More Cool New Pedals of 2014!!

Hallo und guten tag!  Oh, sorry that’s German.  Oh well, good luck translating that sentence…   I try to keep up on the happenings of the pedal world so I can then report to you, the pedal enthusiast.  This year has seen some really unique and innovative designs – so many that I could make this a big long list.  But because I know you have the attention span of Honey Boo Boo in a butter factory, I’ve narrowed the list down to three pedals.  I want to bring your attention to a couple of boxes that are worth a percentage of your hard earned dollars from whatever it is that you do for money (you dirty person).  Get out your notebook, take some notes, and go buy these pedals.

MXR Phase 99

The Pedal File - MXR Phase 99

MXR has some cool pedals in their line, but they often get overlooked for other more boutique brands.  A lot of their designs are simple, standard effects – offering only a few knobs for tweaking, but they sound good as evidenced by the many recordings in which you can hear them by the many artists who endorse them such as Beats Antique and Dweezil Zappa.  But lately, it seems like the engineers over there have decided they wanted to do something a little different.  The MXR Phase 99 basically takes two Phase 90 circuits, joins them at the hip, and adds some nice tweakable features that I was surprised to see on a pedal from them.  A series/parallel switch?  Sweet.  A vintage switch?  Sexy.  A sync switch to synchronize the rates of both circuits?  I like.  I’ll elaborate under tweakables.

Tweakables:
Speed 1 & 2 – controls the phase shift speed on both circuits.  You can set one fast, one slow, or however the hell you want to get unique phase tones.
Series/Parallel switch – run the circuits in series (circuit 1 into circuit 2 to create a more intense effect with exaggerated frequency cuts and peaks) or parallel (circuit 1 & 2 stay separated).
Vintage switch – engage a vintage voicing for the phasing.
Sync switch – like I said above, synchronizes both circuits to speed 1 rate.

Do you want to have classic phase tones, but with added flexibility and tweaking options?  Check this one out!


Check out www.jimdunlop.com for more info

Strymon Deco

The Pedal File - Strymon Deco

This pedal was just announced, and as soon as I read about it/listened to it, I knew I would more than likely own it someday.  The Deco (I assume it’s named after the popular art of the time of tape reels) is all about emulating old tape effects that engineers used in the early days of recording.  Offering a slew of effects like tape saturation for warmth/compression and overdrive, doubletracking for slapback, tape flanging, tape echo, and chorus, and with bypass switches for the saturation and doubletracker, it all feels too much like a wet dream…(what, you don’t dream about pedals?)

Tweakables:
Saturation – smooths out the sound with compression and fattens it up with a transparent overdrive.
Blend – mix between the tape saturation and doubletracker controls.
Lag Time – sets the delay offset like you were controlling a ‘lag deck’ and ‘reference deck’.  This is what gives you the doubletracking, slapback, flange, chorus effects, and tape echo (up to 500ms delay) effects.  Such a big and powerful knob…
Volume – duh, controls the output volume, stupid!
Wobble – adds random modulation from subtle to extreme just like tape would.
Type switch
– sum: the ‘tape decks’ are in phase
– invert: ‘lag deck’ is phase inverted
– bounce: right channel of the ‘lag deck’ is phase-inverted and bounced to the left channel input for ping-pong stereo effects, or a double-repeat effect when running in mono.

One pedal that can provide such a bounty of effects is surely worth a spot on your pedalboard.


Check out www.strymon.net for more info

Earthquaker Devices Afterneath

The Pedal File - Earthquaker DevicesAfterneath

If you haven’t heard of Earthquaker Devices at this point I’ll assume you’ve been living under a rock or you have just arrived to this planet from a distant solar system.  Welcome to Earth, watch out for humans – they suck.  But they build these things we call pedals, so I guess the ones who make them don’t completely suck, and Earthquaker Devices is on top of the pile of not-sucking.  Just released at Summer NAMM, the Afterneath is yet another unique EQD take on the boring old reverb effect.  The Afterneath is all about transporting you to another world that isn’t above or underneath ours  – it is after…neath (another angle would be a future world).  This one uses a ‘swarm of short delays to create wild and cavernous reverbs and scattered, short rhythmic delays with bizarre characteristics.’  It can self-oscillate, be bright or warm, and generally offers an abnormal and unconventionally open and ambient playground for the reverb lover.

Tweakables:
Length – Controls the decay length of the reverb.
Diffuse – Adjusts the spread of the reverb. Sharper with more attack counter clockwise, more ambient and washy as you turn it clockwise.
Dampen – Clockwise for brighter tones, counter clockwise for darker tones.
Drag – This digital reverb is made up of a bunch of short delays, this separates the delay lines creating a stuttering, pingy effect. This is the coolest control on the Afterneath, we highly advise slowly turning this while you let notes ring out for a cool warped speed effect. More delay as you turn it counter clockwise, more reverb as you turn it clockwise.
Reflect – Controls the regeneration of the reverb, turn clockwise for more wash and echos, counterclockwise for less. This will self oscillate if turned up high.
Mix – Blends the wet signal into the dry. Though it does not actually go full wet, it will gradually lower the clean level as you turn it clockwise and give the appearance of full wet.  This makes me ‘full wet’ just reading about it…

If you’re tired of all those reverb pedals that are so straight-forward, perhaps you should look into this one.


Check out www.earthquakerdevices.com for more info

So there you have it!  Three pedals that are new, exciting, and worth your time.  Feel free to let me know what you think, or what you consider to be sweet new pedals.

Thanks for reading.

Love,

Nick
The Pedal File

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My Case of Why Flangers Rule – Specifically, the DOD FX75-B Flanger

The Pedal File - DOD logoOk.  I’ll admit it, I’m not ashamed.  I love flangers (and all modulation effects for that matter).  I get lost in the whooshing, metallic, stuck in a pipe sound that falls somewhere between chorus/phaser/really short delay.  I get hypnotized, mesmerized, and a little aroused by it (maybe not literally, but definitely figuratively).  I just read a Reverb.com interview with Josh from JHS pedals where they mention how flange is always last on everyone’s mind these days.  Reverb.com even references a Facebook survey they conducted where it was voted the most ‘out-of-date’ effect.  I strongly disagree and would like to clarify:  I think people think flangers are lame because they got overused in a lot of lame music.

The Pedal File - DOD FX75-B FlangerThink about all the crappy music out there with fuzz/distortion/etc.  But you don’t hear anyone claiming the Big Muff to be for losers who are living in the past.  This is because enough players have proven that fuzz can be awesome.  Flange has been deemed guilty by association.  However, Josh does prophetically claim the flanger will make a comeback in the next few years as it is showing up more on recent albums, and therefore people will start looking for (re)’new'(ed) sounds.  I’m here to see that happen because, like the title of this article says, flangers rule.

The way the effect was originally developed is interesting.  It was first discovered by the genius guitar/effects/recording pioneer, Les Paul – though he didn’t use tape, but rather employed phase shifting through acetate disks on variable-speed record players.   Later in the 60’s, flange was an issue encountered when recording long takes onto tape.  As the tape would wind around the reel, it would get weighed down.  This would make the reel turn slower by a few milliseconds, which doesn’t seem like much, but the perceived difference in speed would create the harmonic avalanche that we now know as ‘flange’.

Some smart person (allegedly John Lennon/George Martin – The Beatles’ producer) realized it actually sounded pretty cool, so a technique to recreate this phenomenon was developed.  An archaic method of flanging was achieved by recording two identical takes to two separate tape machines.  The machines would be played back simultaneously.  At some point (the point at which one would want some tasty flange) the engineer would put a finger on the edge or ‘flange’ of one of the reels, causing playback of that tape to be slightly delayed.  This pairing of the normal speed tape with the delayed tape is what produced this unique sound.  Pretty neat, huh?

I’ve mentioned before I’m not a big fan of Eddie Van Halen, but there is something about his guitar tone that really fascinates me.  He used a lot of chorus/flange and was all about crispy textures with a multidimensional tone that makes you feel like you’re a small animal being carried away by a large eagle.  But alas, who can stand to listen to Van Halen (or especially Van Hagar) for that long?  (I hate the 80’s.  That’s when the word ‘rad’ became popular – please stop saying rad, hipsters.  Plus, every musician during the decade seemed to develop some kind of musical retardation, except for maybe The Police.)
The Pedal File - DOD FX75-B

Even though I like the sound of that hideous guitar, it’s hard to get past the cheesiness that was inherent in music during the 80’s – like dipping your ears in a big fondue pot of cheeseburgers.   One thing the 80’s had right though was the sound of the flange (chorus is a runner up and another article topic).

I should point out that not all flangers are equal.  Too many don’t have the kind of control you need (I prefer to have control over the delay time), or they don’t offer any good useable tones (most digital flangers).  There are a few companies like MXR that cater to the EVH fans or like Subdecay, whose flangers are more complex than a modular synth (not really, but they’re pretty intense) and cost well over $100.  But I’m here to remind you in this article that you don’t always have to look at brand new or boutique gear.  Some 80’s and 90’s pedals were well-made and can usually be found for less than $100.  A lot of them aren’t true bypass and whatnot, but if you’re open to the idea of modification or if you don’t care, vintage pedals are a great bet!
The Pedal File - DOD FX75-B
I’ve found a true flanging diamond in the rough in the DOD FX75-b stereo flanger.  It sounds so thick, metallic, and robotic.  Like dipping your guitar in electric molasses, this pedal takes your tone to a sticky gooey territory.  It’s easy to dial in a pretty shimmery chorus, but it also does to-the-max jet pack blast-off flange, as well as some vibe-y, rotary type stuff.  I can’t say enough how great this pedal sounds.  I love it so much, I now have two – just in case.  I plan on getting at least one of them modded to be true bypass (they do generate some noise at some settings) and have even thought about rehousing them both into one enclosure.

Tweakables:
Delay – sets the delay time, which controls the degree of phase shifting. Set it shorter for a chorus-y sound or longer for voluptuous flanging.  Like I said, this knob is really useful for different sounds (on chorus pedals too).
Speed – sets the speed at which the delay time changes – low settings are good for a thick chorus or subtle flange or crank it up for vibe-like throbbing, pulsations, etc.  (The width and regen have to be set around noon or higher for the vibe stuff).
Width – sets the range through which the delay time will vary.  I think of it kind of like a depth knob.  Turned all the way down, there is no sweeping time delay.  Turn it up and the time delay gets introduced to the phase shifting at the sweeping speed that is selected by the speed knob.  Lower settings = time delay sweep through a narrower range.  Higher settings = wider range.
Regen(eration) – adjusts the height of the comb filter peaks by controlling feedback through the delay circuitry.  This feeds the effect back onto itself for more phasing/time delay.  This knob is also what takes you from subtle to totally tripped out alien robot space monster sounds.

Even at low and subtle settings, I love what this pedal does to the guitar.  It excites your playing and makes it feel more alive while thickening the tone up a bit.  At more extreme settings, you can really impart a sense of movement and make people feel sea-sick.  The DOD FX75-B makes it hard to tell sometimes if it is actually chorusing or phasing, but that’s what I love.  It puts a mystical, intangible quality into your riffs.  I implore you to stop over-looking flanger pedals and dare you to put one on your board.  I guarantee if you’re a modulation fan, you’ll enjoy it.  If not, send it to me.

DOD is now owned by Harmon/Digitech who has released a few reissue pedals under the DOD name, but if you want in on the great DOD pedals of yore, your best bet is to check out EBay or Reverb.com.

Check out my band’s new single, ‘I Miss You’, for an example of how I used the DOD FX75-B to achieve 80’s tone for modern rockingness.

As always, let me know what you think!  Please leave me a comment below and tell me how right I am.  Or what your favorite flanger pedal is.

That’s all, thanks for reading!

Love,

Nick
The Pedal File

The Pedal File: Yay Pedal News!

Hey there!  I realize you may not spend your time scouring the web for new pedals to feed your horrible pedal addiction, which is why The Pedal File is at your service.  It’s been  a minute and I’ve been seeing blurbs here and there about various new pedals that are getting me all bothered and excited!  I thought I’d share this stuff with you so you can also be excited and feel ahead of the curve and like you’re better than others (because you so are just for reading my site right now!).

Earthquaker Devices Palisades

Earthquaker Devices Palisades

I saw some forum posts about this new overdrive/distortion from the folks at Earthquaker.  Apparently some goober was touring the shop, took a pic of this unreleased pedal, and thought it was cool to post on Tumblr or something, which of course spread through the pedal community faster than Ricky Martin’s butt cheeks in front of a mariachi band.  No big deal, right?  Honestly, not a huge deal, but he probably should’ve asked if it was cool beforehand as it seems Earthquaker was scrambling to stop the wild speculation of what type of pedal it was and let it be known this was no hoax.  But now, ToneReport has the scoop that this baby is a indeed a distortion device, featuring parameters that seem to combine distortioning, EQing, and buffering.

(***Pedal File Editor’s Note:  Premier Guitar printed a press release from Earthquaker claiming the Palisades is basically a TS808 Tubescreamer with all the bells, whistles, mods, curves, and angles you could possibly want on the TS808 circuit.  Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the Tubescreamer, but I’m still excited because do you know what I’m a big fan of?  VERSATILITY!)

My favorite tweakables are:
-the ability to toggle between two different gain settings (via Gain A/B knobs & a stomp switch)
-you have some control over the bandwidth frequency going into the pedal with a rotary switch.  There are actually 5 total frequencies to select, so you have a lot of tone options there.  Kind of like a frequency knob on a distortion pedal (think the Rat here).
-another rotary switch selects how you want to ‘clip’ the signal or in other words – how do you want to distort the signal?  The Palisades offers 6 ways to do so:

Diode life (no clipping): not sure what this means.  I’m guessing you can use this setting more as a clean boost or for tone shaping?
LED:  more of a low-gain, edge-of-breakup sound
MOSFET: higher gain
Asymmetrical Silicon: clips the waveform unevenly or asymmetrically providing more compression/clarity.
Full silicon: I assume this is symmetrical clipping meaning it clips the positive and negative cycle of a waveform evenly giving the effect of more distortion (as opposed to asymmetrical clipping)
Schottkey diode clipping: I’ve never heard of this diode before.  After some research it looks like people traditionally put them directly in their guitar with a way to switch them on for more gain.  I like the idea of using something in a way it was not intended.  The description of the way they sound makes me think this has a ‘germanium’ texture to it.

This is apparently what happens when a man like Jamie Stillman gets to be alone all day with electronics.  If you need to replace your whole collection of overdrives with one pedal, this one could and should be it.

For some more info/pics check out the most recent ToneReport.

 

Wampler Latitude Deluxe Tremolo

Wampler Latitude Tremolo

I’m a big fan of Wampler pedals.  They are solid, versatile, and sound great.  So naturally I’m excited for their new deluxe tremolo.  The Latitude, much like the Palisades, is a knob-tweaker’s dream.  Most tremolos these days are suited for either a vintage or modern sound and feature about 2 or 3 knobs (yawn!).  Empress and a few others make very nice and tweakable trems but they’re awful expensive and big.  Wampler has proven again that they really can compete in the pedal trade by jamming so many cool features into such little enclosures (You get controls more recognizble on a delay pedal for instance, like tap tempo and four selectable time subdivisions).  Brian Wampler is stepping up his game, yo!

My favorite tweakables are:
– the wave form selector.  Select from square, bell, or sine waves for different trem flavors.  Get some vintage amp tremolo or modern helicopter (judo) chop.
-the spacing knob.  Increases the space between volume bursts or ‘throbs’ or ‘pulsations’.  It controls the amount of ‘dead space’ while you play.
-the attack knob.  Adjust from punchy all the way to rolled off attack.  Possibly can do volume swells.  Sweet!  With these three controls alone you can do much more than the average tremolo.

The Latitude has no price listed until the official release (May 29th) but I’d imagine this one falls around the $200 mark.  If you’re in the market for a new tremolo I just found it for you.

Check out Wampler’s site for more info.

That’s my update for you, I hope you feel that much more informed.  Stay tuned for some cool new things coming soon the the site!

Thanks for reading.

Love,

Nick
The Pedal File

Pedal Feature – MAK Crazy Sound Technology

Hey, good to see you again.

mak_000

For today’s post I’d like to talk about an obscure company making some impressive pedals – MAK Crazy Sound Technology (extra point for having a great name).  I recently stumbled upon this Ukraine-based company while watching Dennis Kayzer’s ‘Best Guitar Effects of 2013’ compilation and was really impressed with the sound quality and versatility of their pedals.  Finding out info about MAK and their products is difficult though because their website is in Russian or something, but check out their Facebook or Youtube page for sounds and more info.

Currently they offer three pedals, each with multiple modes and a leaning toward great synth tones:  the Octronix — an octave, shimmer, reverb, & something they call ‘synthaver’ pedal that sounds similar to the EHX POG or EQD Organizer, the Temporal Time Machine — a very trippy ambient delay, and the Space Reverb — a totally spaced-out reverb.  I think it’s awesome they take the time to pack so many tone features into one pedal when they could easily split them into separate pedals.  Aside from great sound quality, I’m a big sucker for tonal versatility.

spacereverb
After listening and doing a little research I was convinced I had to try one, so I ordered the Space Reverb from MAK on Ebay.  I’m anxiously awaiting it’s arrival (how long does it take to ship a package from the Ukraine to Ohio??) and will post a demo as soon as it comes.  In the meantime, check out their pedals and get one for yourself before everyone else does.

It’s great to see that anyone anywhere in the world can make a wave in the pedal community with an original and good-sounding design.  Good luck to MAK, can’t wait to play one and spread the word!

Check out the Dennis Kayzer video below and stay tuned for my own demo of the Space Reverb.  Please comment and let me know what you think about these crazy pedals in the meantime.

Thanks for reading,

Love,

Nick
The Pedal File

ZVex Fat Fuzz Factory Review

Jan. 19, 2014

ZVEX – FAT FUZZ FACTORY
661_0_ZVEX_Fat_Fuzz_Factory_VEXTER_VFFF

www.zvex.com

Check 1…1, 2, aaaaaaand welcome to the next installment of Pedal File!  Today I’m going to covet the highly under-rated Zvex Fat Fuzz Factory (from now referred to as FFF for efficiency) and tell you what I think about their update to a solid 20-year-old design.  Also I had a go at making another video for your viewing enjoyment.

The original Fuzz Factory was released in the mid-90′s and can be heard on a lot of cool albums making lots of different noises from players of varied musical genres.  This is what made it appealing to me, and after I heard about the newly updated version this past year I figured I should own one.  The really cool thing that sold me on the FFF was that you still get an original Fuzz Factory circuit with the same controls/sound, but now with a toggle switch to add some crazy really way-down-low-pants-around-your-ankles-deep water-abyssal-penetrating-sub bass oscillation.  Not just one mode of sub-oscillation, but two, each with different tonal character and ability to create wild textures, sounds, feedback, pulses, cracks, moans, shrieks, and many other noises that sound wonderful but can (for real) hurt/damage your ears and (probably) attract the attention of distant alien civilizations.  On top of that, you won’t find any cheap components, jacks, knobs, or other tweakables on this one.  Despite its compact size, the FFF is a heavy piece of machinery built to handle your torture devices as well as put out an impressive array of pleasing and torturous tones.

Experimenting with the FFF is like lighting off fireworks in your hand.  If you’re not careful, one goes off too early, you end up with mangled appendages, but have a cool story to tell people at bars.  Admittedly, I’m the kid who lights the wolfpack on the ground and runs as far away as possible:  when messing with the knobs I keep the volume low until I’m sure the smoke has cleared and can approach a normal volume.   Seriously I can’t say it enough…This pedal can get super, duper loud.  But again, that’s why it’s cool:  dangerousness, my pet!

I have respect for ZVex as a company because on top of designing solid pedals they seem to value experimentation.  The manual doesn’t contain more than a few sentences to describe what does what to get what sound.  It even starts with an amusing disclaimer, “Although the five knobs are named for the parameters over which they seem to have the most control, please don’t hold us to it.”

I did my best to describe the controls in my own words.  Of course, you may end up more confused after reading what I have to say…

Tweakables:

Volume – Output level.  This control is blazing.  I keep it from about 8 to noon.  All the way cranked I think you begin to implode and incinerate on a cellular level.

Gate – Like a noise gate.  For those unfamiliar, this kills noise after the end of sustain and is useful for really high gain without crazy amounts of hissing, noise, and feedback in between notes. Tweak to the right to eliminate noise, stopping just as it disappears, or you can use it to tune the feedback pitch in the words of Zachary Vex, “If you’re that kind.”  So yea, you can set what frequency at which your sustained notes feedback.   Speaking of which, by letting this pedal feedback and then turning knobs you can make moaning synth noises as if you’re turning a frequency knob.  This is however, not intuitive and you must use the knobs in conjunction with each other to get all the way from high to low.  It is, however, fun and sounds amazing.  Turning the knob to the left opens the gate.  *Pedalfile Note: when the gate is all the way down, the Stab knob should be turned all the way up to eliminate crazy squealing in between notes.

Comp – Adds attack characteristics when turned to the left and gets softer when turned to the right, and suddenly ‘pinches’ or tightly compresses the tone when all the way right.  Also tunes in “…fat feedbacky fuzz, if you’re that kind.”  Zvex suggests you lower the Stability and see what happens to this control….I did.  Ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong!  You can achieve different tones/effects and in most cases digitized ‘elephant making love to a pig’ fornicational noises by selecting the different modes of the pedal and then turning the Comp knob left and right.  (More about how the tones change with the toggle switched sub modes below).

Drive – This knob increases distortion when used as a “normal” fuzz and adjusts feedback pitch and tonal thickness, again, “…if you’re that kind. This control becomes meaningless when Comp is all the way right.”  But it’s so much more…It’s really interesting and to me sort of counter-intuitive that you can still get pretty gnarly fuzz tones with the drive knob turned down.  I don’t usually mark settings on a pedal or write them down, but it’s a good idea with this one.  Until you get the hang of the controls it can be hard to get back to the village once you’re too far into the dark enchanted forest and all the glowing eyes are upon you.  Just do us both a favor and write down your settings, mmkay?

Stab – Like what you do with a knife, or I guess it’s short for ‘Stability’.  But I like the idea of this knob increasing the amount of knives in one’s hand with which to stab.  Or you can think of taking your blade from dull and rusty to sharp and shiny.  ZVex says to “…use all the way right. Do not attempt to adjust this control below 2:00, unless you like your fuzz soft and squishy. Use to control feedback pitch. WARNING: Many “incorrect” settings on this pedal squeal. This may annoy the faint-hearted. If you use the example settings, you won’t get hurt. We don’t want to see anyone hurt.”  This is one area where I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Vex.  I like having this set low, sometimes even all the way down.  Saying this pedal squeals is an understatement, but if it’s being too unruly just turn the gate up until it kills the squeal.  It does make your fuzz soft and squishy, but to me it sounds good at times and adds even more tonal versatility.

Tones

One tonal offering I coaxed was a glitchy, synthy lower octave.  It tracked pretty well until I played complex chords, which turn into really cool bit-crushed, velcro-y, lo-fi weirdness.  When I plucked high notes, they seemed to almost arpeggiate while they sustained, then quickly died.  Another setting sounded like my amp and guitar were being eaten alive from the inside by some sort of crazy electronic circuit-eating virus.  There’s no taming the very low, rebellious and reed-like tones with some settings.  You’re best bet is to turn the Comp knob up and make fun blast off noises.  Turning the guitar volume knob also produces different squeals and conjures tones like a revving Atari racecar engine crashing into a nuclear reactor.  I was also able to achieve a beautiful hi-octave, almost ring-mod like tone.  Also, on the right night, when I turn my guitar volume down all the way, I’ve been able to pick up strange radio frequencies of ominous fundamental religious speeches.  It has freaked me out, man, on multiple occasions before I realized it was the damn pedal.

Those of you who like to play what you hear on the radio probably won’t be turned on by all this pedal offers.  I’m surprised though because any square law-abiding citizen can make this thing play nice.  At virtually any setting, by turning your guitar volume down, the tone can be very clean, crisp, and compressed like a tube amp with great pick definition.  Turn your knob back to ’10′ and you can be over-stimulating ear va-jay-jays with anything from smooth sexy fuzz, to highly compressed fuzz, to seriously scratchy Velcro fuzz, to hi-octave fuzz, to transistor radio fuzz, to peach fuzz, to fuzzy dingleberries.  As with most fuzzes though, it does not always play super well with buffers or compressors.  They change what comes out of the FFF, so keep that in mind when finding a spot on your board.

Sub-Mode Switch

The sub modes (2 & 3 selected with the toggle switch) are very cool little sub-oscillators, and I’m still learning new things about them every time I play.  I’ve really been into synth pedals lately and was pleased that by applying a little chorus or other modulation to one of these modes and dialing the comp knob properly I could sound like a convincing synth with a lot of great texture and surprising amount of fullness.  The oscillation speed and frequency can be controlled by turning the different knobs in different directions (seriously you have to tweak and listen to get a feel for this) and can be a slow tick or fast squealing, tunable, feedbacky noise.  Zvex says these modes sound great on bass, which I’m sure they do.  In theory, anything with extra bottom end should sound extra good when put through the FFF.  If you wanna make it fuzzy that is!  I recently used it on a recording with a drum machine, and it sounded like a drum kit made of broken glass played with sandpaper sticks while it was raining frozen nails.  Also this one time, I used the FFF with my wife’s keyboard and it also turned it into a beast like I gave it Dr. Jeckyll elixir.  It transformed into a monstrous ripping bass synth, like a fire-breathing Mechagodzilla.  In other words, it was fucking cool and now I look forward to hearing it on anything.

Conclusion

This pedal is first and foremost for grimy degenerates with dungeon basements and mad scientists who like to melt faces and face the unpredictable.  To truly get it, you have to play with it until it makes sense.  It’s like a magic eye, one day the image becomes clear.  The best place to start is with the suggested settings but these are just the tip of the teat.  Anyone who loves noise should own this pedal, and everyone who loves great fuzz and distortion should own this pedal.  I’m convinced your mom, a priest, rabbi, hipster, and/or donkey could use this pedal and find multiple settings they each love tailored to what their individual ears (be it human or donkey) think sounds good.

To bring forth as much beauty in pedal form as the Zvex Fat Fuzz Factory, I think that Zachary Vex character must be constantly high on peyote, steals his ideas from the CIA, or is a superbly creative and original inventor of silly boxes silly musicians like to step on with silly shoes (please don’t sport pointy elf shoes that look like they were made in the Great Depression)…or all of the above??  After spending time getting to know the Fat Fuzz Factory, I have one suggestion: that it be renamed.  My top three suggestions are ‘Morbidly Obese Fuzz Factory’, ‘Fat, Drunk, & Crapped Your Pants Fuzz Factory’, or the ‘Oprah Factory’.  Honorable mention is ‘Justin Bieber in 10 Years Fuzz Factory’.

And did I mention the warranty is good for life?  God Bless America!  God bless everyone!

Thanks for reading.

Love,

Nick
The Pedal File