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 :
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 :
Here are the 8 Clipping Options :
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.
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 :
Here are the 8 Clipping Options :
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.
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?