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9 of the Best Magnetic Effects Pedals

Big Muff Style FuzzBoostBoost and OverdriveEffects Pedal MakersFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzKlone and Transparent OverdriveMagnetic EffectsModulationOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePitchRat Style FuzzSilicon FuzzTone Bender Style FuzzTremoloWah and Fixed Wah+-
2018GPX9MagneticEffects700-min.jpg

It’s a touch an unusual path, but I first came across British pedal brand Magnetic Effects courtesy of American Nick Jaffe’s JustNickMusic YouTube Channel - where he frequently named the White Atom as his all-time favourite fuzz - using it as an overdrive in low-gain, as well as a full-on higher gain fuzz, even on the more gated / velcro spitty side. So Magnetic Effects have been on my radar for a while and I had always intended to get the Flagship White Atom Fuzz which Nick consistently demo’d so well.

 

At my first introduction I did not realise that Magnetic Effects was based in London, and run by New Zealander Christian Livingstone of worldwide touring band ’The Datsuns’. Obviously lots of live gigging has had a significant impact on Christian, and all his fuzz pedals come with extra tone-sculpting controls to help make the fuzzes more present within a band mix.

 

In any case it was always on the cards for me to get a White Atom Fuzz, so that when the new V3 5-knob version appeared this year, I as an avowed ’Tweaker’ jumped on it! Shortly after that the new V3 Solar Bender materialised with additional 3-way Bass response toggle-switch and I had to have that too. Next there was the 6-dial Rat-inspired Lonely Robot - which as a Rat fan I really could not be without. Then we had a couple of limited editions in the guise of the Black Moon Fuzz, and the never light-grey / silver Buzzer UVB-76 Fuzz - both with additional voicing or EQ toggle. So I went from 0 to 5 in no time at all.

 

One of the reasons I was able to acquire them quite so quickly - is that they are based fairly local to me, and if they sell out on MagneticEffects.net, I can quickly source them from say NorthernStomps.com and several other UK resellers. Not only that, but they are sold at an incredibly good value price point considering all the A-grade components that go into them - NOS Germanium and Silicon Transistors etc.. They range from only £110 to £125 in price - which is circa half that of nearly every other boutique pedal brand.

 

I have also made up my mind to get the new V2 Sändare Overdrive - which is kinda sorta Magnetic Effects’ Klone, but not really - but definitely in that area! And I also really want the older 2014-ish V2 compact format Double Feature - which has a Treble-cut toggle switch rather than the 4th Tone dial of the larger current medium-enclosure version. There don’t seem to be too many of that variety around though - so I will keep my eyes peeled on Reverb.com and Ebay.

In any case and particularly for UK-based players these are highly recommended as triple threats on the Tone, Quality and Affordability front. I myself may try to dig up a few more of the older limited edition pedals that I’ve missed out for a variety of reasons - like the Germanium Treble Booster / Overdrive that is the Sonic Tailor - those seemed to all go very quickly - in this game - you snooze you loose!

 

Pedals are listed alphabetically by name:


Black Moon Fuzz (Germanium Fuzz Face Clone) - £125

This was one of a pair I acquired from Northern Stompboxes as I did not move quickly enough to buy from the limited stock that was made available on MagneticEffects.net. This is the earlier 60's style Germanium Fuzz Face style pedal - but with 4 dials - including additional Bias and Input dials as well as a 3-position Low Frequency boost switch.


Buzzer UVB-76 Fuzz (Germanium Baldwin Burns Buzzaround Fuzz Clone) - £115

A plainer black version of this Buzzaround-style fuzz was available back in 2016 (per above Demo!), so for 2018 we get prettier sort of light-grey / silvery artwork, but otherwise appears to be the same potent buzzy fuzz underneath and features a trio of NOS Germanium Transistors - to output tones somewhere between a Tone Bender and Big Muff. This was the second of the pair I acquired from Northern Stompboxes.


Double Feature Fuzzstortion V2 (Germanium + OpAmp Fuzz + Fixed Wah 2014 Edition) - c£130 (Reverb.com)

This is an entirely original Magnetic Effects hybrid design utilizing a NOS Germanium transistor and a RC4558P OpAmp alongside a focused envelope filter to create a powerful full-range Fuzz signature. I'm much the fan of the compact enclosure so I will happily sacrifice the Tone dial of the larger newer pedal (2015 V3) for the Treble-cut toggle-switch of the earlier more compact V2 (c2014).


Electrochop Tremolo (Vox Repeat Percussion Clone) - £110

Quite similar to the almost equally good EQD Hummingbird Tremolo also based on Vox's Repeat Percussion Tremolo - for a more choppy / helicopter-style of effect. It can't necessarily fully compete with my more advanced Chase Bliss Gravitas or Stone Deaf Tremotron pedals, but it sounds great for its more specialist square-wave-style choppiness.


Lonely Robot Fuzzstortion (Rat inspired OpAmp Distortion with Reutz mod) - £125

I love Rat-style Fuzzstortion pedals of all shapes and sizes really, and cannot help myself when a new tweakable (multi-knob) version comes along - seeing as the classic Rat pedals have only limited tweakability courtesy of just the regular Distortion | Filter | Volume dials.


Midphoria Fixed Wah (Fixed Wah Booster with Clean Blend) - £110

This pedal was under heavy consideration when I acquired my Dunlop/MXR Crybaby Q-Zone Fixed Wah. In the end I went for the Q-Zone by virtue of its slightly more tweakable controls. That being said, the Midphoria is an excellent proposition too and it could have gone either way really.


Sändare Dynamic V2 Overdrive (Low to Medium Overdrive) - £115

Originally this pedal was named the 'Satellite', so you could say that this new version is in fact the V3 of this pedal - which I see as Magnetic Effects sort of Klon Klone / Organic / Translucent / Transparent - whatever you want to call it neutral Low-to-Medium gain Overdrive. The new version has an additional mini 'Voice' dial - a core Tone dial / EQ Shift as such for defining the major frequency focus. The pedal also has an internal voltage doubler for 18V high-headroom playback. I will definitely be getting one of these in the near future.


Solar Bender V3 Fuzz (Germanium + Silicon Tone Bender MKII Fuzz Clone) - £115

With its new 3-position Bass response toggle switch, this brings the Solar Bender into direct competition with that other flagship Tone Bender -style pedal - Basic Audio's Scarab Deluxe. I have several Tone Bender style fuzzes, but these two are my most versatile really.


White Atom V3 Fuzz (Flagship Hybrid Germanium + Silicon Fuzz) - £125

And finally the Flagship Fuzz that attracted me to Magnetic Effects in the first place - this splits the V2 'Tone' control out into separate Bass and Treble dials for even more tweakability. I had long been considering acquisition of this fuzz - courtesy of inspiration from Nick Jaffe, the additional degree of tweakability was the trigger point for me - which led down this particular acquisition trail.


Final Thoughts

I have 3 ostensibly 'Fuzz Pedal Brands' where I own 5 or 6 pedals from each - Basic Audio, Skreddy and now Magnetic Effects. Even though another UK company - Fredric Effects has a far greater range of pedals, there's something about Magnetic Effects that draws me more to that side of things.

 

These pedals look and sound truly great, and are very reasonable on the pocket. I'm always fascinated to bear witness to patterns of behaviour and what draws someone more to one thing over another - when there is a huge variety available out there, and often at a keener price.

Mick and Dan of That Pedal Show talk about the 'Ear' of the pedal-maker - leading Mick to pretty much love everything that Michael Fuller produces (Fulltone) and Dan to love all of Mike Piera's output (Analog.Man). So you could say that in this instance I am a keen fan of Messrs John Lyons, Marc Ahlfs and Christian Livingstone! This does not mean I will necessarily snap up anything and everything by those creators - but I will check out everything they release and look forward to forthcoming confections.

 

When you become a fuzz-fan, things become so nuanced - as I have several pedals each of the key varieties, but they all exhibit different behavioural characteristics, and do in fact sound significantly distinctly different to warrant my owning all of them! That said I have circa 70 compact fuzzes to date, and around 10 each of Mini and Medium/Large - so I will be slowing down my fuzz-pedal-acquistion after the end of this '2018 Year of Fuzz'!

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