Boutique pedal reviews and discussion

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Neumatics, Dec 15, 2005.


  1. Neumatics

    Neumatics Guest

    Here are my thoughts on some of the boutique pedals i've tried. I have a 4ms Noise Swash but I don't feel like i'm ready to review it. I'm having Dann mod it up into a Max Tweaker, i'll post my thoughts on it after a month or so of playing it. I would also be interested in hearing what other people have to say about the pedals they've tried.

    Effector 13 Truly Beautiful Disaster - I sold this pedal but now I actually want another one. I'm a very weird guitar player, and I play experimental. As such I like all kinds of tones that most guitar players would find unusuable for their styles. I can't imagine most guitar players appreciating the tone of this pedal on its own. The fuzz tone of the virgin TBD is very dark, and often muddy to the point of being unusable. This is true in every amp and guitar combo i've played it through. One cannot get sharp or cutting sounds out of this pedal in my experience. Only someone very weird, like myself, will find uses for these tones. Having said that, this pedal really shines when it starts ****ing other pedals in its feedback loop. It's kind of hard to explain....but I was never disappointed with any pedal I put in the loop, the results were always interesting.

    Effector 13 Improbability Drive - I played the hell out of this thing. Sometimes I liked it, sometimes I found it too limited. Devi says there are tons of sweet spots on this pedal, and that's very true, but the fact that the vast majority of the settings are pretty boring, often times muddy, and more like overdrive than fuzz, is quite disappointing. Unlike the TBD this pedal can get some sharp cutting tones, but I still think calling it a fuzz pedal is wrong. It's a distortion pedal. It's quite good for some weird chording, and I could see some applications with it for lead work. The knobs do surprisingly little. This pedal is not nearly as versatile as e13 would have one believe. Devi is a marketing genius, that's for sure, he knows what to say to sell his pedals. But from what i've seen, they don't live up to his hype. With both of the A/B switches set to off the pedal has a weird TBD-like Oscillating Fuzz tone, only with a bit more range. With A on, the tone becomes much like his "vintage fuzz maker" pedal. Smoother and more standard or "vintage" sounding. The B switch adds depth and darkness to the tone, it seems to most often simply boost the bass. I've kind of blasted Devi in this review, so I will add that this is certainly a quite unique pedal, but my appreciation for it went down the more I played it. I believe he discontinued this pedal because it was too difficult to make and didn't really sound as good as what he wanted.

    Effector 13 Soda Meiser - A combo of his Vintage Fuzz Maker and No Fi chaos pedals. This pedal is a two trick pony. The knobs do very little to affect the tone (hey i'm spoiled by the fuzz factory). The Vintage Fuzz Maker does exactly what he claims it does. It gives one a very warm and musical Hendrix like fuzz tone. I will say this, so many "Hendrix-Style" fuzz pedals don't capture the reckless aspects of his tone. This pedal certainly does. It's got the edge that one needs to truly capture a hendrix playing style. It's just untame enough to be cool, but not untame enough for my tastes, unfortunately. I won't be using this sound, as I have no interest in sounding like Hendrix. This portion of the pedal is quite nice for chording or lead work, very round tones. The most interesting tone in my opinion was with the intensity knob all the way off and the volume cranked, which resulted in a ratty type chord tone that is almost weird enough to be something I would use..but not quite. The No-Fi Chaos does only one thing, but that one thing is pretty cool. A velcro-ish type fuzz tone that reminds one very much of a Fuzz Factory, but with its own unique flavor. The intensity knob does almost nothing to this pedal, it retains the same tone and charactaristics no matter what. I'm disappointed in the lack of versatility but quite pleased with the character of the pedal. I find this portion of the pedal to be quite usable for an experimental musician.

    Fulltone Fulldrive II - I can definately see where someone would like this pedal, if they are one of those guys who want to play super charged leads that are 10x louder than everyone else in the band. I found this pedal to be worthless to my style. It prides itself on its lack of character. Like I said, I can see where some marshall maniac lead guy would like it. Not my cup of tea. I actually liked my japanese Boss SD-1 far more, at least it had some character and bite. I don't really have any use for a pedal that just gives me more of a tone I already have.

    Zvex Fuzz Factory - The greatest pedal i've ever played. When one has played as many fuzz pedals as I have, one appreciates just how well made this pedal is. Every small tweak of each knob gives a satisfying change of tone. This pedal has far more range than any other pedal i've ever played. It really is astonishing. The more one plays it, the more one will realize how much Zvex packed into this thing. Just when you think you have this pedal figured out, and know everything it can do, you will see that little changes to your rig or volume on your guitar will completely change the character of the pedal opening up tons of different tone possibilities. Amazing pedal.
     
  2. olectric

    olectric Member

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    I thought the same thing of the ZVex, and that's why I sold it promptly after receiving it. I switch out gear so much I could never tell what that thing was going to sound like! Lots of unuseable (for me) sounds, but a few VERY cool sounds, too. If I was doing a lot more session work that required a versatile fuzz, I would have kept it. I especially liked the gated static fuzz that pedal was capable of. But, all in all, I opted for the real estate on my pedal board.
     
  3. Neumatics

    Neumatics Guest

    It takes awhile to really learn the pedal. I thought I had it mastered a few weeks after I bought it, but I was wrong. The longer you have it the more you learn to use it, and the more you'll appreciate it.
     
  4. olectric

    olectric Member

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    Yeah, sometimes I wish I had kept it a bit longer. I may end up with another sometime. For fuzzes, that one did it all. It's just that having to guess what it was going to sound like through amp X with guitar Y and in the chain with pedals a_1, a_2, ..., a_n is something I don't have time for.
     
  5. Neumatics

    Neumatics Guest

    I can understand that. a few amps i've played it through it sounded truly awful. It sounded really bad through my Sunn Beta Lead and Musicman hd-130. It's glorious with my Fender Rivera Concert though. I know what you mean though, i've gone through 4 amps this year and about a dozen guitars. Through all that though, I was working my equipment around the fuzz factory, not vice versa. I'm really happy with my current gear. I have 3 vintage Galanti Grand Prix and a Kapa Continental for guitars through the concert. My pedals are a Korg dt-10, e13 soda meiser, 4ms noise swash, fuzz factory
     
  6. teddy boy

    teddy boy Member

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    Yep,

    I've had a Fuzz Factory since 2000. It's never been on my pedalboard. It's a good, once in a time recording fuzz for me. Really hard to set up in a live situation. Everytime I stomp it he settings chance and I end up with the "feedback"-thing. Really versatile though yes, if you have studio EQ to play with.
     
  7. Neumatics

    Neumatics Guest

    Man, i've never had that problem at all. I don't understand what people are saying with that stuff. I can get the same sound out of this thing again and again by going back to the exact same settings on my guitar/amp/ff.
     
  8. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    neumatics, sounds like we're brothers in arms.
    U MUST TRY THE FUZZ PROBE.
    i, too, can quickly dial in very specific effects w/ no problem. it does take a bit of time to learn this pedal and how the controls interact w/ each other. but it ain't that difficult.
    and.....
    if U like the craziness of the FF U should also check out the metasonix agonizer and butt probe. both are extremely high output and kinda need a volume pedal right after them to bring the levels down from atlas rocket to blowtorch. they both also benefit from using a CV to plug in and use w/ their specific controls. sick, sick, sick.
     
  9. Neumatics

    Neumatics Guest

    that sounds cool bro i'll definately check them out.
     

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