There are broadly speaking two main camps of Germanium Fuzz Face style pedals - both are obviously warm and expressive with great guitar-volume-knob clean-up, while one type tends to be slightly more gritty and articulate, and the other rather smoother and more violin-like. The obvious comparison that springs to mind is that classic smooth Eric Johnson style of tone - which the Sitek Fuzzie delivers particularly well.
Most Germanium Fuzz Faces have only two knobs, the occasional has 3 (with added external bias), while the Fuzzie also has an extra Texture mini-knob which is Super Smooth CW and more textured if you dial it back.
The 4 knobs yield the maximum of tone-shaping ability through the least amount of controls - while the Bias range here is not quite as accentuated as some of the others - but is rather tuned for optimal musicality. You should also notice a distinct low-end accent to the frequency profile - which is in contrast to many similar Fuzz Faces that can be rather more sharply / thinly tuned. So the 2 most significant distinguishing characters here are that core Super Smooth Texture, with the slightly augmented low-end - which of course works particularly well for Single Coil pickups - and where I sometimes apply my Jackson Audio Bloom’s EQ section to filter out some of the bass frequencies for my humbuckers - but mostly prefer the enhanced low-end.
The pedal contains two specially selected NOS Russian Germanium Transistors which combine to such great effect to produce this particular output profile. Interestingly the Spaceman Sputnik varieties utilise similar Russian Germanium Transistors to quite a different effect for a more strident and searing texture and tonality. The Sputnik is of course not exactly or really a Fuzz Face even - but not too far adjacent either. I’m just always fascinated by how quite different outputs are achieved with very similar components.
The Fuzzie, alongside the new version of Caffeine Dirty Boost comes in a gorgeous new matt, very slightly textured finish - with the graphic print slightly raised. The Fuzzie enclosure is particularly ingenious in coming in that glorious sparkling Champagne finish - with almost Champagne-hued LED too. As always, that great Sitek quality is evident everywhere in the style and quality of finish, as in the the reassuring elegant mechanical feel of the potentiometers and footswitch.
I’ve long admired Andy and Hania’s attention to detail, and it’s great to see them refine and improve the format even further. Those two new pedals really look and feel fantastic in the flesh - and indeed look every bit as good as they sound. Also the new style finish really suits the line-drawn graphics - which really pop now on those new enclosures.
I think it's important to say that this is a particularly well behaved Germanium Fuzz Face and is in stark contrast to many which can be rather more temperamental and occasionally tricky to dial in because of the temperature sensitivity and general temperament of those Germanium Transistors.
In this instance the Fuzzie is actually rather easy to get along with - so would be very suitable as someone's first Germanium Fuzz. Obviously Silicon Transistors consistently maintain their 'tuning' as such - while for Germanium Transistor fuzzes you need to tweak the Bias occasionally - which is no big deal for me. The Bias also further impacts the texture of the pedal, and you can either enhance the Smoothness or apply rather more texture there too. While the Bias control doesn't range as far as on several of my other Fuzz Faces - where you can get it really spitty sounding. The Fuzzie will always lean slightly towards the smooth - as it has been so engineered.
In comparison to the V1 Fuzzie you will only notice a couple of surface changes - most obviously the added 4th 'Texture' mini-knob which goes smoother as you dial it up, more textured CCW therefore. The new sparkle paint-job really needs to be seen in the flesh to do it justice - and that combination of Fuzzie Champagne Graphic motif and Champagne Sparkle Enclosure Finish is just next level ingenious for me.
Inside the circuit has been significantly tweaked from the V1 - in particularly the Output Level - which is now really very generously decent - and where I don't really take it much above 3 o'c nowadays, while for the previous edition, even with the Level fully cranked it never got quiet as loud as most wanted. This is actually very much a known issue with several fuzzes - and not just Germanium although mostly so - while those can be particularly predisposed to low levels of output by nature of their signal clipping impact.
It was one of the key consideration for the V2 to get a more modern degree of output. Note also that a lot of Germanium Fuzz Faces require reverse polarity power-supply - while this variant works off just a regular isolated supply. Note also that you can run the pedal on a 9V battery, and that current draw is only 5mA. There is also an impedance-matching circuit onboard which allows the Fuzzie to play well with buffers in front of it - meaning you can place it rather more liberally within your signal chain - while the recommendation is still to have it near the front of the chain.
Preferred settings for me are Level to taste (3 o'c for me), Fuzz at fully CW, Texture at fully CCW, and Bias at around 11 o'c! This is distinct in my collection of Fuzz Faces - where I already have 50+ with just over 20 Germanium types - in being very much the smoothest variety I have. And as mentioned - that extra low-end accent is quite distinct too. I'm often surprised by how different my Fuzz Faces can sound - each has a different type and mix of Transistor and since these are very simple circuits - the Transistor selection is very significant for the output quality and nature of the pedal.
So if you want to get your Eric Johnson on with those super smooth violin style tones - then I really cannot think of a better candidate for the task. Beautiful quality all-round, and available right now for an incredibly reasonable price of just €140 plus shipping from the Sitek Guitar Electronics Webstore. For further evidence of this pedal's greatness make sure you properly check out Alberto Barrero's superb above demo!