A Muff Big With Features
Any player who knows me knows that I have never played electric guitar at a show without some kind of Muff-style fuzz on my board. I had been eager to try out a lot of the Foxpedal stuff, and when I saw Signal Chain had a batch of Defectors coming in, I knew I needed to get my hands on one.
Boy, it sure didn't disappoint.
There are a few things I look for in a Muff before I’ll give it a try, most notably some kind of control over the midrange frequencies. Anyone running a Muff with just a tone control can probably share experiences where they kicked it on and just disappeared from the mix entirely. I’ve had this problem a lot myself, and since then I’ve been seeking out control over those precious, cutting frequencies in my fuzzes. Having a dedicated ‘Mids’ control that can offer that classic Muff scoop, to a slight mid push to keep you tightly in the mix where you belong, all the way to a mid hump is a strong reason I considered this pedal. As well as the ‘Mids’ control, the Defector offers ‘Level’, ‘Fuzz’, ‘Tone’ which works akin to a classic Big Muff tone control, a ‘Pre’ control to tailor the volume of the additional linear boost, and a three-way clipping switch.
The switch offers classic silicon clipping for a smooth and predictable response, LED clipping, which is much more raw and open sounding, or the bold can lift the clipping diodes right out of the circuit, make sure you turn the volume down before you let that switch settle in the centre. The independent "Pre" linear clean boost pushes the fuzz into full saturation at the touch of a button, and for a beautiful little bonus, can operate entirely independently. The footswitch for the fuzz toggle can be held down to turn the LED green and turn on the Defector’s feedback mode. This function compresses the tone and sends it right up to bit crusher territory, with harmonic content just spewing from the speaker on the amp.
...a dedicated ‘Mids’ control that can offer that classic Muff scoop, to a slight mid push to keep you tightly in the mix where you belong.
On top of all of these features, that on paper already make for a pretty stellar fuzz, a trim pot can be found on the lower left side of the circuit board to adjust the size of the frequency band into the fuzz circuit to perfectly sculpt the EQ to your rig.
In short, what we have here is a fuzz packing more features than most with all the tonality to match.
Tonally speaking, by tweaking the midrange and clipping options, I haven’t been able to pull out a classic Muff tone I don’t like. Plugging into my usual rig, with is either an old American Standard Stratocaster or Tokai Rebelrocker into an EB Fullerton 2x10, I could do the crunchier Smashing Pumpkins thing by pushing the ‘Mids’ up just past the regular scoop on a Muff. I could do the Jack White thing by rolling the tone just about all the way off and pushing the ‘Fuzz’ as far forward as it can go. I even managed to flog Gilmour’s super processed solo tone by dialling in a healthy amount of Midrange and switching the boost on. On top of all this, you still have the feedback mode to play around with for interesting solo work.
The only thing that kind of bugs me about this pedal (and I do want to stress that this is nit-picking) is that the footswitches for the fuzz and the boost are just a bit too close together. When the band gets going on a dark stage, I can see myself kicking both the boost and the fuzz on at the same time and making my signal skyrocket. That being said, this could be dialled down to a case of user error.
Definitely find the time to try one out, you might just be as impressed as I was.
You can find this stellar fuzz, and much from the Foxpedal range online at Signal Chain
Written by Aiden Bradley for Signal Chain
Guitar gear connoisseur