Russian VS. USA Big Muff

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by elkym, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. elkym

    elkym Member

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    Okay, okay, so it's been addressed before I'm sure. Can we hear it again?

    Votes for and against and why...
     
  2. BigMuffPI

    BigMuffPI Member

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    Both are rubbish imo...

    There are so many other great Muff-pedals out there, as BYOC Large Beaver.
     
  3. mike@nortoncable.com

    mike@nortoncable.com Member

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    I have a green russian 95-96'- sounds grainy & heavily saturated. Very thin sound. and the usa reissue I bought sounds fat, milky, not as saturated, less volume gain.
     
  4. ironpyro

    ironpyro Member

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    The russian sounds terrible. I honestly don't understand the fascination with them. I guess it's the billy corgan fans, but you're not gonna get "that" sound with the russian muff unless you pull a few studio tricks.

    The USA reissue muff isn't bad for the $. It at leasts gives you a tone that is similar to the vintage muffs. The russian doesn't even come close. The black russian how ever is dirt cheap. And the nice thing about all of the muffs (with the exception of the late 70's early 80's IC muffs) is that they all to this day use the same circuit. So you could buy a black russian and spend a few extra bucks on upgrade components and potentially modify it to any version of muff you want.
     
  5. Angle Loss

    Angle Loss Supporting Member

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    You can't say "russian" without specifying which one. The later green (bubble letters) and black ones I don't care for. However the early blue/silver and early green (tall thin font) sound much better than the later ones. Just like the American ones which differ (triangle, lamb's head, NYC, etc), so do the russian ones.

    Out of all the different ones I had, my early Russian beat out everything---that was until I built one. I made a homemade muff from a generalguitargadgets board and traced my blue/silver muff and made some changes to what evolved into the best sounding muff I've ever had (beat out the vintage stuff).

    If you are savvy with a soldering iron, building a custom one (figuring out your favorite values with the tone control, gain amount, etc) is a lot of fun. Similarly, you can get a small box usa muff and mod it easily and have a better than original sounding unit.
     
  6. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I thought that. but it's so much work - you'd probably want to replace the pots, the switch, the jacks, and all the wiring as well as the components that don't sound so good... and possibly rehouse it too :) - that even though I could have done it, I just got rid of it and got a Frantone Sweet instead. (Which is not a direct clone, but is a better pedal anyway IMO.)

    FWIW, I had a non-'true'-bypass black version, and it was the worst tone-sucker I've ever come across, and the only pedal I've ever got rid of largely because of that. It was so bad even running it after a Boss pedal didn't cure it completely.
     
  7. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    out of todays muffs:

    black russian:

    throaty, wooly, and of course fuzzy. IMO, this works much better as a bass distortion


    silver USA:

    much richer and fatter... more of a "violin" type effect, with a very rich top end that muffs are known for.
     
  8. mike@nortoncable.com

    mike@nortoncable.com Member

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    The green ones are great- Get one and tweak it right. I dialed mine in and taped the knobs down with gaffers tape.. YOU Can get smashing pumpkins wall of fuzz sound with russian muffs, you need 3 layers to get it. Not 1.
     
  9. ironpyro

    ironpyro Member

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    Exactly. IMO all of the russian muffs sound the same. green, black, or blue. Thin. raspy. gated. no sustain. Not at all like the trademark sound of any of the american made muffs.
     
  10. ironpyro

    ironpyro Member

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    You don't need to change any pots. Just a handful of resistors and capacitors.
     
  11. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Well, you probably don't need to change the pots, but they're extremely crap quality - like the switch, jacks and wiring - and if you're going to bother upgrading the pedal you might as well do the job properly IMO. In the short time I had mine - which admittedly I bought used - one pot, one jack and finally the switch broke. I thought about replacing the switch with a better 'true' bypass one and curing the tone suck at the same time, but the quality of the rest of the thing put me off so much that I really didn't want to have any more invested in it at that point - even doing the jobs was a pain, at least one other wire broke each time - so I just put in the cheapest one I could find and sold it.
     
  12. funkycam

    funkycam Member

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    I have a black russian. It is far from thin raspy or gated.
    Thick & warm.
    Build quality is garbage tho & the jacks are pcb mounted :(
    The pots in particular just feel crappy
     
  13. NoFi

    NoFi Member

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    Sorry but that is a myth. The Creamy Dreamer was bought by Billy Corgan in 1999 sometime when a story was printed in the Toronto Sun about a teenager (jeff doucette) who took his electronics hobby and turned it into a "business" of pedal building and moding (under the name "sustain punch"). That guy Jeff Doucette was in fact "borrowing" ideas from the diy community on how to modify BM to make them sound more like the smashing pumpkins records. So the creamy dreamer was out well after the SP had released siamese dream and melon collie. They used the creamy dreamer during the arising! tour... no one really seems to know if it was used in the studio to record the following records.
    I dont care much about the SP but it's just a pain to read this incorrect statement again and again.

    I agree the best thing to do is to take the time to modify or build a big muff of your own. It is true the russian version is different from the trademark big muff tone but it's not bad per see : I would say the russian circuit is better to use as a tight distortion for chords and the reissue USA one is better for that thick sustaining tones when playing leads (or very noisy chords).
    But really it is my experience that the big muffs made at the moment under the sovtek brand (black muff) or the EH brand (the big one) are very dissapointing except maybe for soloing or noise making. They have a very "non smooth" sound, an annoying harsh electric buzz thing in the highs that's quite hard to dial out, and have too much gain for my tastes. I have an early russian green one i really like, and i also liked a 76 Ram's head i sold a few months ago, they were a lot more versatile. The newer ones are probably more usable with a dark setup, if you dont mind tweaking your amp so that it fits to the pedal, or if you dont mind spending your time playing with the volume pot on the guitar to tame the gain.

    I did not try the last EH little big muff, but it is supposed to be good.

    BTW, all sovtek and EH BM are now true bypass from the factory.
     
  14. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Sorry... that's the sort of thing I usually complain about too :( - although I did at least say 'supposedly' :). If you read it enough times in enough places on the net, it must be true...

    Original quote deleted.
     
  15. mike@nortoncable.com

    mike@nortoncable.com Member

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    I think the creamy dreamer sucked.

    Anyway in defense of the Green/Black russian muffs. They're not supposed to be smooth. Its a raunchy mr.nasty fuzz pedal.. Its grind is what Grunge was/is. Its a good NON 1000's of dollars costing solution for quick easy sound garden out of the box. Everyones first mistake is comparing it to the 1970's NYC/Rams head circuit. Its not a triangle muff folks its a $59 square wave fuzz box.. They only sound good for bashing put power chords and the dynamics are shoddy at best. Its not a soloing pedal either.. The fuzz engine doesnt articulate single notes well thus making soloing sound like poopy.

    Green Big muff= rythm pedal.
    Anyone who has one would know not to solo with it.
     
  16. Andy J.

    Andy J. Member

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    +1, thick and warm is exactly how I'd describe my black Russian. I have a new LBM, too, but it don't play nice with my other pedals, so it's on the block... The black Russian doesn't have to play nice, since it only sees studio use nowadays, used by itself.
     
  17. Angle Loss

    Angle Loss Supporting Member

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    I find that statement about all russians being gated, thin, and raspy silly. Even the difference between the Lamb's head, original and ri NYC, Silver/Blue, and two different version Greens I had were not that different in terms of circuit. The NYC and and Lamb's Head have more midrange (from the tone control) and the Russians tend to have slightly more dip in the mids. The rest of the circuit structure is basically the same with a few minor parts variations. All and all it is not day and night. I found all of them to be cool, but some I liked better (s/b, early green and lamb). The later green was thinner sounding, but the earlier green one was the fattest of all the muffs I had including the Lamb's head.

    Just the very nature of the tone control allows you fat and woolly to sizzle-ly depending how you dial it in.
     
  18. elkym

    elkym Member

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    So I got a Russian. I think I'll end up modding it...
     
  19. kujoalt

    kujoalt Member

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    I thought Billy Corgan used a 70's American Big Muff...He also used a Fender Blender, which could be confused for the Russian, I think...
     
  20. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Supporting Member

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    Anybody notice that the Russian Muffs have been discontinued? I saw an Ebay ad in which the guy said that they weren't made any more, and I was about to send him a message about it, and decided to check the New Sensor site, and he was right. No longer listed in the products pages, except under "discontinued products". Surprised me.

    Al
     

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