The Canadian Guitar Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,139 Posts
Just finished watching a few Big Muff shootouts and I have to say, that there is nothing particularly definitive, even though folks think there is. Sometimes the Green Russian sounds "warmer" and sometimes it soundsz more fizzy and sizzly.

The thing that drives me nuts about these so-called shootouts is that the BMP is known, and even explicitly described by Mike Matthews in interviews, as highly susceptible to unit-to-unit variation resulting from component tolerances, yet none of these shootouts employ more than one example of any given issue. The assumption the viewer is supposed to draw is that ALL units of such and such an issue sound exactly like that, and the reality is they won't. They'll certainly sound pretty close, but unless EHX magically started using 1% tolerance components, matching capacitors, and selecting transistors for hfe 20 and 35 years ago, there is going to be unit-to-unit variation, and likely more variation within an issue than what you hear between the issues ostensibly being compared in the video. And if one thinks that setting all three knobs to the 12:00 position results in all controls set identically, think again. Pot tapers are always approximations of a standard, such that the Tone control on pedal A might actually be 88k and the one on pedal B 104k (both realistic values for a nominal 100k linear pot), with the 12:00 position on pedal A dividing that 88k into 47k on the left side and 41k on the other, and the midpoint on pedal B dividing the 104k into 48k on the left and 56k on the right. I.E. what looks to be the same setting is not.

There HAVE been changes to the circuit over issues, but other than the op-amp BMP, the basic structure has not changed since the early 70's. I can give you the exact same circuit diagram (just as Kit Rae has) and the only thing that has changed is some of the component values, largely because of the transistors and caps Matthews managed to get a bargain on at that time.

I'm not saying that none of them sound any different. I'm saying they will not sound consistently and predictably different in any way that is not easily compensated for by tweaking an amp tone control or turning a pedal knob a bit this way or that.

Obviously, that's not your fault, and is certainly not a fault of the pedal itself. But there are a lot of myths about the various BMP issues that simply don't hold up particularly well. Until someone makes a video that uses ten randomly obtained copies of each of several different issues, and we can easily hear that there is a"sonic signature" to to a given issue that holds true across all settings of all copies of that issue, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I can be stubborn that way. :mad:^)@#
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,891 Posts
Just finished watching a few Big Muff shootouts and I have to say, that there is nothing particularly definitive, even though folks think there is. Sometimes the Green Russian sounds "warmer" and sometimes it soundsz more fizzy and sizzly.

The thing that drives me nuts about these so-called shootouts is that the BMP is known, and even explicitly described by Mike Matthews in interviews, as highly susceptible to unit-to-unit variation resulting from component tolerances, yet none of these shootouts employ more than one example of any given issue. The assumption the viewer is supposed to draw is that ALL units of such and such an issue sound exactly like that, and the reality is they won't. They'll certainly sound pretty close, but unless EHX magically started using 1% tolerance components, matching capacitors, and selecting transistors for hfe 20 and 35 years ago, there is going to be unit-to-unit variation, and likely more variation within an issue than what you hear between the issues ostensibly being compared in the video. And if one thinks that setting all three knobs to the 12:00 position results in all controls set identically, think again. Pot tapers are always approximations of a standard, such that the Tone control on pedal A might actually be 88k and the one on pedal B 104k (both realistic values for a nominal 100k linear pot), with the 12:00 position on pedal A dividing that 88k into 47k on the left side and 41k on the other, and the midpoint on pedal B dividing the 104k into 48k on the left and 56k on the right. I.E. what looks to be the same setting is not.

There HAVE been changes to the circuit over issues, but other than the op-amp BMP, the basic structure has not changed since the early 70's. I can give you the exact same circuit diagram (just as Kit Rae has) and the only thing that has changed is some of the component values, largely because of the transistors and caps Matthews managed to get a bargain on at that time.

I'm not saying that none of them sound any different. I'm saying they will not sound consistently and predictably different in any way that is not easily compensated for by tweaking an amp tone control or turning a pedal knob a bit this way or that.

Obviously, that's not your fault, and is certainly not a fault of the pedal itself. But there are a lot of myths about the various BMP issues that simply don't hold up particularly well. Until someone makes a video that uses ten randomly obtained copies of each of several different issues, and we can easily hear that there is a"sonic signature" to to a given issue that holds true across all settings of all copies of that issue, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I can be stubborn that way. :mad:^)@#
I know what you mean, mhammer. I have had the privilege of building a silicon Fuzz Face and a Ram's Head BMP. In both cases I was able to obtain 1 or more original copies to test these builds against and enjoyed mine more each time, granted I was comparing a silicon to germanium Fuzz Face. This left me with the desire to never lay out $1,000 for a vintage pedal in hopes of that holy grail tone.

EHX is using the cult status of the Russian Big Muff as another tool for selling more Big Muffs. As simple as that.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
287 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I think it's more that other people are making money off of their circuit and why shouldn't they have a pedal out there with the circuit a lot of people are after.

I have had the Black Russian, NYC, tonewicker, musket, arc BGP and wren and cuff TFR

My choice at this point is mostly the TFR and the NYC muff. They have all sounded different to me. I will be looking forward to see if the EHX matches what I like about the TFR.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,139 Posts
EHX is using the cult status of the Russian Big Muff as another tool for selling more Big Muffs. As simple as that.
I think it is simpler and less manipulative than that. There's a demand. They have the parts. The board layout clearly does not require any redesign. All that is required is silkscreening a different top to the box. It's a bit like a restaurant adding grilled red peppers to their cheeseburger. They're making the cheeseburger already, and they have the red peppers for other stuff, so if the customers want a pepper cheeseburger, fine, we'll give them a pepper cheeseburger and add it to the menu.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
287 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Also they used to make pepper cheeseburgers. Nobody seemed to like then too much but a couple people did. So they stopped making them.

Decades later these pepper cheeseburger lovers waxed poetically to their friends about how great they used to taste.

A couple of othe restaurants opened nearby and started selling the pepper cheeseburger they original restaurant sold for two or four times the original price.

The original restaurant owner finally decided that maybe they should bring back their pepper cheeseburger at a reasonable price and see if they can make some money off of their original recipe.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
213 Posts
Just finished watching a few Big Muff shootouts and I have to say, that there is nothing particularly definitive, even though folks think there is. Sometimes the Green Russian sounds "warmer" and sometimes it soundsz more fizzy and sizzly.

The thing that drives me nuts about these so-called shootouts is that the BMP is known, and even explicitly described by Mike Matthews in interviews, as highly susceptible to unit-to-unit variation resulting from component tolerances, yet none of these shootouts employ more than one example of any given issue. The assumption the viewer is supposed to draw is that ALL units of such and such an issue sound exactly like that, and the reality is they won't. They'll certainly sound pretty close, but unless EHX magically started using 1% tolerance components, matching capacitors, and selecting transistors for hfe 20 and 35 years ago, there is going to be unit-to-unit variation, and likely more variation within an issue than what you hear between the issues ostensibly being compared in the video. And if one thinks that setting all three knobs to the 12:00 position results in all controls set identically, think again. Pot tapers are always approximations of a standard, such that the Tone control on pedal A might actually be 88k and the one on pedal B 104k (both realistic values for a nominal 100k linear pot), with the 12:00 position on pedal A dividing that 88k into 47k on the left side and 41k on the other, and the midpoint on pedal B dividing the 104k into 48k on the left and 56k on the right. I.E. what looks to be the same setting is not.

There HAVE been changes to the circuit over issues, but other than the op-amp BMP, the basic structure has not changed since the early 70's. I can give you the exact same circuit diagram (just as Kit Rae has) and the only thing that has changed is some of the component values, largely because of the transistors and caps Matthews managed to get a bargain on at that time.

I'm not saying that none of them sound any different. I'm saying they will not sound consistently and predictably different in any way that is not easily compensated for by tweaking an amp tone control or turning a pedal knob a bit this way or that.

Obviously, that's not your fault, and is certainly not a fault of the pedal itself. But there are a lot of myths about the various BMP issues that simply don't hold up particularly well. Until someone makes a video that uses ten randomly obtained copies of each of several different issues, and we can easily hear that there is a"sonic signature" to to a given issue that holds true across all settings of all copies of that issue, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I can be stubborn that way. :mad:^)@#
Great information and observations Mark!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,750 Posts
I think it's more that other people are making money off of their circuit and why shouldn't they have a pedal out there with the circuit a lot of people are after.

I have had the Black Russian, NYC, tonewicker, musket, arc BGP and wren and cuff TFR

My choice at this point is mostly the TFR and the NYC muff. They have all sounded different to me. I will be looking forward to see if the EHX matches what I like about the TFR.
The TFR is a killer pedal. Actually is pretty close to my original Tall Font Muff, but I actually like the TFR better

The other Muff clone that I use is the IC Muff clone on my Made by Mike Dreambox. Its not really that close to my original V4, but great pedal anyway.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
451 Posts
I ordered one from Prymaxe...got it for $66US before shipping, should have it by the end of the week.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
380 Posts
I ordered one from Prymaxe...got it for $66US before shipping, should have it by the end of the week.
As a muff lover in general, i also ordered one from Prymaxe yesterday. For those unaware, if you talk to Lauren in the customer support chat, they will give you a deal of up to 20% on any brand new pedal as long is there aren't shipping restrictions to Canada. Some companies that do ship to Canada won't let their products be discounted, but Prymaxe will sell you a "gift card" to make the purchase and get 20% off. For example if the pedal is $100 regular, Prymaxe will sell you a $100 gift card for $80 which lets you use that card to purchase the pedal at full price but you actually got the 20% off when buying the card.

I was checking out the thread on this pedal on The Gear Page and Kit Rae picked one up to compare to one of the many muffs he owns. If you're unsure of who he is, he is probably the most knowledgeable guy about EHX muffs and has a website with all the info he has accumulated over the years The Big Muff Pi Home Page

Here is what he had to say about the new muff he tried:

"I gave a production model of the new EHX Green Russian a run through today using a Hiwatt and a few different Strats through Hi-Tone's superb Eclipse 4x12 cab with Crescendo 'A' speakers.

In my opinion EHX nailed it. I compared it to several Civil War and early Tall Font BMPs in my collection. This has THE sound. No bells and whistles or tweaks. Just that smooth, low end growl with the tone stack setting the mids right where they are supposed to be for this version of the circuit.

I also compared it to the new Way Huge Russian Pickle, which is a really good version of the circuit too. If you want slightly more mid range, the Pickle has it, but if you want that exact tone of the originals, EHX is the way to go. Considering the build quality and cost, it going to be hard to beat this one."
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
451 Posts
Got mine on friday, and I like it so far. I'm no BM expert, and I don't know if it's usual, but the clean up with the guitar's volume knob is better than I expected. I'm happy because it totally nails the Black Keys sounds. Great pedal for the price.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top