It seems very timely that not long after I’ve finally landed my targeted Danelectro 3699 Fuzz - two further examples appear almost at the exact same time - Stomp Under Foot’s medium-BB-size Silver Fox and the full-size exact Foxy Tone Box replica from studio gear specialists Warm Audio.
In this instance you pay for feature-set and modernity really as the smallest box is the dearest at $199, while Warm Audio’s near original version with NOS parts is going for a very attractive $149.
Also ironically the 3699 is the most authentic in being largely specified by now Danelectro President Steve Ridinger - who was the one that originally designed the $49 Foxx Tone Machine back in 1971 at the tender age of 19. Yet the Danelectro 3699 is machine-made in China with tiny modern SMT parts. In contrast the significantly lower-cost Warm Audio Foxy Tone Box is hand-made in the USA with full-size original spec NOS parts - NOS Fairchild 2N3565 Germanium Transistors + NOS 1N34A Germanium Diodes.
Stomp Under Foot’s Silver Foxx sits exactly in between these two levels - being also handmade in the USA with the finest quality full-size parts, albeit no reference to the original parts as with the Foxy Tone Box. Price-wise it’s in-between the two at $189.
Readers know that I’m a big fan of compact enclosure pedals and dual footswitches, and really don’t like the over-sized enclosure of the original vintage pedals - there’s really no need for them, and in this instance I feel it’s neater to have a second footswitch to engage or disable the Octave effect, rather than having to switch-it manually via forward-facing toggle. Had their been an elongated toggle on the top surface you could have applied your foot, but this original execution makes that impossible. Moreover the visibility ergonomics of the knobs is lousy in that format. If they’re going to go with this topology they need some sort of window knob legends, or else having the calibration printed along the circumference of the knobs.
My ideal execution here would be the 3699 enclosure / format with the parts from the Foxy Tone Box. The 3699 also has the advantage of a Mids toggle-selector - which you can set to Stock (slightly scooped) or Mid Boost.
Despite having an SMT construction and non-authentic parts - the 3699 has still won glowing reviews, including a Guitar World Platinum Award - and sounds pretty great actually. I love the sound of the Foxy Tone Machine - but it’s just too large for my preferences - while I may still consider a Silver Foxx at some stage.
I currently already have the fairly similar Danelectro Eisenhower Fuzz - which at the time I thought was supposed to be a Foxx variant, but is seemingly rather a Super Fuzz derivation - while there are some evident similarities between these two. I also have the excellent Basic Audio Foxton Fuzz derivation.
I am further waiting for Alex Millar at Zander Circuitry to shrink down his Foxxton Woods variant - which I will pretty much undoubtedly pick up when that happens. There are quite a number of decent clones and replicas out there - including the very affordable Orange Amps Fur Coat Fuzz. I generally prefer to see compact dual-footswitch editions with the highest quality components.
Here follow further details on the 3 variants featured, arranged in ascending order of size and descending order of price! :
Already the winner of a Guitar World Platinum Award - this dual-footswitch variant is a very modern version of the 1971 Foxx Tone Machine. Apart from the much smaller enclosure size, the pedal has two innovations over the original - in the form of the previous Octave toggle switch now being rendered as a far more user-friendly second footswitch. Furthermore the 3699 has an additional Mids selector - where you can toggle between Stock (slightly scooped) and Mid Boost EQ Values.
This pedal is uniquely authentic in that original Foxx Tone Machine designer Steve Ridinger is currently President of Danelectro - and he had a hand in the design of this modern iteration too. That design though is machine-manufactured in China with tiny SMT components - which are the diametric opposite to the full-size NOS components that the Foxy Tone Box deploys.
Most of the major pedal brands current utilise SMT machine-made manufacture in their pedal productions - including Boss, EHX, JHS and MXR/Dunlop - while I still have a soft spot for authentic full-size NOS parts.
All that said - this pedal still sounds great - and it's format / form-factor is second to none. I've really liked these Vintage Style Danelectro pedals and have acquired 4 of them to-date - all in fact except for the Back Talk Reverse Delay - which I'm fairly soundly covered for my other means - but may pick up anyway just to complete the set if I feel the need for that at some stage.
Thanks to reader Matt G for bringing this to my attention, but it turns out I was wrong about the build designation of the 3699. The pedal is constructed in such a way that the main board faces away from you and you need to remove sockets etc. to access - which I personally don't particularly like to do myself. Matt however had no such qualms and sent me his pictures of the pedal guts which show full-size THT components - and 4 Transistors of the type PN3565.
Matt also shared his own testing notes for the 3699 and Warm Audio varieties - as follows :
"these are such beautiful pedals. the dano is smoother sounding and the warm audio has a little more rasp to it -kinda falling somewhere between the stock and mid boost setting on the dano depending on the tone knob placement"
So $10 less dear than the 3699 with stated NOS Germanium Diodes (1N34A no doubt) and hand-made by Matt Pasquerella in Massachusetts USA. This is obviously a slightly larger BB-size execution versus the 3699 - but still considerably smaller than the original.
We have most of the same functionality - with dual footswitches - including that second Footswitch to engage/disable the Octave which is always great. The 3699 still has the advantage though of the extra Mid-Frequency EQ options. So in my book overall the 3699 still holds a sliver more appeal for me despite the fact that the Silver Foxx is hand-made with somewhat better components.
I'm a big fan of Matt's pedals obviously and have several of those on my wishlist too. Form-factor and versatility are though key criteria for my own preferences - so while there are some things I much prefer on this Silver Foxx - I'm still happy hat I got the 3699 first. I may get this one eventually anyway too - as the Foxx Tone Machine is a fuzz type I really enjoy.
There are alas no demo videos currently available for tis pedal - I will of course add one as soon as some such becomes available! - New demo out today (August 29th) - Updated as above!
Warm Audio is somewhat new to me, but they have been turning out very decently-priced high quality studio gear for many a years now - professional high grade products including rack-mounted Compressors, Channel Strip Mixers, Mic Preamps and a tonne of diverse Microphones.
They've only just recently branched out into stomp-box pedals with the launch of their very authentic full-size vintage replicas of Roland's AP-7 Jet Phaser and the aforementioned Foxx Tone Machine. These are pretty much exact replicas - the original style of enclosures and original NOS components - while the enclosure do employ some colour variation - in the case of the Foxx - Orange in place of the Red box with blue facia plate.
This is one of the most faithful replicas I have seen to date and is incredibly reasonably priced. It's to all intents and purposes pretty much identical to the originals. It also sounds incredible - obviously in due part to its NOS components - Fairchild 2N3565 Germanium Transistors + 1N34A Germanium Diodes.
I don't understand the point of the original case replication though - as back in 1971 guitarists only had a handful of pedals on stage with them - and hence size wasn't a problem. While nowadays the typical guitarist deploys a pedalboard full of 20 or more pedals. Also if you're going to make it that big - why not go with dual footswitch for each of use.
I love nearly everything about this pedal in terms of how it's made and how it sounds - but I cannot live with this essentially antiquated and over-sized impractical form-factor. This pedal would have been 100% better for me in the same form factor as the Silver Foxx. It's one thing I've never understood - the need for some to have these relatively compact circuit encapsulated in these over-sized clams!. By all means use hand-wired NOS parts - but please grant some concessions towards modernity and practicality. If these exact vintage replicas appeal to you - then I can't see how you would not be failed to be impressed by this - particularly at the price it's being offered!
If you want the most practical and versatile format - then the 3699 is the obvious choice, if you're all about the NOS vintage parts and authenticity - it has to be the Foxy Tone Box - which means the Silver Foxx sits somewhere in-between depending on your own preferences and practicalities.
There's a fair smattering of this particular type of pedal around - mostly within BB-size enclosures, but still some within the original full-size form-factor and a handful of decent compact-size alternatives.
I firmly believe all octave pedals should come with a second footswitch to engage and disable that function - instead of the antiquated manual toggle-switch - it's something I've criticised Beetronics for in the past. I also don't really understand the need to have those old-fashioned over-sized enclosures - you don't see a lot of people driving around in Ford Model-T Shells - as they're just woefully impractical and unergonomic - in fact wholly unaerodynamic.
I'm the same with pedals as guitars - in that I never see the point in buying something which is of poor or substandard design compared to the current potential - which is why I insist on locking tuners and perpendicular string-drop - a la Music Man, PRS and Stone Wolf for example. In a world of Chase Bliss Audio, Jackson Audio and VS Audio smart-switching pedals - then surely new pedals should follow along similar lines of innovation where possible.
On paper, the Foxy Tone Box is the best example here of the original Foxx Tone Machine - but the form factor and ergonomics of the controls make the ownership experience substandard compared to the current norms. I have far more flexibility and versatility with the 3699 and the dual-footswitch function should be a no-brainer by now.
Heart and ears say Foxy Tone Box, while head and feet say 3699! What say all of you?