I ordered a Menatone Fish Factory from the Custom Shop a while back and it arrived last week. I’ve had plenty of time to get used to the variety of sounds that this thing produces so I figured I’d write a short review. Gear-wise, I run Teles & an Esquire through a couple of different amps, but the main amp I use these days is one that I built which incorporates the front end of a Vox EF86 based design and the power section of a Tweed Pro running into a Weber Blue Dog 30 watt and Silver Bell 15 watt 12” alnico. I’ve owned a couple of Blue Collars (older 4 knob PTP versions, one Skinny guy and one Fat guy for you Menatone connoisseurs) but never had a chance to play a Red Snapper. After talking with Brian about the possibility of getting the Fish Factory in a custom red enclosure like the old Red Snappers, I decided to bite the bullet and order one… I really wanted the RS, so the BC was sort of just a bonus in my eyes. BLUE COLLAR: The 3 knob version of this circuit seems a bit more open in the midrange and a lot less compressed at low gain settings than my old 4 knob BCs. I was caught off guard by that, and I find myself getting a TON of use out of this side as a result. This thing does great medium gain sounds and the TONE pot really lets you cut pretty deep into the high end without muddying up the midrange. The mids in this unit are terrific… My past BCs were voiced with a really smokey, slightly dark midrange that sounded great but always felt a little too compressed with my already compressed sounding setup (cathode bias, saggy tube rectifier, alnico speakers). This BC cops most of the flavor of the BC midrange but feels looser and clearer in the mids with a very gradual taper on the GAIN pot. It really maintains just the right amount of midrange clarity with my setup without losing that cool “rounded” high end that is the classic BC sound. Some great compression really starts to kick in around 1:00 on the gain pot, and you can get into the same chewy, smokey OD sounds as the old BCs I’ve owned… The real treat though is the surprisingly open low gain tones on this side. So cool. RED SNAPPER: My hopes for the Red Snapper were pretty high as I’ve been trying to score an old 3 knobber for quite some time. I love a very light and natural overdrive with no artificial diode clipping artifacts for playing weird rhythm chords and getting into that “dirty clean” region where I spend most of my time. The Red Snapper is voiced for clarity and cut, and can be quite bright with a bright rig. What’s nice about this aspect of the RS is that I can run the BITE pot anywhere in its travel & get useable sounds… If I need to get a flat EQ when I’m running a tele bridge PU with my amp set bright, I can dial the pot down all the way with no ill effect…Still plenty of clarity and no harsh breakup. If I’m running a darker amp & darker guitar, the BITE pot really comes in handy to add cut & presence. The BITE feels more like a treble boosting control to me, at least with my rig --- Seems like it adds highs from about 9:00 up. Very nice. Breakup of the RS is extremely natural and gradual, and the EQ of the mids and lows is pretty close to flat…. It doesn’t hype any particular frequencies if you set it with the BITE low, but can really cut if you need it to. STACKED: Honestly, I wasn’t anticipating that I’d use the two sides stacked very often. After discovering the beautiful mid-gain sounds of the BC side, though, I have really come to use this feature a LOT. I set the RS up for a light gain with no volume bump, then the BC is set up for a low-medium gain with a very slight volume bump. The two combined gives me a TERRIFIC medium gain rhythm tone that is still dynamic and cleans up VERY well with the volume pot on my tele. Crank the gain up on the BC and you can really get into some great legato sustained notes with this combo. TWEAKS!!! (I can’t help myself…) I have a small boatload of ICs laying around from building my own stuff, so I figured I’d try some chip swapping since both sides are socketed. The FF is terrific as-is, so there’s really no need to go crazy with micro-analyzing the differences between chips…. I did find two that I really love just a touch more than the stock 4558s, so I figured I’d share. RS- The old standby Texas Instruments NE5532 sounds really, really good in here. BC- Burr Brown OPA2107 for the win. Most noticeable difference was at higher gain settings… a bit more focus & balanced EQ. (NOTE: I just looked these up at Mouser and they seem to be crazy expensive now? I swear I paid about $5 apiece for mine, but they are listed at $16 a pop now. At that price, keep the stock chip in! NE5532 was pretty close, too, and costs about a buck.) EDITED: OPA2107 doesn't like to drop below 9V... will be trying some new OPAMPS in this slot For the size, price, and performance of this overdrive, I honestly think it is a terrific OD option that more folks should consider. You basically get 3 useable drive flavors for the price of your typical hand-made pedal. I’ve been running this in my chain lately with a Honey Bee after it for coloration, and I’ve lost count of how many cool sounds I can get from all of the stacked combinations. Thanks to Brian Mena for a terrific OD with a cool custom finish.