Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Sovtek
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Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Sovtek

Big Muff Pi Sovtek, Fuzz pedal from Electro-Harmonix in the Big Muff series.

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sat4n 31/08/2008

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Sovtek : la opinión de sat4n (content in English)

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Three knobs: Volume, Tone, Distortion. A non-true-bypass footswitch. No power adapter jack so you must use a battery.

I should say that many pedals, in my opinion, don't need to be true bypass. Boss pedals, for instance, have a well-designed buffer stage so that sound quality is actually, if anything, enhanced by having the pedal in the signal chain but off. Anyway, this is not one of those pedals. Noticeable dulling of tone when the effect is not engaged.

Also, the shafts of the pots, to which the knobs attach, bend really easily.

UTILIZATION

It's hard to get a good sound out of this thing. Often the best results come from running two amps so you can mix the affected signal from one amp and the dry signal from another. In my experience this allows both for some clarity to be preserved so you can hear what you're actually playing and it also puts back the midrange frequencies that the pedal, when on, scoops out.

That said, in this application, this pedal has got me some really incredible fuzz tones that I've not heard anywhere else. I know I'm dissing it pretty hard right now, but, believe me, I have no intention of selling it. It has its place, and there's always going to be songs in any band that call for this particular kind of thick-fuzz-buzz-madness cocktail.

SOUND QUALITY

I can't really imagine using this live. The sound of the guitar when the effect is off just suffers too much, and there's no way you'd want your guitar to sound like this on every song.

Also, as I said before, when the effect is on, even though the quality of the distortion is great, there's this weird mid-range scoop that happens. Unless you're playing metal only, it seems like you want to have a mid-boost rather than a mid-cut when you turn the distortion on. I don't know, maybe that's just me. Anyway, the distortion has great boomy low end and sparkling high end fizz. Like -- I don't know -- carbonated molasses, maybe?

As I said before, I've found the need to overcome the lack of mid response and the sometimes muddy-ing quality of the distortion by running a mid-heavy clean sound on a secondary amp. This has given my one of my favorite fuzz tones in the studio. Whenever I record other guitarists I make them do a take like that, and they're always pleased with the results.

OVERALL OPINION

Everything about this pedal says Russia: Depressing pseudo-military aesthetics, shoddy construction, temperamental and ill-humored tone, and the vague sense that an AC power source constitutes a luxury reserved for others.

I also would not recommend gigging with this pedal.

But in the studio, I go back to this thing again and again. I'm constantly surprised at how good it can sound under the right circumstances, and how well the sound coming out of the amp, with nothing more than the usual SM57, translates to what you hear on tape.