Purchased from: RIT Holland
Ease of Use — 3
Despite having a very simple control layout, this is probably one of the most difficult to use OD pedals I've ever owned. One would assume that a boutique pedal from a well known company would be easy to get a good sound from, unfortunately this wasn't my experience. First, this pedal is very sensitive to whether or not there is a buffer in the signal after it. Without a buffered pedal in the chain after it, the Fuse sounds very subdued and muddy, while having a buffered pedal in the chain made it very bright and shrill. To top it off, the instructions make no mention of what the intended use is. Also, this unit has a 3 way toggle to swap between traditional TS, clean boost, and treble booster modes, but the modes aren't labeled, nor are they identified in the included instructions or online. And to be honest, when combined with the buffer nonsense, I wasn't able to get the desired effect of each mode, in fact it was often difficult to tell which mode it was supposed to be. For a $200 pedal, I was quite disappointed. This pedal should have a built in buffer, at least when the effect is engaged, so that it can be predictably used in any effects chain, and so the controls can be fine-tuned for the intended use. Granted, I may be "missing the point" intended by the builder, but what that point is I'm not sure because it's not mentioned online or in the included print. Between the poor instructions and unusual idiosyncrasies of this pedal, I give it low marks for ease of use.
Sound — 5
I must say, the potential of this pedal is inspiring - unfortunately the reality was a disappointment for me. It has one of the smoothest breakup characters of anything I've every played through, amps or pedals, especially in the TS type mode. The other modes can approach a more ballsy Marshall crunch. So for drive character, it's an absolute 10. Unfortunately, poor EQ and difficulty to use in combination with buffered pedals doomed this one for exile from my pedalboard. Using it with a buffer following was the only way I could get what I considered a useable sound, although the "glass" control had to be at its lowest settings or the tone would get shrill. Making things more difficult, this pedal seemed to have a strange frequency cutoff at the top of the treble range, that took away the sparkle from my tone. The combined result was that I always wanted to add treble because of the lack of sparkle, yet turning up the knob made things shrill without adding that last little register of high end. This made the Fuse not very useable for hot blues tones and general rock playing. With the "glass" turned down, the Fuse did sound good for warm, jazzy tones (due to the subdued highs), and adding boost without being too piercing. Overall, I would've been more confident in the sound if the buffer issue were fixed and then the pedal fine tuned for more versatile EQ response.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The strongest point of this pedal was its construction. A solid casing with good quality jacks, knobs, and switch. The footswitch is the soft-switch type, which doesn't click and is very smooth to engage, a real delight. The finish held up well to some light gigging, and I wouldn't be concerned about using it on my board regularly. Definitely lived up to the boutique reputation when it comes to build quality. Still looked and worked like brand new when I sold it, which helped the resale value.
Overall Impression — 5
Overall, this pedal was not my flavor. I think there is a type of player that could love the Fuse, likely someone that plays a bright amp like a Fender Deluxe, and has no buffered pedals, thereby counting on his bright amp to compensate for the darker sound of the Fuse when used with no buffers. But for Lovepedal to design the circuit the way they do really puts a hamper on its versatility and usefulness for a wider range of players. I switched this pedal out for a Wampler Clarksdale, which has been a vast improvement - the Clarksdale has a very wide range of good tones. The Fuse still bests it very slightly when it comes to that smooth breakup, but my choice certainly doesn't haunt me. I'll be steering clear of Lovepedal from here on out, because I just don't trust that I can rely on their products to be useful or predictable.