Review of: Rainger FX Dr Freakenstein Fuzz
Reviewed by: Gabriel TanakaRating:4On October 16, 2013Last modified:October 6, 2016
There’s something about Rainger FX that stands apart from most manufacturers of guitar pedals. While some companies design outlandish effects every now and then, they primarily do that on the side it seems while providing more traditional effects as standard. Not Rainger FX. Everything they make is extreme, otherworldly, and not traditional by any standard. And their pedals are just simply downright “cool”. The Rainger FX Dr Freakenstein Fuzz DrFF-3 (and Igor) is one of their flagship offerings, being an extreme fuzz pedal with a few very non-traditional uses. It just might be the most extreme fuzz pedal around.
This pedal is not for the faint of heart. It has one primary fuzz distortion setting: Full on! In the Rainger FX F.A.Q., when asked if the fuzz could be turned down, David replied, “No. Why would you?” When approaching this pedal, just know that the Dr Freakenstein Fuzz DrFF-3 is a monster. Be weary of awakening this beast. Once you throw the switch, all hell will be unleashed. Before we bring this monster to life in our full Rainger FX Dr Freakenstein Fuzz DrFF-3 (and Igor) review, let’s run down the features real quick.
Colossal wall-of-fuzz sound.
Gated fuzz for total silence between notes.
Knifeswitch powers up the unit by throwing the knife switch manually. In the “Up” position no power is drawn from the battery.
VOL. control knob adjusts the output volume.
OSC. control knob changes the harmonic overtone of the sound, producing various filtered effects.
MOD. Switch disables OSC. Control knob, switching the on RATE control knob to allow the Oscillation to move back and forth.
RATE control knob controls the speed of the MOD oscillator, it’s frequency shown by the flashing white and red meter backlights.
HI/LO pushbutton changes the effect from a low intensity to a high intensity overtone.
Dr Freakenstein’s assistant is Igor. It’s a foot-controlled pressure pad. Igor may be plugged into the OSC. Input on the back panel to control the OSC. (bypassing the knob). Igor may be plugged into the MOD. RANGE Input to control the bias of the modulation oscillator; the harder you press, the higher the range sweep.
Powered by 9-Volt batter or 9VDC power adapter.
True Bypass footswitch for letting your signal pass unaffected when disengaged.
Sound & Performance:
I pulled out my Strat, dialed in a nice clean amp sound, and put the Dr Freakenstein between. Then I threw the Killswitch and brought the monster to life. It’s Alive!
This pedal roars with a massive barrage of fuzzed out noise. It’s all or nothing with the DrFF-3, but all is certainly a good thing. The Dr Freakenstein delivers wave and wave of thick fuzz that’s loose and spongy, yet abruptly tight thanks to the gate effect that cuts off the sound between notes. It’s this gated effect that keeps the monster from running free, added a certain amount of dynamic control to this chaotic fuzz pedal.
The OSC. knob is the key to dialing in your sound. Moving the knob through its range lets you hone in on certain frequency overtones that sound appealing according to how you’re using the pedal at any given time. The amount of complex tones available by adjustment of the OSC. knob makes the Dr Freakenstein DrFF-3 a real gem to have in the studio for layering some really unique-sounding textures. But it’s even more rewarding in a spontaneous jam situation. Simply find a tone that sounds cool and see what kind of playing it inspires. The DrFF-3 is the kind of fuzz for the guitarist who likes to defy tradition in favor of radical new sonic territories.
The sounds produced are certainly intense, but with careful attenuation of the pedal’s VOLUME knob, you can match unity gain for a sound that isn’t too overwhelming. The Dr Freakenstein sings with a smooth fuzz saturation that’s great for lead lines and solos as well as thick chordal rhythms. Since the pedal is heavily-gated, you’ll typically want to play with your guitar’s volume knob all the way up. However, cut it back a little if you like that splatty, dying signal effect.
Flipping the RATE switch makes things even more interesting by adding some movement to your sound. This switch overrides the OSC. knob, sweeping through the range of oscillation in a rhythm set by the rate knob. The RATE and MOD. functions allow the Dr Freakenstien Fuzz to add phasing-like movement to your sound that’s quite unlike any traditional modulation effect.
The HI/LO pushbutton is useful for shaping the overall character and sound of the Dr Freakenstein by simply switching the harmonic overtone from high to low intensity. In the HI position the OSC. is more intense and higher pitched. When using the MOD. function on the HI setting, the sweep extends to much higher range for more extreme sounds. The LO function is lower in frequency as is to be expected. The MOD. effects are bit more subtle in this setting.
Before we dive into the full use of the Igor functionality, there’s a neat trick I discovered using the Igor to extend to the low-end tonal range. Simply plug in the Igor to the MOD. RANGE Input with the HI/LO switch set to Lo. You can get some really cool sub-octave fuzz tones this way. Try using your neck pickup with the tone rolled back for best results.
Plugging in the Igor extends the creative potential of the Dr Freakenstein even further. The Igor is a little, stomp-able… “thing” …that plugs into the back of the DrFF-3 via either of the two 1/8” input jacks on the back of the pedal. Plugging Igor into the OSC. input allows you to control the oscillation of the pedal in real-time as if you were turning the OSC. knob manually. This is very cool for generating real-time filter sweeps. I find it especially useful while when the HI/LO switch is set to HI. Using Igor in the MOD. RANGE input allows you to press Igor with your foot to bring in the modulation effect. You can still use the RATE knob to preselect the rate. The Igor simply makes the oscillator modulation audible in your overall sound.
There’s certainly a lot of serious potential for you sonic sound-manglers to assemble your own monstrous sounds with the the Rainger FX Dr Freakenstein DrFF-3 (and Igor). One of the coolest pedals I’ve heard. Let’s see the final result.
The Rainger FX Dr Freakenstein Fuzz DrFF-3 (and Igor) is a pedal for those seeking the most twisted and extreme sound sculpting implements. This pedal will absolutely punish your audience with a full-on fuzz assault, yet it can sing with smooth fuzzy lead saturation for those who can tame this beast. The manual oscillation adjustment lets you dial in some very interesting, filtered textures, while the modulation will allow you to add movement and depth to your sound. Dr Freakenstein’s helpful assistant, Igor, will add further expression to your sound by allowing realtime foot-controlled tone and modulation adjustments. And just face it: this pedal looks cool as hell. For those who like their dirt pedals intense, the Rainger FX Dr Freakenstein Fuzz DrFF-3 (and Igor) might be the most extreme fuzz pedal around.
That concludes our Rainger FX Dr Freakenstein Fuzz DrFF-3 (and Igor) review. Thanks for reading.
Want to buy the Rainger FX Dr Freakenstein?
March 11, 2016 at 2:47 am
How did I not know about this one before…
Can you do a review of Death by Audio’s Robot?