Price paid: $ 109.8
Purchased from: GAK
Sound — 9
I use an Ibanez SZ520QM with a swineshead venom bridge pickup into a Laney VC50 or Epiphone Valve Jr amp, with some other effects. You can get some very diverse sounds from this, it's deceptively versatile considering it only has two knobs to alter the tone. It goes from lo-fi, subtle fuzz with the dials low, to completely mental fuzz with the dials set high (though I find the latter tone pretty much unusable). I've used this as a booster for my Valve Jr before and it added a nice fuzzy edge to the amp's Overdrive. I personally run this through the clean channel of my Laney with the sustain dial set to 3 o'clock and the tone dial set to 2 o'clock for an aggressive, spitting fuzz sound. It sounds really fat and huge when playing rhythm, and I can get a great wailing lead sound (especially when I use my wah with it). This unit is supposedly voiced somewhere between the American and Russian units, I wouldn't know as I've never tried the other two.
Overall Impression — 8
I think this is a brilliant piece of equipment, however if you don't like fuzz then you won't like this, there's no getting around that. I play hard rock music with my band, and anything from jazz funk to thrash outside of that. This pedal won't do everything, in fact it's kind of a niche pedal, as fuzz doesn't really suit most genres. I use it for a couple of my band's songs and it sounds fantastic, a nice contrast to a conventional distorted or overdriven sound. If it were stolen or lost I'd definitely buy another one, just because I love it so much. I think the pedal's fine as it is - it's a fuzzbox, does what it says on the tin. There are other fuzzes worth looking into - Notably the Zvex Fuzz Factory - but for the price this is a hard fuzz to beat. I'm giving this an 8 just because of it's fairly limited usage for some people. But it what it does do, it does brilliantly.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This pedal is just a metal box with a circuit inside. It could survive being thrown out of the window. The switch isn't as durable as those found on some of my other pedals, but it's a very reliable pedal and has never cut out or broken on me. The addition of a standard 9 volt adaptor jack gives it a big advantage over the Russian and American versions, as does the smaller size.
Ease of Use — 8
This thing's pretty simple, three knobs, Sustain (equivalent to gain, essentially), Tone, and Volume. It takes a fair bit of tweaking to get the tone you want, but all the sounds you get out of this are usable. The pedal gets an 8 for this because a small change in the tone knob's position in particular can make a big change to the sound.