Empress Effects Heavy Menace


High-gain distortion with 3 gain-modes and efficient switchable noisegate.

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SKU: 405072

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The Heavy Menace is an evolution of the original Empress Heavy with new features and a compact enclosure. In addition to the original Heavy and Heavier modes, the Heavy Menace adds a new Lite(ish) mode, covering any high-gain sound from classic hard rock to searing modern metal.

The Heavy Menace has an active 3-band EQ with +/- 15dB boost or cut. Midrange is a key element of a great distorted sound, so the mid frequency is sweepable from 200 Hz to 2.5 kHz to dial in the sweet spot for your guitar and amp. Scoop for a tight, aggressive sound, or push to add definition and cut through a mix.

The Weight control adjusts a high-pass filter in the distortion circuit to shape low-end character. Turn it up for a thick, full sound, or turn counterclockwise for a tight response that’s perfect for palm muting and extended-range guitars.

The highly-efficient noisegate from the original Heavy has been built into the Heavy Menace. Envelope followers in the circuit respond to your playing, letting sustained notes decay naturally but clamping down quickly during fast stops.

However, on the Heavy Menace, this gate is now footswitchable, with two available modes of operation. In normal bypass mode, the gate doesn’t affect the signal if the distortion is off, while independent bypass mode is like having separate distortion and gate pedals.

Empress also added a key input so you can optionally trigger the gate with an external signal. This is particularly useful if you have additional pedals before the Heavy Menace in your signal chain, such as a low-gain pedal for stacking.
Split a clean signal with a pedal like our Buffer+ and connect it to the Gate Key Input, and the gate will behave consistently regardless of changes at the main input.


Highlights Empress Heavy distortion in compact pedalsize
3 distortion modes: Lite(ish), Heavy and Heavier
Active 3-band EQ with +/- 15 dB boost/cut
Mid EQ sweepable from 200 Hz to 2.5 kHz
Adaptive noise-gate adjusts to playing style
Noise-gate can be activated via footswitch
Gate Key trigger input via minijack makes it possible to trigger the noise-gate from external soundsource or earlier in the signal chain
Made in Canada
Bypass Selectable true bypass or buffered bypass
Power consumption 9-12V DC center negative (power supply sold separately)
250 mA
Dimensions H: 6,3 cm (incl. knobs)
W: 6,6 cm
D: 12,1 cm
Weight 321 g.