Last weekend I received the pedal tourbox from Dunwich Amplification. It's a mix of 7 fuzzes, overdrives and distortions. Some are currently in production, some are new and being tested and there's a bonus fuzz from Magic Pedals, who provides some assembly support for Dunwich.
I recorded 2 sets of clips for each pedal, one fingerstyle and one pick, with different riffs that I think highlight each appropriately. These clips are more geared towards heavy styles of playing, because that's just my preference and I had a limited amount of time to do a lot of demos. That's not all these pedals are good for and I attempted to showcase some lower gain settings as well, but given the number of demos I was making I didn't have the time to run through multiple basses, styles and tunings to cover everyone's tastes. I think they should still be useful to a lot of people.
First, here's a breakdown of the gear used for recording:
Bass: Fender Precision Standard (MIM), Dimarzio Model P pickup, DR Nickel Lo-Rider strings in BEAD tuning.
Pedalboard: Turbo Tuner > fdeck HPF-Pre (Volume max, HPF to 35 Hz) > demo pedal. One Spot power supply and daisy chain used.
Amp: Gallien-Krueger MB800 (Pre-Gain set to noon, all EQ to 1 o'clock, Contour off)
Cab: Eminence Basslite loaded DIY ported 1x10 (from THIS thread)
Microphone: Shure SM7b
Interface: Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 (using one of the stock preamp channels, not the "Liquid" modeling preamps)
DAW: Logic 9 on an iMac (no EQ or compression added, just some leveling on the master channel for volume). Drums are Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.0.
Ok, now on to the demos clips!
The Wizard Fuzz is a high gain distortion/fuzz, combining FET, JFET and BJT gain stages, with 2 band EQ, gain and 12 position depth control. It's not exactly the standard "modded Big Muff", more like running a boost/overdrive into a muff tone wise. The depth control serves to limit the low end being sent into clipping, a way to tighten up the low end when boosting the gain or EQ. Heavily boosting the "Lo" EQ causing some clipping, so the Depth control helps dial it back and make it more usable. Combining all 3 tone controls provides a very wide variety of sounds.
Clip 1: Bypass. Clip 2: Hi - noon, Lo - noon, Depth - max, Gain - noon. Clip 3: Hi - 2 o'clock, Lo - 10 o'clock, Depth - 9, Gain - 8 o'clock. Clip 4: Hi - 10 o'clock, Lo - 2 o'clock, Depth - 6, Gain - 10 o'clock. Clip 5: Hi - min, Lo - max, Depth - 2, Gain - 2 o'clock. Clip 6: Hi - 11 o'clock, Lo - max, Depth - 4, Gain - 1 o'clock. Clip 7: Hi - min, Lo - 9 o'clock, Depth - 5, Gain - max.
The Cthulhu Fuzz is a high gain, one knob fuzz pedal, based off a modified Fuzz Face style circuit, with extra gain added. I personally have not had a lot of luck with one knob Fuzz Face style pedals on bass in the past (there are a couple I still haven't had the pleasure to try yet), they tend to get rather unpleasant mixture of compressed and fizzy. This pedal handles to the low end no problem, without getting flubby, and never got any unpleasant ultra high sizzle. Since there is only one control on this pedal (volume), I varied the volume and tone pots on the bass to demonstrate some tonal variation. Cutting the volume pot and tone pots in the right combination got a sort of "cocked wah" tone that I rather liked for fingerstyle playing. Is it a "one trick pony"? Sure, but if you like that trick, it pulls it off fantastically.
Clip 1: Bypass. Clip 2: Vol - max, Tone - max. Clip 3: Vol - 75%, Tone - max. Clip 4: Vol - 50%, Tone - max. Clip 5: Vol - 25%, Tone - 75%. Clip 6: Volume - 25%, Tone - min. Clip 7: Vol - 50%, Tone - min.
The Volt Thrower is a overdrive/distortion based on a heavily modified/redesigned RAT, with 2 band EQ, gain control and switching between 6 clipping modes (low gain LED, high gain LED, low gain Silicon, high gain Silicon, low gain Germanium and No Diodes mode). This is one of the pedals I was most excited to try, because I love that ragged, growly signature RAT sound, but always have a problem with the low cut aspect of them. I've had some elaborate clean blend setups and tried a few of the boutique modded clones before and never really been fully satisfied with the results. This pedal features two LM308 chips, along with all of the various clipping modes and a completely redesigned power section that addresses a lot of those low end issues, without sacrificing that basic "RAT" tone and it really nails it. In addition to the controls on the face of the pedal, there are internal trim pots for controlling sub frequency clipping. I didn't mess with these, but it's good to know there's even more tonal flexibility available here to explore. The pedal can also be run at 18v for greater headroom (which I've been told by the builder can actually use an 18v adapter to run up to 36v internally...those specifics are beyond my understanding).
The Modded HM2 is, well...a modified Boss HM-2. A high gain distortion pedal with 4 band active EQ (Low, Low Mid, High Mid, High), gain control and 3 way switching for both hard and soft clipping modes (hard: LED/No Diodes/Silicon, soft: Silicon/No Diodes/Germanium). This isn't a bass specific pedal, in fact I actually didn't have that much interest in trying this on bass when the box arrived, as I've tried out its namesake before and it never seemed that usable on bass. I was pleasantly surprised that this pedal served up some nice high gain distortion, with a lot of tonal flexibility between all the EQ and clipping controls. The No Diodes clipping modes offered a big volume boost, more headroom and more open low end, but the other modes provided some interesting variations on tightness of the gain and low end. The gain is pretty aggressive, while never really getting into low gain OD territority, it didn't cut out or make the tone sound anemic when dialed way down. I was pleasantly surprised by this one.
Clip 1: Bypass. Clip 2: Bass - noon, LowMid - noon, HighMid - noon, High - noon, Gain - noon, Soft Clip - No Diodes, Hard Clip - No Diodes. Clip 3: Bass - 3 o'clock, LowMid - 1 o'clock, HighMid - 1 o'clock, High - 1 o'clock, Gain - noon, Soft Clip - Germanium, Hard Clip - Silicon. Clip 4: Bass - max, LowMid - noon, HighMid - 2 o'clock, High - 1 o'clock, Gain - 2 o'clock, Soft Clip - Silicon, Hard Clip - Silicon. Clip 5: Bass - 3 o'clock, LowMid - 1 o'clock, HighMid - 2 o'clock, High - 2 o'clock, Gain - 8 o'clock, Soft Clip - Germanium, Hard Clip - No Diodes. Clip 6: Bass - 2 o'clock, LowMid - 9 o'clock, HighMid - 9 o'clock, High - 3 o'clock, Gain - 3 o'clock, Soft Clip - Silicon, Hard Clip - Silicon. Clip 7: Bass - max, LowMid - max, HighMid - max, High - 10 o'clock, Gain - max, Soft Clip - Germanium, Hard Clip - LED.
Ol' Dirty Bass
The Ol' Dirty Bass is a bass specific distortion, based on a modified version of the OCD, with 2 band EQ, gain and 6 position depth control and switching between LED and MOSFET clipping. Now in the interest of fairness, this is one of the pedals that is still in development and included in the tourbox to get some feedback. I found the general character of this pedal to be a good OCD style dirt box with some more than average low end on tap (plenty of that, my walls were shaking when I turned it up with the depth maxed out). As it is now, the pedal is a little dark, even for bass. For those that like a darker, thicker type of OD/distortion, its right on. The difference between the LED and MOSFET clipping modes isn't drastic. The MOSFET mode was a little tighter and higher gain and I tended to prefer it. I've already talked to the builder about this one and he's planning on making some further changes to allow for more headroom and added high end presence and treble on tap. I've noticed most OCD based pedals aimed at bass tend to either have a nice tight gain structure, which lends itself well to hard attack, but a little lacking in the deep low end or have a very generous low end, but seem to be more loose and wooly with the gain, missing out on some of that nice attack (especially for pick playing). Having the 2 band EQ and the depth control seems like the perfect way to balance between those two extremes, so I'll be looking forward to trying out (and hopefully showcasing more demos for) the eventual revised version.
The DA120 Overdrive is a FET based overdrive, which is a pedal interpretation of an Orange/Matamp style amp, with 2 band EQ, gain and 6 position depth control. This is another one of the pedals that's still in development, though I'd say it's pretty right on its target. It's not a bass specific pedal, but it works about as well as plugging into a vintage 120 watt tube head. It doesn't really do low gain, more of a constant pushed tube amp type sound. The switch is meant for low/high gain modes, but is apparently not very functional for that right now and is one of the coming refinements for the pedal. So it's somewhat of a narrow focus for bass, but there are some good tones to be found.
Included in the Dunwich tourbox was also a Shrine Fuzz, by Magic Pedals. This is a pretty straight forward and familiar concept, a modified version of a 70's violet ram's head Big Muff, with the traditional tone and sustain controls along with an additional mid control knob. This pedal is pretty much turn it on and fuzz out, no real low gain tones to speak of, but it's a good execution of a solid, popular fuzz pedal. The mid knob is interactive with the tone, I found it useful to just pick a point on the tone knob and sweep the mid to find a voicing that jumped out at me. Plenty of low end and plenty of gain on tap, it never got squashed or farty sounding to my ear and the mid control knob allowed for some mid emphasis on attack when playing fingerstyle that I enjoyed. I don't find these types of pedals to be very useful with faster pick playing, but there were a few settings that I think worked well for that.
That's all folks, I hope some of you find these demo clips useful. I think Dunwich Amplification has some great bass friendly pedals. I already own the Wizard and Cthulhu fuzzes and they get used pretty frequently. I ordered a Volt Thrower and a Modded HM2 after trying them out. I was looking forward to the Volt Thrower, as I mentioned I have a long running adventure with trying to find a bass friendly RAT that I can bond with, but the HM2 was an out of left field surprise.
I also made guitar demo clips for all of these pedals. I won't clog up the forum with them, but if you'd like the check them out, they're on my soundcloud account with their own playlist.
Thanks a lot, guv! Great sounds from all of them. Now I'm gassing for the Ctulhu fuzz even worse than ever though. I heard one of your clips before but this is definitely the last nail in the coffin. Now I just need the munniez... It sounds badass on guitar but I liked the fingerstyle sound on bass a lot as well.
Flatwound Club Member #0112358 //// Yorkville/Traynor Club Member #125 //// 15" Club Member #24
I'm in pretty constant contact with Nick ("dunwichamps", as you can see above), because I've already bought some pedals from him before, he's made me a preamp pedal and he's currently building me a tube head. Generally though he announces upcoming preorders on the Dunwich Facebook page, with available pedals and prices listed. He also has a subforum in the sharktank on ILF, he usually posts info there as well.
Here's a very different quick demo. Another TB user asked me to record a clip with my Carvin SB4000, for an active jazz sound. So I did a quick snippet with fingerstyle and picking in Eb, with a specific setting from the Wizard Fuzz demos.