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That's funny.

In an interview Mike Matthews gave in a major business mag some years back, he stated explicitly that in the 70's you could take any four consecutive Big Muffs off the assembly line and they would all sound different from each other, because of the wide tolerances of the components, and the fact that they'd get many of their parts surplus from different distributors.

None of that is to say that Triangle Big Muffs sound lousy, whether original or reissue. But what EXACTLY is the sound of a Triangle Big Muff? It's a bit like asking what does a *real* human being look like. There is so much variation that the prototypic one, selected to represent them all is pretty vague.
 

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The above statement is true if they are talking about Germanium transistors. To make all the germanium pedals from a manufacturer to be the same you have to match the transistors in the circuit with a special "tool". If you had 100000 of those all exactly the same. all the big muffs would sound the same. But they all sound different because they just grabbed how many Germanium's and didn't measure them or try to match them. They all sound "similar"

Check out the Thorpy Muffroom Cloud. Best sounding muff pedal ever!!
 

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You're certainly correct in identifying variability in germanium transistors as a known source of "good" vs "bad" pedals. And you are also correct in identifying the need to have a large sustainable supply of a givencomponent with given characteristics as crucial for a large company like EHX to keep a product in its line (the unavailability of the MN3005 delay chips for the Memory Man in the mid-80's almost shut down EHX). But it actually had nothing to do with germanium at all for the BMP. It has always used silicon bipolar transistors since the very first one. Indeed, EHX didn't really use ANY germanium in any of their products until quite recently. The issue - if we can call it an "issue", as opposed to natural variation - was the normally wide tolerances of capacitors, and not-quite-as-wide but still noticeable variation in silicon transistor gain. Caps play a strong role in the "sound" of Big Muffs, by shaping both the bottom and top end of the signal at a variety of strategic points in the circuit. Although biasing of silicon transistors can be adjusted to compensate and have precisely the same gain for each clipping stage for every single Big Muff coming off the line, and caps can be hand-selected to conform to some specified value, that entails labour costs that would increase the price of the pedal. EHX simply went with a circuit that worked, could be made for low cost, and it worked for every pedal coming off the line; just a little differently.

Variation in clipping diode forward voltage, variation in cap value, modest-but-influential tolerances in key resistors, and the aforementioned variation in transistors, all contribute to variation in the resulting sound.
 

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I love every iterarion of the Muff to a greater or lesser extent but I must admit that I have trouble telling the sonic differences between the first 3 versions. This demo is a great example of why. That opening solo is damn near dead on for Gilmour's Wall sound. That record is generally acknowledged to have been made with the violet logo version of the Ram's Head Muff (supposedly smoother and with more gain than a standard Ram's Head which sounds like a blend of cliches about both the Ram's Head and the Triangle).
Am I out of line in saying that a lot of the value in the vintage ones/clones is a fashion thing? For example, V4 and V5 (the 2 Op-Amp ones) are nearly identical but V4 is a bit pricier because of the Smashing Pumpkins association. V3 is a totally different casing than V2 (first appearance of the modern NYC Muff case) but the guts are strikingly similar. The actual Ram's Head casing version is astronomically more expensive. The Violet is pricier than the standard due to the Gilmour association. Blerg.

In any case, these reissues sound great and if they get around to a Civil War Muff I'll be all over it!
 

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That's funny.

In an interview Mike Matthews gave in a major business mag some years back, he stated explicitly that in the 70's you could take any four consecutive Big Muffs off the assembly line and they would all sound different from each other, because of the wide tolerances of the components, and the fact that they'd get many of their parts surplus from different distributors.

None of that is to say that Triangle Big Muffs sound lousy, whether original or reissue. But what EXACTLY is the sound of a Triangle Big Muff? It's a bit like asking what does a *real* human being look like. There is so much variation that the prototypic one, selected to represent them all is pretty vague.
And the Triangle Big Muff is really hyped up and if you tell people it's back, they'll buy it.
 

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Forum member Richard "nonreverb" Vernon was nice enough to give me a more recent (late 90's) BMP he had sitting around. I installed a couple of toggles to be able to change the tonestack a bit. One adds a little more bottom to the treble side, and the other adds more mids to the bass side. The changes are not strikingly perceptible when the Tone knob is in the middle, but as one rotates towards either 7:00 or 5:00, the changes become more perceptible. In particular, shifting the rolloff point of the lowpass/bass filter upwards can yield tones more reminiscent of how other commercial fuzzes sound with the treble rolled off; more vocal-sounding.
 

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There’s a fantastic “mids” mod that’s done often too. Three way toggle- humped, flat and scooped. Works really well.
 

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Yeah, primarily a matter of how one sets the rolloff points. The tone control combines a 1-pole (6db/octave; the shallowest type) lowpass and highpass filter, and the pot pans between them combining proportions of this and that. Stock, the rolloff points selected provide varying types of midscoop, with different ranges and/or depths, depending on the issue and accompanying nominal component values, as well as the tolerance and variation in the actual components used. That's part of the basis of Mike Matthews' statement I cited earlier.

If the rolloff points selected result in equal-and-overlapping content from the lowpass and highpass sides, then you get something close to a midhump. It's certainly not the sort of mid-hump you get with a traditional Tube Screamer, or would get with a midrange cut/boost, but it's clearly not the midscoop that gives big-bottom-hot-top in the middle position.
 
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