Price paid: $ 89
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I run this pedal into a Vox AC4TV half stack, and I mostly play with single coil guitars. The pedal tends to have that tube hum at mid to high gain, which is fine. At lower gain levels the pedal is relatively quiet, which suites me since I rarely take the gain past half. The pedal really does sound good, and it adds a preamp in my setup which the amp itself lacks. It really has warmed up the amp a good bit as well, I have found that the Vox is a bit harsh on its own. I would liken this pedals sound to a classic English tone (surprise!). It cleans up extremely well, but has enough gain room to get a cranked Marshall sound. Placing a Compressor after the pedal results in a really nice controlled gain which sounds a bit like John Mayer. I really am pleased with the variety of tube tones/overdrives present on this amp with just a little tweaking or playing variety.
Overall Impression — 9
I tend to play a bluesier sort of guitar, but have been dabbling in more atmospherics recently. Combined with a reverb and delay the English Muff'n sounds great in both styles. I don't really play heavy music, and I don't think this pedal is appropriate for the highly compressed, tight sounding distortion needed in modern metal, but it has a really nice "loose" feel, which the name seems to describe well. I think the new price tag may be a bit high for the product ($192), but it has extremely good tone which competes with tones from boutique pedal companies. I think the pedal's appeal is the variety of tube tones you get, from warm cleans to light breakup to full out Marshall tones, all by using the volume on your guitar. I wish the pedal had an option for a single tube, since two are just a bit too hot for my amp, but otherwise this pedal is great. I highly recommend it.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The pedal seems to be built well, and the tubes are covered in a heavy duty metal enclosure which has been screwed to the main frame of the pedal. Surprisingly, the pedal doesn't run hot, though the tubes are fairly warm to the touch. It has been used in church settings for several weeks now, and it has performed great. The pedal was used when I acquired it, and it has some scratches on the plating, but it still sounds great. It has the quality build EHX is known for on its floor units, so I suspect this pedal will be reliable for years to come.
Ease of Use — 9
The EHX English Muff'n is an extremely easy to use pedal. Merely plugging it in and turning it on will result in warm tube tones out of any amp. The pedal has a tone stack (Treble, Mids, Bass), a gain knob, and an output volume. Tweaking the gain knob and output volume can create interesting dynamics with a tube amp, though even with a solid state the pedal itself responds to how hard to play. I tend to use it as another gain stage on my little Vox amp, and it works well in this respect. I have found that when the gain is much higher than halfway on the pedal going into my amp that the sound will clip, especially if the bass is turned up. I think this pedal has much more potential for gain on a more powerful amp, but for my purposes it has a nice amount of gain. I think I will swap out the pair of 12AY7s for a pair of 12AU7s to drop the gain level even more eventually. The pedal came with a sheet of paper for a manual, but the knobs and operation are fairly self-explanatory.