Filter content by area of interest
Amps
Boost and Overdrive
Delay
Distortion
Fuzz
Guitars
Modulation
Pitch
Reverb
Utility
All
All

Alex Millar's Zander Circuitry Unleashes 2 Further Superb Compact Editions - the Truly Smart Multi-Clipping Cranium Rat-Style Fuzz/Distortion and Surplus Dual Channel Elemental Overdriver

BoostBoost and OverdriveDual-DriveEffects Pedal MakersFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionMulti-DriveOpAmp FuzzOverdriveRat Style FuzzZander Circuitry+-
2021GPXZanderCraniumSurplus700.jpg

For Alex to miniaturise his formerly BB-enclosure pedals, the Multi-Clipping Element was always going to be the trickiest part to incorporate - because of the dimensions of said rotary pot, and all the Diode Component Pairs which made up each Clipping option.

 

In the process of miniaturisation the enclosures have seen a significant change in aesthetics - with more of an outline print artwork onto a raw enclosure - and accentuated by those beautiful / vibrant and colour-coded CBA-style Custom Knobs. All the functionality has been retained and further enhanced from the larger enclosure format and these are some of the most highly featured compact edition pedals as a result. Incredibly the number of Clipping options has also climbed from 6 to 8!

 

I was slightly critical of the artwork for the first-released Siclone Silicon Fuzz which I still love though - while for these two new variants the aesthetics are pretty much on-point - with clear legends and no OCD-triggering!

 

I’ve said for a long time that I will be adding all of these compact editions to the collection - I just need to get over my OCD reaction to the Siclone artwork - while these two new pedals are a total shoe-in though!

 

What we have here are one of the most formidable, and undoubtedly feature-rich Rat Style Fuzzstortions at any size, and an equally formidable Dual-Channel Multi-Drive. There’s obviously huge range on tap here with plenty of gain and volume and a myriad of different tones and textures available - here below follow the more detailed overviews :


Cranium Murine Distortion - £149

close

Everyone knows I'm a huge Rat fan and have near 25 varieties in the collection already - albeit nothing with quite the variety this one offers. Considering the traditional Rats had just 3 controls - Distortion, Filter and Volume - we have instead a cornucopia of complementary parameters - including those 8 superb Clipping Options.

 

The 7 knobs work as follows :

  • Gain : Degree of Saturation / Aggression
  • Tone : Hi-Cut, Full Treble CCW
  • Frequency : Frequency Focus Fine-Tune - used in tandem with Tone control - Actually a variable Ruetz Mod
  • Body : Low End EQ
  • Blast : Max Gain Boost
  • Clipping : 8-way Rotary selector as below
  • Level : Output Volume

Here are the 8 Clipping Options :

  1. Germanium : Smooth, sweet, and classically ‘amp-like’. (You Dirty)
  2. Silicon : Louder, brighter, and a little bit brittle. (Standard)
  3. LED : Louder again, with less saturation and more punch. (Turbo)
  4. Asymmetrical Germanium : A more aggressive version of germanium. (Zander)
  5. Asymmetrical Silicon : A more aggressive version of silicon. (Solo)
  6. Asymmetrical LED : A more aggressive version of LED. (Solo)
  7. Transistor/MOSFET : Similar to silicon, but sweeter and crunchier. (FAT)
  8. No Diodes : Loads of output and much less gain. (Deucetone)

I just think that if you're a genuine Rat fan, then this particular format is fantastic - you get all the flavours in one compact box - plus some extras! Not also the smart footswitches which are both default enabled for latching and momentary control - depending on whether quick press or press-and-hold.


Surplus 2-Channel Elemental Overdriver - £149

close

When I first heard the Surplus - I immediately thought 'fuzzy-drive' which is of course one of my other favourite categories of gain pedals. There are a lot of Multi-Clipping Multi-Drives out there, but none that I know of with 8 different Clipping Options - and certainly not in such a compact and feature-rich format.

 

There's not that much in the way of EQ controls here - just a single simple tone-pot, but then also a Response control - which alters Input and Output Capacitors and delivers a huge range of textures - and when dialled fully counter-clockwise delivers Treble-Booster characteristics. So Tone and Response together can significantly adjust both EQ and textural character - obviously further enhanced by the various Clipping Options.

These are independent Channels - which can be smartly targeted via their momentary/latching dedicated footswitches. This is certainly not your typical overdrive - but has a distinctive fuzz-edge to my ears.

 

The 7 Knobs work as follows :

  • Gain 2 : Degree of Aggression / Saturation for Channel 2
  • Tone : Overall Master EQ / High-Cut
  • Response : Overall Master Input / Output Capacitor Control - chiefly affects character and texture of drive
  • Gain 1 : Degree of Aggression / Saturation for Channel 2
  • Level 2 : Output Level for Channel 2
  • Clipping : 8-way Rotary selector as below
  • Level 1 : Output Level for Channel 1

Here are the 8 Clipping Options :

  1. Germanium : Smooth, sweet, and classically ‘amp-like’.
  2. Silicon : Louder, brighter, and a little bit brittle.
  3. LED : Louder again, with less saturation and more punch.
  4. Asymmetrical Germanium : A more aggressive version of germanium.
  5. Asymmetrical Silicon : A more aggressive version of silicon.
  6. Asymmetrical LED : A more aggressive version of LED.
  7. Transistor/MOSFET : Similar to silicon, but sweeter and crunchier.
  8. No Diodes : Loads of output and much less gain.

This is a fantastic multi-faceted overdrive with a really huge range of tones and textures - and some properly smart controls. This overdrive distinctly has its own voice and would make a very useful and unique addition to any kind of rig.


Final Thoughts

Alex has done an amazing job on these new pedals - combining miniaturisation, circuit enhancements and overall improvements all in one go. I will reiterate by saying all of these sound fantastic - and have a lot more range than any typical alternative.

 

I feel I've had some slight influence here as Ive been badgering Alex for a couple of years about how to make his pedals more unique and distinct - this included a number of discussion about knob varieties too - and I'm delighted that these pedals have ended up every bit as good as they could be.

 

My only slight reservation here is that I'm not 100% satisfied with the slightly 'messier' artwork of the Siclone - and those black splodges in particular - which for me interfere with the legibility of the knob legends. The two newer versions are somewhat more friendly on the eyes - and I would say that the Surplus artwork in particular is sort of nigh on perfect for this particular design schema.

 

I am resolved to acquire all of these newer types (bar the Sono Bass Fuzz obviously). As a fuzz fan in particular - all 3 of the newer variants are highly suitable candidates, and some of the very best of their kind.

 

All the new pedals are available for order right now on the Zander Circuitry Webstore.

 

My negotiations with Alex start now.

 

Is there any one of these that takes your particular fancy from these recent releases?

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook
Add New Comment
You must be registered and logged in to comment
Profile
Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
Guitar Pedal X
News Navigation

2021 50

April 18



















Preferred Spaceman Effects Capsule Collection and Ongoing Long-Term Targets
"Hey Filip - all should be revealed next week - "...
2 hours ago
Preferred Spaceman Effects Capsule Collection and Ongoing Long-Term Targets
"Love the overview. However, this new phaser that "...
4 hours ago
Preferred Spaceman Effects Capsule Collection and Ongoing Long-Term Targets
"Hey Ben - no not yet - I've only tried the 12 S"...
10 hours ago
Preferred Spaceman Effects Capsule Collection and Ongoing Long-Term Targets
"Great article. Have you had the chance to "...
10 hours ago
The Pedal Movie Review
"The film was overly skewed toward contemporary A"...
13 hours ago
2021 April Pedal-Chain Update - Episode IV - Concatenated Continuity
"Hey Justin - good to hear from you again. We all "...
13 hours ago
The Pedal Movie Review
"Yeah that was weird - Reverb.com kind of banned "...
13 hours ago
Waiting