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Spaceman Effects Launches the Much Anticipated Sputnik III Germanium Fuzz - as predicted on this very site

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I kind of knew this one was coming for a while - as I predicted back in July of last year, and as was supported by my insider friend Justin who confirmed back in March that this was indeed the candidate for the latest Secret Mission prototype.


I initially kind of expected a little more extra to what was delivered, as in my mockup I thought we would have perhaps a couple more quirky new functions / controls. But on balance, I realise that the pedal is plenty quirky enough as is, and really does not need anything extra. I already have the Sputnik I in its Red Cyrillic Edition, and I was at one point thinking that I possibly would not need the MKIII, as the large toggle switches on the compact can be flicked by a well-place toe - but it is rather fiddly!

PT 2

I have though of course now decided that I will definitely be getting in this latest version too - I like the Standard and Red Editions the best this time around - $269 and $399 respectively (or Cheapest and Dearest versions!). Although within these current times, I'm not sure I can justify the additional $130 outlay for the Red - while it would make a very attractive matching pair for my MKI.


Controls are really simple and elgant, as follows :

  • Scan = Chaos Scrambler - sort of a warbly bit-crushy effect (not dissimilar to scanning for FM radio stations) activated by the Left-hand 'Drift' Footswitch - you get more Chaos with the dial CW
  • < Mids > = A Mid Scoop / Flat EQ toggle switch - in place of the previous models' Filter Switches, works in tandem with the 'Calibrate' Tone control
  • Signal = Output Level
  • Calibrate = Tone Control - More Lows CCW, Brighter CW - work in tandem with top 'Mids' toggle-switch
  • Range = Degree of Transistor Gain
  • Drift Footswitch = Engage to Activate Chaos Scrambler / 'Scan' mode - controlled by said knob, and can be used in momentary and latching fashion
  • Bypass Footswith = On/Off

Note that footswitches are all-new soft-touch true-bypass relay switches - which you can see visibly by their change of form. Also the LED is a Dual-Function one to indicate when Pedal is On, and when Drift/Scan mode is Active.


The Sputnik series uses the most amazing sounding Russian originated Germanium Transistors which have lovely searing high gain, and saturation and sustain for days! You should all definitely have at least one Sputnik in your collections - the original has long been one of my favourite fuzzes. I feel a touch that Zak should be rewarding me for this ongoing high quality coverage with a complementary unit of my own! Else I will be forced to wait for these to reach these shores eventually - Andertons and the like.


Here is the pick of the YouTube demos that accompanied the release :


Addendum #1! Circuit Differences between Limited and Standard Editions

Addendum #1! Circuit Differences between Limited and Standard Editions

Taken from my more recent article on Inner Pedal Beauty :


The two Spaceman Sputnik III's are something I came across on Gut Shot Culture and refined and enhanced for display and reference purposes here. I love seeing the comparison between the Limited Edition and Standard Edition circuits - and their significantly different component use.


Since the Spaceman Standard Edition was first introduced with the Saturn VI last year - I did not really have a clear understanding of the difference in those pedals. For previous Spaceman Editions (pre-Standard) I believe the circuits and components were identical bar the superficials - Enclosure, LEDs and Knobs! There has always been a difference in price between the Raw Steel or Black Editions at one end of the scale and Copper or Chrome editions at the other - often a difference of $100 or more.


Since the Standard Edition launch in September - the Raw Steel version with Black facia-plate is now the Standard lower-cost edition, where a number of the THT components applied to the Limited Editions are swapped for lower-cost SMT alternatives. Importantly though you can see that all the key noise-generation components - including the Transistors are the same.


If you've watched the Zach Broyles Mythos Pedals YouTube video where he compares SMT and THT component constructions of the same circuit designs - there is typically little or no variation in the tone and characteristic. Functionally the SMT parts are equal to the task and in many ways are more robust and reliable. As long as the fundamental ingredients are the same - then you should be able to mix and match the appropriate THT and SMT components to be able to create indistinguishably different results.


In the case of the Sputnik III - the Standard Edition should soon be available again with batch 2 - for $269. While the lowest cost Limited Edition was $329, and the dearest was the Red Cyrillic Edition at $399. I myself own an original Sputnik I in Cyrillic Red, while the second time around I went for the Standard Edition. The pedal was launched at a somewhat inconvenient juncture for me - and I kind of missed out on the first round - but then got a barely used one from a guy in Brighton for the same as retail price - while everyone is still mostly price-gauging on Sputnik III's.


I could not justify the additional outlay of $130 for the Red Cyrillic Sputnik III - in any case those sold out pretty much on the spot. Of the other colourway editions - the only one I really liked was the Standard - so the choice for me as as it often is at either ends of the scale!


I will be doing a head-to-head between my 2 Sputniks and seeing if I can discern any marked differences in fidelity. From all the demos I've heard the Standard Sputnik sounds suitably stellar - and for sake of comparisons - all of the recent and now currently sold out JHS Legends of Fuzz are of SMT tiny parts constructions. Spaceman treads a path somewhere in-between which I think I broadly approve of.


I'm starting to think we possibly need 3 different classifications / versions for Spaceman - Standard (THT + SMT), Pro (all THT) and Limited (THT + Custom Enclosures)!

Advisory #2! Momentary or Latching Switching

This as per the Sputnik III manual :


Several readers have asked me for this clarification. I thought it would have made more sense to add in a wee circuit so you could get momentary by just press+hold like you can on several similar pedals. Instead Zak employs the rather more archaic assign on power-up as follows :


DRIFT Footswitch - Allows sonic corruption to influence your tone. Momentary functionality may be accessed by applying power to the Sputnik III with the DRIFT footswitch held down.

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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