Price paid: $ 179.99
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 9
I play a Marshall JCM-800 2210 with an Epiphone SG with Pearly Gates in the bridge and Alinco IIs in the neck. I also play my Ibanez Artcore with stock pickups for more Indie-songs. When playing with my Fuzz Factory I always use my clean channel. This pedal is very noisy with more settings than not. If you take the time to dial in the proper tone, it won't oscillate or feedback, unless of course you want it to, then you have about 4 different knobs that can control the pitch of the feedback or oscillation. So, yes, it's a noisy pedal, but it's almost designed to be. The fuzz on this is actually very versatile. It can cover anything from some Hendrix (somewhat) up to a very similar sounding Muse era-Origin of Symmetry and everything in between. On top of that, it can also control factors such as the oscillation and the feedback pitch/intensity. So it also makes a great wall-of-noise pedal. If you're going for a Muse/RHCP type fuzz, then yes, with lots of tweaking, you will be able to capture their sound assuming that you have a proper amp. My only complaint is that there isn't a "tone" knob, per se, but the "stab" knob, acts somewhat like a tone knob when other knobs are set in the proper position.
Overall Impression — 8
When people ask me what music I play, I always have a hard time answering it. I suppose it could be best described as Muse meets Silversun Pickups and Radiohead with Slash as the solo guitarist. I've been playing for 10 years or so. And this is my only fuzz pedal, but not my only distortion pedal. I also have a Tubescreamer, a Tube King, and a Metal Muff. If this was stolen or lost, I'd be very pissed, but it's kindly expensive so there might be a time between me getting a new pedal. But I still really like this pedal. All in all, a good purchase for those of us who enjoy noise, tweaking, and odd sounds. I really like this pedal. If I could give it a rating it would actually be an 8.5, but meh.
Reliability & Durability — 10
These pedals are hand painted and assembled in the United States, meeting the requisites for a "boutique" pedal. So they are indeed very durable and reliable. With that being said, you're paying a large sum of money, so it's a trade off. Seeing as how these things cost a lot of money, I don't have a backup, but that's more for financial limitations rather than trust.
Ease of Use — 6
The Zvex Fuzz Factory is the quirkiest, most interesting pedal I've ever played. It has 5 highly sensitive knobs, each of which work together in creating your output sound. The knobs are: Volume, Gate, Compression, Drive, Stability. When I first plugged it in, it wasn't a very good tone, but after fiddling with it for about 5 minutes I was able to get a very nice crackle-fuzz. I also looked at the manual that came with it (which was actually a tongue-in-cheek piece of paper with settings and witty comments) and was able to coax some tones that I thought were usable. But the time that I was able to actually get some tones that I really liked was after a Google search for Fuzz Factory tones. I found a post on a forum somewhere with a link to a 2 page graph detailing 20 different tones you could get. I found 5 that I really liked, and I divided them up into categories, Muse-like, Indie-Like, and Classic-like. All in all, this pedal is extremely quirky. I wouldn't recommend it to those of you who just like to plug in and play. Now, you'll notice that I gave this pedal a 6. That doesn't mean I don't like it, I just think that you have to actually sit down with some paper and pencil and write down settings you like. It does take some work to coax usable tones out of the Fuzz Factory.