Darkglass Electronics Duality Review – Best Bass Fuzz Pedal for Guitar?


Reviewed by:
Rating:
4.5
On March 13, 2014
Last modified:October 7, 2016

Summary:

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It’s probably incorrect to label the Darkglass Electronics Duality Dual Fuzz Engine as a bass fuzz pedal. Sure, the company’s focus seems to be on the low-end of the frequency spectrum, their logo of 6 swirling bass clefs making that pretty obvious. But the very nature of Duality itself implies that this is a pedal which reaches to both extremes, finding itself suitable for both bass and guitar. And the Duality concept is also present in that you can blend your clean and distorted signals together along with blending between 2 entirely different types of fuzz within this single pedal.

While Darkglass Electronics pedals are well-known for their use with bass, our aim is to find out how well the Duality Dual Fuzz Engine plays with guitar. It just might find a home among your collection of guitar pedals. Is it the best bass fuzz pedal for guitar? You’ll find out in our Darkglass Electronics Duality review.

Darkglass-Electronics-Duality-Review-Best-Bass-Fuzz-For-Guitar-02Features:

2 distinct fuzz circuits: a classic sounding, saw-tooth shape shifting circuit and a high gain, thick and brutal one.

Level control knob sets the output volume of the affected signal.

Blend control knob mixes the clean with the fuzz signal. The clean signal remains at unity gain while the volume of the processed one is set by the Level knob, allowing for fine control of the blend ratio.

Duality control knob selects and mixes the fuzz circuits. Set it counter clockwise for the old school saw-tooth shaping circuit. Turn it fully clockwise for the modern, high gain one.

Filter control knob adjusts a variable LPF (low pass filter) to cut or bring up the high harmonic content. Great for tuning the perfect amount of presence and edge.

True bypass via switching relay.

Powered by 9VDC power adapter (current draw: 20mA)

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Sound & Performance:

The Duality Dual Fuzz Engine is one of the more creative yet surprisingly straightforward fuzz pedals I’ve played. While some fuzz pedals offer different variations of clipping options, giving you an “either, or” choice to make, the Duality’s genius lies in letting you have the best of both worlds at once if you so choose.

Before covering the fuzz tones, I want to go over the Level and Blend functions. The Level control allows you to set the volume of the wet fuzz signal while the dry signal always remains at unity gain. This allows you to match levels or apply a slight boost easily. The Blend knob lets you mix your dry and wet signals to taste for extra clarity. Bassists will certainly find this exceptionally useful as it allows them to keep their fine-tuned bass tone intact and add some fuzz without mudding up their low-end. This can actually be just as useful for guitarists as you can retain a greater level of note definition with less grit or even add a more subtle fuzz when stacking the Duality with another distortion pedal. The Duality provides excellent control over blending the perfect amount of fuzz with your clean signal.

Now being able to easily blend perfect levels is nice, but it’s getting in deep with the fuzz where the Duality really shines. Turning the Duality knob fully clockwise brings in the high gain fuzz, a saturated meltdown of gain that sounds great for extra fat rock chords. It retains a really beefy sound that’s really noticeable when adding a lower 5th to standard power chords. Bringing the Duality knob fully counterclockwise brings in the gated fuzz, a very tight fuzz that gates quickly when playing staccato passages. Experimenting with the Blend knob reveals that these are two tonally different fuzz circuits, each having a slightly different distorted edge. Darkglass Electronics essentially combined 2 pedals into one, with a varied range of possibilities available when combining both circuits via the Duality’s Blend knob. You can find a lot of great sounds from tweaking this knob, and it’s really simple to dial in your perfect fuzz tone.

Being a higher gain fuzz pedal, the Duality specializes in full on fuzz applications. If you want to clean it up, blend in some clean signal to tame this beast. While it packs plenty of raunchy fuzz and saturated tones, it’s never what I would call “over the top”. When you combine the circuits, there are some really nasty, but not overly abrasive tones to be found that are entirely unique to this pedal. By the way, I mean nasty in the best possible way. There’s just something about the 2 different fuzz circuits that can either blend smoothly or clash always in a good way. And the gain of both circuits is set to the perfect level for smooth fuzz saturation.

The Filter knob is your typically low pass filter, and I find it quite usefully implemented in the Duality. A lot of times I find myself leaving tone controls fully open or generally letting as much of the high-end through as possible, but the Duality has so much harmonic richness in the upper frequencies – especially on the high gain side – that you may want to reign it in just a bit with the Filter control. It can also darken up your tone quite a bit if you want to bring the Duality knob to the left and go for some dark, monophonic gated synth-style tones.

I really like the Duality. Quite frankly this is the kind of pedal I really want to see more of, where you have distinct extreme settings, each highly usable in their own right, and the ability to delve in between to sculpt your own signature sound. Darkglass Electronics really covered a lot of ground with the Duality Dual Fuzz Engine.

I’m glad the Duality caught my eye (and ears!) as it’s one killer fuzz pedal! Let’s see the final result.

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Overall-Rating-4.5

The Darkglass Electronics Duality Dual Fuzz Engine is perhaps the ultimate “best of both worlds” fuzz pedal. It sounds great on both guitar and bass. It blends both clean and fuzz tones easily. And it combines 2 well-executed fuzz circuits which may be blended to your own personal preference. Another of the few leading contenders for being the best bass fuzz pedal for guitar, the Duality Dual Fuzz Engine gets a strong recommendation.

That concludes our Darkglass Electronics Duality Dual Fuzz Engine review. Thanks for reading.

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Absolutely in love. Noisy and beefy yet controlled pedals like these are what I look for when I need it on my bass. The filter is a sweet addition to this indeed, I always lean towards darker tones for my bass lines.

  2. Scored a Duality fuzz after seeing so many positive reviews. Perfection in one compact unit…in my humble opinion of course. Your review nails every aspect of this pedal.
    Really sad to hear of Andys passing. Peace and love to his family, from NZ

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