This post marks the milestone that all these are now in the reference collection - with the Animalizzer and Pharaoh Supreme the most recent to be added. There are still a few more out there that I have my eyes on, while this selection in and of itself is pretty much as good as it can be.
These are all Extended-Range Muff-Style Fuzz Pedals which have a very significant coverage via additional clipping, gain-structure and tone controls. Each of these covers a number of varieties, while some here cover near enough all. That said, all have fairly distinct tonal and textural characteristics which supports owning several of these.
Readers will know that I lean towards Extended-Range and Versatility - and I would think these are the most versatile Muff Pedals at this size. Funnily enough even though I have distinct preferences for compact enclosure pedals, I do allow myself to range into BB-Vertical enclosure for Muff and Rat style pedals. I still have numerous favourite compact edition Muffs - but none of those can really compete with the versatility of these.
I had quite wanted a Dirty Vision FX Muff Factory too - but came to that a little late - meaning all of the current batch is spoken for. Per the Alternatives selection under Final Thoughts - there are a few more under consideration. While Alex Millar of Zander Circuitry is in the process of shrinking his 2 Muff-style fuzzes (American Geek and Siva) - meaning those will very soon be available in the new more compact format enclosures.
It’s not really like I need any more here - this selection gives me all the coverage I need - while I feel it’s important to be fully aware of what else it out there and what could also be added to this list.
Pedals are listed alphabetically by brand as usual :
Controls - Dirt, Clean, Tone, Sustain, Mids, Highs, Russian/Satan Voicing Switch, Buffer Switch, Dual Footswtiches - Left = Engage, Right = Red LED Turbo Mode.
Ever since I first saw one I've always wanted a Hail Satan DLX - in fact in exactly the same livery as pictured. While Patrick Emmons' pedals can be pretty hard to come by this side of the pond. In fact I acquired mine second-hand but pristine from Reverb.com. This has quite a distinctive texture compared to most here - and can get very nicely rough and raspy - where most Muffs tend rather more towards smooth. Plenty of range here in any case, and I'm now trying to figure out how I acquire one of Patrick's Pedalboard-friendly editions of Evil Ned (HM-2).
Controls - Volume, Fuzz, Pre, Tone, High, Clip - Germanium, Asymmetrical Germanium, Silicon, Mosfet, LED and Bypass.
I've had my eye on this one for a while and have owned the compact Son of Pharaoh edition for a good few years now. The aim was always to get this one in eventually - and that happened just this week actually - by way of Joe's Pedals. This ups the ante somewhat with 6 clipping options and 6 controls in place of the four controls of the more standard versions of Pharaoh Fuzz. Essentially a Multi-Clipper Muff Style fuzz - leaning slightly towards Ram's Head voicing, but capable of much more through the different clipping options and controls.
Controls - Sustain, Tone, Level, Mids, Lows.
The disappearance of Steve Painter from the scene and obviously my not receiving my Reticon Flanger from the same is one of the tragedy's of the age. Steve made some exceptionally fine pedals - including this Patriot, possibly the best of that crop. This is a Gilmourish Civil War style Muff Fuzz, but capable of much more with that combination of Tone, Mids and Lows. The M-1 Stacked Ram's Head is also very decent, but not as shapable and versatile as this one. Note that I acquired most of my Buffalo FX pedals from Joe's Pedals - including this one.
Controls - Mids, Tone, Karma (Sustain), Sleep (Volume), Left-Clipping - Germanium/Off/Silicon, Right-Clipping OM (Harmonic Saturation)/Off/Silicon.
This at its core is a fairly smooth Vintage Russian Muff - somewhere between Green and Black varieties. Of Course the dual clipping options and the essential Mids control raise it above that - with some significant genre coverage. Obviously this one's pretty hot on the smoother styles of Muff, but you can rough it up quite a bit too.
Controls - Treble, Bass, Growl (Volume), Cut/Boost (Mids), Mids (Frequency), Mud (Gain), Smooth/Sharp, High/Low (Gain).
The Dead Stag also leans slightly into Ram's Head territory by default, but is capable of far more range courtesy of the extensive tone controls, along with Smooth/Sharp and High/Low Gain Structure options. Oddly enough - this one sounds grand too!
Controls - Volume. Tone, Fuzz, Silicon/LED Clipping, Silicon/Germanium Clipping, Mids, Feedback, Depth, Dual-Footswitches - Engage and Chaos/Feedback.
Lone Wolf Audio's Iron Fist is another I procured from Joe's Pedals, a while back now. There were rumours it was being discontinued, but I don't believe that ever came to pass in fact there is now a V3. Joe Anastasio keeps changing up the format and look - and the newer version has the knobs more in two lines with lower shallow V - versus straight rows. While I believe the guts are largely the same. Earlier editions are missing the central Feedback knob and corresponding second footswitch which is in place on the V2 and V3. This is another that somewhat leans into Ram's Head, while its dual clipping options and tone controls extend its range significantly. This seems to be something of an under-the-radar Muff - but it's another very decent entry for this selection and can get very cunky indeed.
Controls - Treble, Middle, Bass, Low Gain/High Gain/Extreme Gain Switch, Gain, Sizzle, Volume.
I'm a big fan of Ed Rembold's Toneczar output - and his latest Fuzz - the OTP is another giant in his range. The Mix of extensive tone controls and the Gain Structure Switch really give you the optimal coverage from the least amount of controls. This is essentially another Multi-Muff everyman Fuzz - meaning that you can pretty much dial in any of the key varieties in several different ways.
Controls - Bass, Mid, Treble, Volume, Fuzz, Stage I Clipping - LED/Open/Silicon, Stage II Clipping - Open/Germanium/LED/Silicon, Depth, Pre-Gain (Boost).
Ricardo ’Rikk’ Cabecas' Animalizzer MufferFuzzer is probably the most expansive and versatile of all of these - with so many shaping-controls at your finger-tips. Not only can you get every key variety of Muff out of this box, but all manner of Boost, Overdrive and Distortion flavours. It requires some time-investment to reveal all its strengths - but is well worth the effort - just a fantastic all-round gain box.
Controls - Volume, Tone, Distortion, Tone Bypass Switch, Left Germanium/Silicon selector, Right Germanium/Silicon selector, 5 x Tone Stack Dip-Switches, 15 x Circuit Signal Routing Dip-Switches.
Having been into Chase Bliss Audio for many years, I'm well used to deploying multiple dip-switches - while this takes that concept further than most. It also mixes up sets of Germanium and Silicon Transistors which you can mix and match as you wish. For the earliest days with this pedal's use I actually used it mostly as a Germanium Fuzz Face! The first 15 dip-switches (from the right) control which parts of the circuit you switch in or out - so you can reduce this fuzz down to a simple Germanium Fuzz Face or expand it back up to a full-throttle Triangle Style Silicon Muff. I do feel that there is probably some more efficient control topology to enable similar. While this yields great rewards if you're prepared to spend some time with it!
Many readers ask me to rank these sorts of selections - while on this occasion I own the entire featured selection - meaning I put a significant amount of due diligence into the acquisition process. All these are fantastic and all can sound somewhat distinct. That doesn't mean you need all of them, but rather that you would not be disappointed with any here.
All of these are quite evidently extended range compared to the average 3 or 4 control Muff even. And some of these can range very wide indeed - like the Animalizzer. Every which one is still in circulation here (bar the Patriot II) which further underlines their worthiness. Do note that certain voicings might be rather more easily dialled in on some of these devices - so on the day for me it really depends what sort of core Muff flavour I'm looking for as to which one of these I grab.
I have also mentioned that I really like the look of the Dirty Vision FX Muff Factory - which I would have loved to have had in a 125B size enclosure - but those are all long gone, and the builder is only making BB-size versions of those in very limited batches. This means I can't be guaranteed to get one necessarily - but I live in hope.
There are of course several more fish in the sea - while the above selection is obviously what I've priortised for a number of reasons. I've explained elements of my acquisition strategy before - and I alway try to secure the more hard-to-come-by editions first and treat the remainder somewhat opportunistically pending a sale or reduction or even pristine second-hand edition coming back on the market.
So here are some further examples worth considering :
I've already explained that I will be getting the Zander varieties in their new compact editions - imminent any week now. I still have some Dwarfcraft Devices to secure and possible one or two more here including the Muff Factory.
I will do another selection roundup when I get to 12 of these!
Any of your favourites here?