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NPD: Basic Audio Zonk You Very Much!

la noise

Senior Member
Messages
21,156
Warning: I am going to gush. No. Not like that. :facepalm I am talking about me,
and how I am going to gush about a pedal I feel totally stoked to have on
my board now. It is the Basic Audio Zonk. Looks like this:




John recommended I try this one out. I sure am glad he did. Thanks, John! :aok

It is far and away my favourite Bender-esque Fuzz. While not, technically,
a MKI Tonebender, it can be considered as being on that branch of the
Fuzz Family Tree. According to John he has tweaked the original Zonk
circuit, which was reportedly first made by Solasound for Hornby-
Skewes--a music retailer--in the mid 60's. You might notice that this is a
Silicon-based Fuzz. Not sure what the purists would have to say about
this. All I know is that whatever magic John has worked on his version of
the Zonk leaves me lacking for nothing from this pedal. I feel the Basic
Audio Zonk has addressed a few issues that I have had with many
Benders.

1) It stays tight in the low-register. There is no mush here. It does not
squish out or flub out. Not even into a dirty amp! :aok

2) For a Si-based Fuzz the clean up is out of this world. It cleans up better
than any Si-based Fuzz I have ever used. In fact, I would put the
clean-up of the Basic Audio Zonk on par with some of the best Ge-based
Fuzzes out there. There is none of the thinning out of the tone you
normally hear with Si-based Fuzz.

3) Being a Si-based Bender it can be a bit "bright." However, it is not
"bright" in an ear-splitting way. There is nothing shrill about the "cut" of
the Zonk. In fact, the Tone on this pedal functions in an amazing way. It
does not seem to be a standard Tone that either brightens or darkens the
overall tone of the signal. It seems to be more of a mid-shift kind of tonal
adjustment. It seems to shift and attenuate the mids at the same time.
Using the Zonk with multiple guitars (SG, LP, Tele) I have found the Tone
adjustment on this pedal to be just perfectly and uniquely voiced for dialing
in the right frequency for whatever guitar I am playing.... or for what type
of tone I am striving for, based on the song I am using the Zonk in.

Perhaps John will chime in with more details on how the Tone works--from
a more technical perspective. :)

Ok.... how about a clip or two?? :JAM

Here's a tidy little clip of an in-house live recording of the Zonk.

[SOUNDCLOUD]https://soundcloud.com/lonesome-rust/basic-audio-zonk-1[/SOUNDCLOUD]

Here's a different clip, with another vibe going on. Added some Catalinbread Belle Epoch to this
track as well as some MXR Script Phase 90 on the outro. This is such a fun pedal to play! :aok

[SOUNDCLOUD]https://soundcloud.com/lonesome-rust/zoom1681[/SOUNDCLOUD]
 
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Empros

Member
Messages
10,442
No squish - win! That's what worried me about this one... And as for the tone knob: If you wanted it to get darker, can it get there? Sounds great though.

Also: nice clip!
 

la noise

Senior Member
Messages
21,156
i was groven out….why'd the groove stop…the end….boooooooooooooooooo !!!!
:D

I had to fade out before I faded out.... if you know what I mean. ;)

No worries. I have more. Adding another clip right now, in fact. :aok
 

la noise

Senior Member
Messages
21,156
No squish - win! That's what worried me about this one... And as for the tone knob: If you wanted it to get darker, can it get there? Sounds great though.

Also: nice clip!

If you max the Fuzz on it there is a far more squishy
and compressed tone lurking in there. But that is only
at MAX setting. I seldom go there. Nice to have. But that
is not where the Gold is, if you ask me. :)

I don't think the Zonk is capable of being a "dark" pedal.
You would NEVER get lost in the mix with this thing. It's articulate
nature in concert with the wonderful voicing of the mids makes it
stand out. Those who want dark have Muffs. ;)
 

Empros

Member
Messages
10,442
If you max the Fuzz on it there is a far more squishy
and compressed tone lurking in there. But that is only
at MAX setting. I seldom go there. Nice to have. But that
is not where the Gold is, if you ask me. :)

I don't think the Zonk is capable of being a "dark" pedal.
You would NEVER get lost in the mix with this thing. It's articulate
nature in concert with the wonderful voicing of the mids makes it
stand out. Those who want dark have Muffs. ;)
Those who want dark just don't want harsh ;) I really like the sound of this though. Pretty sure it'll be my next BA purchase after I get a couple of things I already have on order from him. Sounds like it'd be a great lead pedal!
I never max out fuzz too. It usually always gets squishy, no matter the pedal, and I'm not a fan of the squish.

Also, that Zonk looks very nice! Love the finish.
 

la noise

Senior Member
Messages
21,156
Those who want dark just don't want harsh ;)
Totally. I get that, Empros. It is one of the things that wows me so much
about the Zonk. It is so articulate and stands out without being harsh. How is
this possible?? :huh

And not unlike the Scarab Deluxe, it can be both a killer lead pedal... or...
a riffing, rhythm machine. :)
 

TrainBridge

Member
Messages
428
Picked this up about 2-3 weeks ago and it's stellar. Mines all black but the copper looks rad too. It was either this or the pep fuzz. I got the pep fuzz today (I couldn't resist) so I'm gonna have a shoot out tomorrow. High noon.

Either way the zonk is staying on the board.
 

la noise

Senior Member
Messages
21,156
Awesome, Trainbridge! Glad to know I am not alone in my gush-fest
for the Zonk. Come back and share your thoughts on the Pep when you
have some time. :)
 

AXXA

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,109
Ah, here's that thread I was looking for! Thanks for the clips, this is an intriguing fuzz
 

arem

Member
Messages
1,255
Interesting, I had one of these and had the exact opposite experience. As soon as I dug in and played hard I found that the pedal compressed really hard and squished like crazy. And I'm talking with a Telecaster, not a high output humbucker. To be sure, the pedal had some great sounds in there, but for the way I play it was unusable. Of course, I play like a neanderthal so user error is entirely to blame, I just thought it was worth mentioning as a counter-point. You made it sound great in the clips for sure.
 

la noise

Senior Member
Messages
21,156
I wonder if John has made some further tweaks in the
meantime, arem??? :huh

When did you have one?

Seems like I recall John mentioning to me that he
worked on this circuit quite a bit so it would hold up
better when hitting it hard like that on the front-end.

It was quite shocking to me, because I have been used
to Benders getting a little too squishy and compressed when
hit hard. It has been the one characteristic that has stood out
the most to me. Anywhere below 3:00 on the Fuzz level and the
one I have stays tighter my Father's wallet while I was growing up. ;)
 

flcmcya

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,463
Damn Noise! The last clip had me put on dark glasses, a Black beanie and Peacoat, hop on my Schwinn stingray and ride off into the sunset!

Good tone from the Zonk. :bow
 

Empros

Member
Messages
10,442
Interesting, I had one of these and had the exact opposite experience. As soon as I dug in and played hard I found that the pedal compressed really hard and squished like crazy. And I'm talking with a Telecaster, not a high output humbucker. To be sure, the pedal had some great sounds in there, but for the way I play it was unusable. Of course, I play like a neanderthal so user error is entirely to blame, I just thought it was worth mentioning as a counter-point. You made it sound great in the clips for sure.
John said he was working on getting rid of the squish in another thread. Maybe he succeeded! I remember reading it was squishy and that turned me off of it.

Totally. I get that, Empros. It is one of the things that wows me so much
about the Zonk. It is so articulate and stands out without being harsh. How is
this possible?? :huh

And not unlike the Scarab Deluxe, it can be both a killer lead pedal... or...
a riffing, rhythm machine. :)
I like pedals that can cut through without being harsh. That's one of my favourite things about John's pedals! I'll probably pick up a Zonk. Maybe in a wedge enclosure...
 

SirGilmour

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,050
I'm pretty sure you have an addiction problem Dave.

Great looking pedal and nice clips. Have you purchased another Futureman yet? ;)
 






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