Fuzz Factory review by Zvex

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (35 votes)
Zvex: Fuzz Factory
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Price paid: $ 179.99

Purchased from: Online Retailer

Sound — 9
I use it with an Epiphone Les Paul Standard with stock pickups, and an LTD MH-1000 Deluxe with Seymour Duncan JB/59 pickups. I feed it through a Vox Valvetronix AD15VT-XL modeling amp. This pedal is obviously very noisy, it's two old-stock germanium transistors allow for an internal oscillation that you can control using the Stab, Drive, and Comp knobs. This can create very interesting and spacey squeals along and controllable feedback. This pedal is VERY affected by the equipment you use it with. For example, it seems to be very squealy when I use my Epiphone Les Paul through it, sometimes the effect overpowers the actual sound of the guitar. But I find that the MH-1000 with it's hotter pickups keeps the Fuzz Factory at bay. Every knob you turn or Switch you flip on your guitar will greatly affect the way this pedal sounds, so make sure you fiddle around while you're looking for that perfect sound. This pedal is great for thick, harmonically rich fuzzes and distortions. You can dial in an almost perfect Smashing Pumpkins-esque fuzz (think Quiet or Zero), and with the proper amp settings you can get some very Muse-ish sounds. This thing is actually very versatile as an Overdrive pedal and distortion pedal, though with weaker pickups you may experience a bit of trouble with note falloff, as I do on my Les Paul. The MH-1000 experiences much less falloff due to it's hotter pickups.

Overall Impression — 9
I play many ranges of Rock, Metal, Jazz and Blues, and this pedal fits all of them very well with the proper settings. I've been playing for about 5 years toal, but I've only been serious about it for the past 3 years or so. I had tried some other fuzz pedals before buying this one, such as the Big Muff, Big Muff Pi, and Fuzz Face. I found that when using this pedal, you can dial in tones nearly identical to those pedals, so I chose this one for the sake of versatility (and, admittedly, so that I could make high-pitched squealy noises like Matt Bellamy, Haha.) Although I do love this pedal as if it were my child, if it were stolen or lost, I probably wouldn't buy another because in all honestly I don't use a lot of effects, and this pedal is a bit too expensive for me to replace. The only thing I wish it had was some toggle that could completely silence the squeals, because some tones sound great but as soon as you stop playing, the squealing begins. But, you can easily just hit the footswitch and turn it off right after a song, so it's not a huge deal. A tip to all those who are going to try one out: Try it out on YOUR amp and guitar, as this pedal reportedly doesn't get along with certain types of amps and guitars, and it might poorly influence you.

Reliability & Durability — 10
When you first look at this pedal, your first thought is "tiny." But, when you Pick it up and feel the thick aluminum casing that thought quickly changes to "tank." For being roughly the size of a large box of matches (think industrial matches not cigarette matches) this thing is fairly heavy, due to the 1/8" inch thick solid aluminum casing. The knobs are thick plastic, and the footswitch is very sturdy. I am a big guy, and this thing can easily hold up against the pressure of my stomping. I've gigged this once or twice (I honestly don't use it much outside of practice and writing) and it had no problems. I would never back this up, primarily due to my trust in the construction, but also because this pedal wasn't cheap and I'd rather not buy another one for backup. The battery life is incredible. The creator says that as long as you disconnect the input/output cables when you're not using it, you can get years of battery life out of this. I've had it for about 5 months now, and it still has the stock 9-volt. The vexter series also has a 9VDC power input for those Who don't mind filling up another power outlet.

Ease of Use — 8
It is by no means easy to get a good sound out of this little noisebox, but that is half the fun! It has 5 knobs to monkey with the sound, from left to right: Volume, Gate (Noise Gate), Compression, Drive and Stab (Stability.) The volume knob should really never be taken above 12 o'clock, and that is a bit of a stretch, honestly. The other four knobs can all be tweaked to create an absurd amount of different tones. The manual provided is pretty small and brief, providing a few presets for you to get started at figuring out this enigma of a pedal. As I said, this is not an easy pedal to dial-in, but that is part of the advertised charm of the pedal, so I'll rate it accordingly.

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