Fuzz Factory Vexter Series Review

manufacturer: Zvex date: 02/17/2012 category: Guitar Effects
Zvex: Fuzz Factory Vexter Series
The original Zvex Fuzz Factory pedal was invented in the mid 90's, each one hand-painted and assembled in Minnesota. In 2004, they released the 'Vexter Series' which is the exact same pedal only it's not hand-painted and some of the assembly takes place in Taiwan (the final assembly still happens in the U.S.).
 Sound: 8
 Overall Impression: 8
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Ease of Use: 5
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overall: 7.5
Fuzz Factory Vexter Series Reviewed by: UG Team, on february 17, 2012
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Price paid: $ 169

Purchased from: SGCNation.com

Ease of Use:

It's worth noting that the Fuzz Factory isn't like any other pedal. While it's constructed with a traditional NOS Germanium transistor circuit, ala the FuzzFace, it uses internal feedback loops and component-level bias controls to get an endless array of different sounds. It has five different control parameters (volume, gate, compression, drive, and stability) that all interact with each other in a very sensitive way. However, the controls aren't technically what they say they are. The volume, sure enough, is the output level while the the 'gate' and 'compression' pots adjust a transistor bias. The 'drive' controls the input level and the 'stab' controls the actual supply voltage. All of these in combination give you a truly incredible amount of control and manipulation. Unfortunately, with that extra control comes a steeper learning curve. You'll learn quickly that plugging in and turning knobs is an easy way to get a very sharp headache. The smallest change in parameter can turn a great sounding fuzz into an unlistenable squeal. Thankfully, you can find a list of presets on the Zvex website to get you started (complete with strange subtext from Zachary Vex himself) and then experiment to make your own sounds from there. Once you get a handle on it though, it is impressive what it can do but this is the 'ease of use' category after all. // 5

Sound: Once you finally manage to dial in the right sound, it's pretty nasty. You can get a spot-on 'Big Muff' effect if you want, or go to the velcro fuzz setting and rip off one note to the next. Because of the effect that minute parameter changes will bring on, it's not surprising there's a long list of pro players that have used it on their board. It's also the best feedback-noise generator since Behringer's line of tube amps came out, for what that's worth. Because of the precise nature of the potentiometers, however, the great sounds you're looking for have a lot of squealing and noise in between. Throw in the fact that some of us, or maybe just me, have the short-term memory of a gold fish and it's easy to forget what combination of settings you were just using, leaving you with nothing more than the memory of an elusive fuzz that may never be recreated. // 8

Reliability & Durability: The good news about Zvex pedals is that all the hand-painted ones are quote "warranted to be free from manufacturing defects for as long as I (Zachary Vex) am on the planet". The bad news is the Vexter Series pedals aren't hand-painted, thus they have a slightly shorter warranty. That shouldn't be too much of a deterrent because the manufacturing seems top notch. Throw in the bonus that all Zvex pedals are designed to draw an incredibly small amount of power, so much so that a 9-volt battery will literally last years, and you're looking at one very reliable effect. // 9

Overall Impression: After toying around with this for a few hours, you kind of start losing your mind with the endless possibilities of fuzz and noise. I had no idea that so many fuzz tones were capable via human engineering. Then it occurred to me, why the hell do I need a million different types of fuzz? But it's this kind of meticulous craftsmanship that makes Zvex a prime quasi-boutique player in the world of guitar effects. It's not for everyone but if you're looking for a truly unique distortion you should definitely check it out. // 8

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