demo actually prompted me to seek out the pocket piano used in the video. It just looks like a lot of fun and could be a valuable tool in creating songs and guitar riffs.

  59. The joystick idea is pretty cool. I love how easily it can be played around with whilst playing. Although pretty irrelevant I have to comment on the artwork, so sick.

  60. Have wanted this pedal since it came out, my two favorite effects that are highly controllable in one pedal. The fuzz and tremolo could easily stand on their own as great boutique pedals, but together this is a one of a kind monster. This is going to make someone extremely happy

  61. Whoa! What a COOL looking pedal! Love the graphics. Love the idea of the control joystick! I can’t wait to experiment and see what colours I can pull out of this thing!!!!

  62. I’ve had a go with this at a friends pedalboard and its by far the most fun I’ve had with a stompbox! I’m eager to get my hands on one.

  63. I’ve been watching this pedal since its release… I wish I’d have the opportunity to try one, it’s not something you buy on a whim, but that seems to be quite the pedal I need…

  64. Hey guys!
    Amazing pedal, and equally fantastic review. Very in-depth. I’d absolutely love to win the Janus, as it’s something I’ve been considering for awhile that I’d use for shows with my band all the time. Love the sound, love the joysticks, love the artwork. Walrus is fast becoming my favorite pedal brand. Like I said earlier- this pedal would work perfectly on my board, so I’d love to win. Thanks guys!!
    -Logan

  65. This pedal looks and sounds awesome. I would love to replace my current tremolo with this one. It would also go well with my Walrus Audio Deep Six Compressor.

  66. Whoa! Aside from looking freakishly cool it sounds so…smooth! I really want one of these, it’s like a video game controller, ha ha!!

  67. Man that is something else. Different kind of expression pedal for sure if you can control it with your foot. would love to see more pedals with that joystick affair if it can be. Nice one. thanks as always

  68. Loved the video, yea I could see myself rockin’ this pedal. been looking for a fuzz that has more than just tone and volume for controls. This could be the one! Trem side has a lot to offer also, winner winner on this one!

  69. Man those guys over at Walrus audio know how to make some insane artwork. Looks stunning.
    Also: joysticks. What else could you possibly want from a pedal. I’m sold.

  70. What?! Joysticks!? That might be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. This pedal is really cool! I’ve been looking for an amazing fuzz pedal and I’ve found it! And it comes with an equally amazing tremolo! It doesn’t get better than that. This pedal is killer!

  71. This is possibly one of the most over the top creations I’ve come across and clearly more than just having a fuzz and trem in the chain. Lots of possibilities here, and joysticks? Great touch :)

  72. The fuzz seemed pretty awesome. I liked the joystick concept instead of two knobs.

    Is the fuzz part the same as the Jupiter Fuzz?

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