Christos Ntaifotis’ CTC Limelight is somewhat overshadowed by its rather more celebrated Constellation Fuzz siblings (as recently featured on this site), while in several ways it offers a little bit more courtesy of its smartly calibrated 3rd Beam / Bias control. The Limelight is a slightly different circuit to the core of the Constellation, while it uses those same NOS Philips OC41 Black Glass Transistors as are featured in the current version of the Constellation.
I’ve already reported how great those Transistors are for MKII style tones in particular, while the Beam Control raises the flexibility of the pedal - such that it delivers fantastic early fuzz pedal tones - covering off the original Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone, as well as MKI and MKII Tone Bender varieties - all depending on how you apply / set its Beam control.
In a similar way to the constellation - this is not a specific circuit replica, but rather a circuit honed to deliver specific classic tones. As is often the case, I intended to get this from the start while other things have sort of gotten in the way - so I’m glad to have finally secured one such for the collection.
This is also part of my lead-up to the imminent Boss TB-2W arrival - where I will be listing a number of great alternatives if you were unable to score one of those. My preference is always for slightly extended range functionality - and all the MKII types that I own have at least 3 knobs. By contrast the majority of TB Professional MKII pedal types are simply 2-Knob jobs like that original - where I have to have at least an external Bias or some sort of additional Tone Control to get the most out of that circuit type.
So the Limelight is the perfect capsule format for those 3 earliest of Fuzzes and you can achieve some beautifully nuanced and full-range textured tones right across the dials. The FZ-1 has a slightly sharper and raspier tone profile, the MKI has that wonderful Reedy dry edge, and the MKII has that full-throated harmonic texture. For the first variety you should be setting the Beam around 10 o’clock, then circa 2 o’clock for the MKI voicing, and finally have the Beam fully maxed out for the MKII voicing - at least for my own preferences. Gain-wise those are typically accompanied by a slight increment to the Gain knob each time - adjust to taste obviously!
Note that the Limelight has excellent guitar volume roll-off too - which is not always the case for TB-style circuits - you can get excellent overdrive flavours too by maxing the Beam, and dialling the Gain right back - then tempering with your guitar’s volume control!
I have several other pedal varieties for MKII type tones which have rather more controls and options, while there’s a real elegance and simplicity to deploying the Limelight - and it’s about as straightforward and easy-to-dial in as you could want.
Not much more to report here really - just a fantastically engineered fuzz that does exactly as prescribed - go get yours from the Crazy Tube Circuits Webstore - where this can be had for the very reasonable price of €175. I really rather like the whimsical artwork too!