Menatone The PoPo Fuzz Review – Best Silicon Fuzz Pedal?

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Menatone’s The PoPo Fuzz takes me back to my first experience playing through Menatone pedals. I was trying out overdrive and distortion pedals at Rudy’s Music in NYC when an employee came over with a King of the Britains and Blue Collar Overdrive. The little combo amp I was playing through suddenly became a raging hot rod, spewing out aggressive yet very musical tones. The other pedals I tried before suddenly sounded weak, thin, and lifeless by comparison. I realized then that there’s something special about pedals bearing the Menatone name. High headroom, touch sensitivity, and dynamics are a few things that come to mind. Every Menatone pedal I’ve played shares these characteristics and has added a shot of adrenalin to whatever rig I was playing through. The PoPo Fuzz is the latest Menatone pedal to carry on this legacy.

While classic Menatone pedals have been updated over the years, I was especially excited to see a new fuzz pedal enter the roster. According to Menatone, The PoPo Fuzz delivers “incredible dynamics and punch” with “a huge range of musical settings”. This sounds like the kind of PoPo you wouldn’t mind getting stopped by. Is it the best silicon fuzz pedal around? We’ll lay down the law in our Menatone The PoPo Fuzz review.

Menatone-The-PoPo-Fuzz-Review-Best-Silicon-Fuzz-Pedal-02Features:

Fuzz control knob adjusts the level of gain and sustain.

Sag control knob functions like a kind of pre-gain. Higher levels will produce a pronounced compression effect.

Vol control knob adjusts output volume level.

Bias internal trim pot sets the idle current of the effect.

Hi Cut internal trim pot shaves treble off the tone.

½ watt carbon comp resistors.

Rolled polyester caps.

Audio grade electrolytic caps.

Charge pump boosted power supply.

Visit Menatone for more info about The PoPo Fuzz.

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Sound & Performance:

The PoPo Fuzz falls in the vein of classic silicon fuzz pedals, but there are several noteworthy features that separate The PoPo Fuzz from your run of the mill fuzz. A popular update to many 2-knob style fuzz pedal designs is to include a Bias knob to tweak the amount of voltage in the circuit. Guitarists realized long ago that varying voltage levels have a dramatic effect on the tone and response of fuzz pedals. The PoPo Fuzz’s Sag control sets the bias of the first gain stage, resulting in tight, sputtery, velcro style fuzz sounds to thick washes of saturated silicon fuzz sustain.

In addition to the external Sag control, there is an internal Bias trimpot that adds further flexibility to The PoPo Fuzz by allowing you to extend the range of the Sag in either direction. I found myself cutting back the Bias just a bit to reach a slightly lower range from the Sag control to achieve some really nice gated synth style tones. I find it best to set the internal Bias to your general preference and use the external Sag knob for any on the fly tweaking. This works well for guitarists who generally prefer a certain response from the pedal but still want a little flexibility when needed.

Some silicon fuzz pedals have a reputation for being a bit harsh on the top-end, especially when used with single coil pickups or a bright-sounding guitar in general. The PoPo Fuzz’s internal Hi Cut trimmer is ideal for rolling off a little bit of high end for a warmer vintage fuzz tone. The factory default setting is cut back just a bit, but it’s worth considering opening up the treble all the way and using your guitar’s tone control to cut back any high end if necessary. I rather like the full range sound, and some darker sounding humbuckers will benefit from the wide open response of the pedal.

The PoPo Fuzz has a real in-your-face sound with all the front knobs set to noon or higher. Pushing the Volume a bit really hits the front end of your amp hard. High output and loads of headroom are hallmarks of all Menatone dirt pedals I’ve heard, and The PoPo Fuzz delivers in this department as expected. Some old-school fuzzes suffer from a lack of output. You’ll have no such problems with The PoPo Fuzz as it can get very loud.

While The PoPo Fuzz can get quite aggressive at higher fuzz settings, the pedal cleans up remarkably well with a slight cut of your guitar’s volume knob. In fact, one of the best ways to play this pedal is to simply find your preferred “maxed out” setting on the pedal and control it from there with your guitar’s on board controls. You can coax all manner of gentle to raging fuzz tones from the dynamics in your playing. This is one fuzz pedal that distinguished guitar players will really appreciate.

Menatone says that “this is not your typical crank all the controls to ten to get a good tone type of fuzz”. If you do have an itch for some extreme settings, you’ll bring up the noise floor a bit which isn’t surprising considering the high amounts of volume and gain on tap. Taking the controls towards their limits but not all the way can yield some usable, raunchy results. Just listen for the sweet spots, and trust your ears to hone in on your perfect fuzz tones.

The PoPo Fuzz is another winner, just what you’d expect being one of Menatone’s guitar pedals. Let’s see the final result.

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Overall-Rating-4.5

The PoPo Fuzz from Menatone is a top-tier fuzz pedal for anyone seeking a classic sounding fuzz with modern tone shaping flexibility. The Sag and internal Bias control work in tandem to let you achieve a wide range of sputtering fizzy gated synth tones to all-out compressed fuzz mayhem. Every tasteful fuzz tone in between is achievable by guitarists who relish touch sensitivity, controllable dynamics, and singing fuzz saturation. If you’re looking for the best silicon fuzz pedal, definitely check out Menatone’s The PoPo Fuzz.

That concludes our Menatone The PoPo Fuzz review. Thanks for reading.

 

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Red Witch Fuzz God II Review – Best Silicon Fuzz Distortion Pedal?

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The Red Witch Fuzz God II is the successor to Red Witch’s Fuzz God pedal, offering a welcome twist with some silicon fuzz flavor in contrast to the germanium original. Like the dying god, Osiris, the original Fuzz God has made way for a new king to resume his throne. And what a king this is.

Red Witch have a reputation for making exceptional analog pedals of the highest build quality that sound absolutely brilliant. Check out Red Witch’s Empress Chorus, Violetta Delay, and Synthotron pedals for further sampling of their fine work. The Fuzz God II takes their renowned expertise to far dirtier extremes with a versatile, “all-out” fuzz that can go from subtle and classic to rampaging “wrath of god” chaos. Is this the best silicon fuzz distortion pedal around? You’ll find out in our Red Witch Fuzz God II review. Let’s run down the features and awaken this sleeping giant.

Features:

All-analog silicon diode fuzz.

Volume control knob for adjusting output level.

Fuzz control knob for adjusting gain level.

Red-Witch-Fuzz-God-II-Best-Silicon-Fuzz-Distortion-Pedal-02Wrath control for adjusting frequency oscillation. This knob is highly interactive with the Fuzz and Sputter controls and can create sub-octave fuzz sounds and extreme note corruption effects and other terrifying tones.

Sputter control knob adjusts the DC bias to create everything from sputtering, gated fuzz sounds to singing, sustaining silicon fuzz saturation.

Awaken foot-switch engages and deactivates the effect.

Lightning Bolt foot-switch activates the Wrath control knob. Disengage when the pedal is not in use to prevent signal bleed.

Lightning toggle-switch doubles the available gain on tap.

Ear toggle-switch boosts treble frequencies.

Internal Trim Pot adjusts the master bias on the transistors to create smooth or sputtery effects.

True Bypass for letting your signal pass unaffected when disengaged.

Powered by 9-volt battery or 9VDC Boss-style power supply.

Visit Red Witch for more info about the Fuzz God II.

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Sound & Performance:

The Fuzz God II is absolutely insane. I just have to go ahead and say it. Seriously, this pedal is nuts. You’ve been warned. I’m going to review this pedal “backwards” because you need to know about the extremities of this pedal to really understand what it’s all about. There are plenty of traditional fuzz pedals out there, and while the Fuzz God II captures a wealth of classic silicon fuzz tones to suit just about any playing style, this pedal offers some truly extreme and unique fuzz tones you won’t find anywhere else.

Some often complain about fuzz pedals that you have to tweak to make sound good. Well, that certainly isn’t a problem with the Fuzz God II. Its simple controls make it easy to dial in great classic fuzz sounds with ease. But the Fuzz God II really has much more to offer. It is a frightening deity in fuzz pedal form. Proper tribute should be paid accordingly.

I hit the Awaken foot-switch to unleash the monster, flipped the Lightning switch to double the gain, and gave the other foot-switch a stomp to incur the Wrath of the Fuzz God II. It can be a good idea to bring the Sputter down really low. You’ll need to contain and guide the overwhelming, godlike power that surges forth from this beast. Dialing in the Fuzz and Wrath between 8-11 o’clock brings forth sputtering velcro fuzz tones and interesting synth-like sounds. The Fuzz God II adds plenty of harmonic overtones to color your sound, and careful attenuation of the various control parameters will deliver very musical results. Use the Bright switch for a subtle boost in top-end, although on some settings this switch may dramatically change the harmonic response of the pedal. You can get lost in this pedal chasing that perfect sound, or you can simply crank some knobs and unleash a spontaneous roar of audio carnage.

It can be very interesting to leave the Sputter rolled clockwise with the Wrath engaged, if you’re brave enough.. But be aware that a storm will follow if you do. You can get some great sounds, but just keep playing and don’t stop. You’re guiding the lightening bolts of Zeus. If you’re unable to focus that kind of power it may blow up in your face. Fortunately, the Wrath has its own dedicated footswitch, so you can bring on the destruction precisely when needed and kick it off when you want the torrents of thunder to cease. After you’ve given your audience a taste of your fury, this is how you show them mercy. 

Oh, that’s too much, you say? The Fuzz God II is too intense for you, eh? You just want some good ‘ole rockin’ fuzz tones without all that wild and infinitely tweakable fuzz madness. Well, fear not, mortal one, for Red Witch has you covered. The Fuzz God II is loaded with straight-up rocking fuzz tones that are fat, dynamic, and full of singing silicon edginess.

Turn off the Wrath via the Lightning foot-switch and push the Sputter all the way up. Crank the Fuzz and you’ll be treated to some thick fuzz of epic proportions. The Lightning gain switch can give you crisp, more refined sounds or boosted gain for thicker fuzz tones that still retain definition and clarity. Both modes clean up very well even with the Fuzz maxed out. You can go from clean and gentle chordal arpeggiation to full-power rage with a simple twist of your guitar’s volume knob.

The Fuzz God II is truly a guitar pedal to be reckoned with. Let’s see the final result.

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Overall-Rating-4.0

The Red Witch Fuzz God II is one of the few fuzzes that can cover a full range of classic fuzz tones and still produce extreme, ultra-chaotic, yet musical fuzz sounds. With that being said, no other fuzz pedal can sound quite like the Fuzz God II. This is an essential pedal for the classic fuzz connoisseur or the gain-obsessed fuzz maniac. It’s a “Jekyll and Hyde” of a fuzz pedal and offers something for every fuzz junky. The delicate interaction of the controls will help you conjure up previously unimaginable fuzz sounds while still achieving vintage silicon fuzz tones. Looking for the best silicon fuzz distortion pedal? Don’t make a purchase until you try the Red Witch Fuzz God II.

That concludes our Red Witch Fuzz God II review. Thanks for reading.

 

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