There are more indy pedal builders in the world today than ever before. We are truly in the golden age of guitar pedals, and frankly, there are a lot more great builders & pedals that deserve your attention than we have the time and resources to provide with in-depth review coverage. But one standout pedal builder we’re going to talk about today is Old Blood Noise Endeavors. And we’re going to focus on one pedal in particular: the Haunt Fuzz.
The Old Blood Noise Haunt is the first of a string of unique releases from this crew, and what you have here is OBNE’s take on a gated silicon fuzz pedal with plenty of options that could make it an essential assimilation into your guitar rig.
But talking about this pedal doesn’t really do it justice. Nor does any of the rest of my banter you’ll read in this review really. I’d suggest just watching the YouTube demo I made and then decide if this noisebox is a good fit for your music.
But I’ll try to adhere to some framework of protocol and give you a bit of technical info and personal thoughts based on my experience with the Haunt. You might find a few useful nuggets of insight in here.
Volume: Controls the overall level of the pedal.
Mix: Controls the mix of effected signal and uneffected signal. All the way down is 100% uneffected signal, all the way up is 100% wet, effected signal.
Fuzz: Controls the amount of gain, or in this case gritty fuzz. The last 5% can get feedback-ish and noisy. On purpose.
Tone: Controls a high pass filter. All the way to the left is a bassier/muddy tone. All the way to the right is a sharper/treblier signal. Treblier. With treble.
Gate: Controls the amount of “squash” on the signal. All the way to the left is open, ungated signal. All the way to right is heavily compressed, “squashed” signal.
The Haunt has 2 toggle switch controls: Mode and Low.
The Mode control switches between a lower volume, more compressed and harmonic fuzz (toggle to the left) and a louder, more open mid-range fuzz (toggle to the right). The Tone, Fuzz, and Gate controls all respond in a unique way within each mode. So mess around with it.
The Low control switches between a normal signal (toggle to the left) and a bass boosted signal (toggle to the right). Fattens it up a bit.
Sound & Performance:
The Haunt is one of those pedals that makes you want to plug in and play. Right out of the box I fell in love with it. So much so, in fact, that I recorded the demo above without really knowing what the hell I was doing with the pedal. Yes, a quick overview of the manual got me going with enough competency to make some noise with it, but it’s this sudden inspiration to just run with it and the Haunt’s immediate playability that makes this pedal so special. Take heed of OBNE’s motto, “Take risks. Make Noise.” That’s what this pedal is all about.
With the Mode switch to the right, the Haunt produces a more open fuzz sound that’s louder and “bigger” without the need to crank the pedal’s Volume knob very high. With this mode I find the Gate knob’s full range to be quite useful. At fully counter-clockwise the Gate will reduce the saturation of the fuzz a bit, cleaning the pedal up more so than cutting back the Fuzz knob. Right when you crank the Gate to around 9 o’clock the Fuzz blooms into a nice chunky rhythm sound. Pushing the Gate towards noon and beyond compresses the fuzz until it’s squeezed into a full-on buzzy velcro fuzz. The maxed Gate tones are great with single note lines and surprisingly good for raunchy rhythm playing as well.
With the Mode switch in the left position the pedal is noticeably more saturated and compressed. You’ll want to crank up the Volume to increase the output to sit in the mix, but be mindful when switching back to the right Mode setting or might get a massive volume spike. I prefer to keep the Gate pretty low with this mode and use it mainly for highly saturated fuzzy rhythm tones and saturated leads. Gate at 9 o’clock in this mode is a solid sweet spot to start with.
As for further sculpting your fuzz sound, the Tone knob lets you roll off the high end as you turn in counter-clockwise to tame any harshness or to just dial in a darker, warmer tone. Don’t go too low with it as it muddies up a bit. Unless you dig that. The Low switch (when flipped to the right) adds some extra girth to the bottom end. I’ll generally keep it on all the time for a beefy fuzz sound, but having the option to keep it thin allows you to leave room for your bassist and/or other guitarist when in a band setting. And you could cut the Tone a bit if you’re taking lower end duties while your other guitarist covers the high end.
While I generally don’t find a Mix knob too useful on a fuzz pedal when used with a guitar, I found myself rather enjoying the clean + fuzz sounds the Haunt offers. Keep the Mix low, flip to the right Mode setting with the Gate & Fuzz at minimum, kick on some delay and/or reverb, and binge on some clean-ish/dirty ambient excursions to see for yourself how fun it can be.
Any shortcomings are minor. Maxing the Fuzz gets a bit noisy although that’s part its charm if you like noisy, feedbacky freakouts at the end of songs. The Gate can get “choky” and can spike the noise floor between your playing when maxed out, particular on the left Mode setting. If the circuit were ever revised I wonder if the Gate could be refined to have a noise gating element to silence the space between your playing while not compromising the great tones in this pedal. Or maybe the Gate knob could apply a noise gating effect while a “Comp” knob applied compression and squeeze. But it’s all about making noise really, and I can’t really find a glaring fault with the Haunt. The vibe is more indy & roots rock than Hendrix or Gilmour (although you can arguably coax some sounds from it in those territories), but as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into, you’ll probably love this pedal as much as I do… maybe even more. It definitely sits among the very best fuzz pedals I’ve played. Old Blood Noise Endeavors rocked it with the Haunt. Let it rock you, too.
The Old Blood Noise Haunt Fuzz is a versatile and inspiring fuzz pedal from one of the more original builders in the modern guitar pedal scene. It can be open, full, & dynamic or compressed & buzzy with a range of sounds in between. The Low switch and Tone knob give it added flexibility for integrating in a mix or band setting, letting you boost the lows or cut higher frequencies, respectively. The Mix can work with lower Fuzz & Gate settings to achieve some excellent, not quite clean, not quite dirty tones. It’s in the upper tier of the best fuzz pedals I’ve play and will likely not disappoint you either. Well worth checking out and probably deserves a spot on your pedalboard.
That concludes our Old Blood Noise Endeavors Haunt Fuzz review. Thanks for reading.
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