W&C Phat Phuk B: A short review

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Stellvia, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. Stellvia


    Jul 18, 2015
    Perth, Aus

    So I’ve had my PPB for about a week now, the final piece of my pedal board puzzle and I thought I would give my impressions/a short review of it, being that it’s been a bit less talked about for a while.

    1. Initial impressions: This is one of the new/re-issue versions that W&C brought back as some people preferred the original PPB to the replacement Suppa Phat Phuk. Before I put it on my board I popped the back of to check out the insides. It does look quite different to previous photos I’ve seen of the circuitry, with a green PCB with a different layout and the use of standard resistors etc rather than some of the larger “old school” parts used in the original. Germanium transistors and JFET are readily identifiable. No idea if there would be any sound difference between the originals and the latest run, was just curious to see what/if anything had changed. Reportedly a custom shop item according to W&C’s website, I ordered mine directly from the Australian dealer who had it in stock.

    2. Build quality: Very solid pedal, interior workmanship is great and the finish is one of the nicest I’ve seen on a pedal. It is obviously a very pink pedal, but it’s not until you see it in person that you realise how pink it really is! It is a very eye catching shade of pink and the sparkle finish gives an almost 3D like depth to the pedal. Very pleasing to the eye, if you don’t happen to mind the pink!

    3. Pedal placement: I’ve been interested in this pedal for a while after hearing many reports that said it added a special something to their tone. As the original run had finished I thought it would be a pedal I wouldn’t get a chance to try, very happy that W&C decided to reissue it! As I started to play with it I tried it both pre drive and post and found that I liked it better running just before my tube preamp. It quickly became apparent that even though I bought it to be a boost pedal I was most likely going to be running it as an always on type pedal! Fortunately the Amptweaker Pressurizer has a boost function that I can use to push the drive on the Alpha Omicron and the Olympic when I need it.

    4. The sound: the PPB is advertised as a slightly dirty germanium bass boost but this doesn’t really describe what it’s actually doing to your bass sound. It’s definitely one of those pedals that you don’t really hear what it’s doing until you compare it to your bypassed sound. My clean bass sound (Kiesel VB4 Short Scale -> touch of compression from the Pressurizer -> Olympic MkIII eq’d to taste) sounds great, but the PPB (volume at noon, which is a tad past unity) adds a little extra sparkle and 3D quality to the sound. To my ears I’m hearing a slight bump in the high mids region, accounting for the sparkle and a slight tightening of the lows, not so much a loss as taking away a bit of flabbiness in the sound. Increasing the PPB volume past noon starts to push the Olympic into a “tubey” overdrive with a corresponding volume increase. Bypassing the Olympic into my GK MB110 + MBP112 the PPB actually sounds quite clean. The original W&C demo has quite a dirty sound but I believe this is from the pedal pushing a tube amp, and I get this sound running the PPB running into the Olympic. Without the tube preamp it sounds like a reasonable clean boost and it still had the same sparkle and tightening effect on the sound. With regards to using the PPB with dirt, it sounded great pushing the Alpha Omicron, but I couldn’t tell if it was adding anything to the sound or if it was mainly driving the AOm harder. Placed after the AOm in the chain, the PPB has a much greater effect on the sound. It adds a much greater depth of harmonic richness to the distortion/OD from the AOm which was really pleasing. Pushing the AOm with the boost from the Pressurizer and following up with the PPB gives me a wickedly heavy, and nicely saturated tone will still retaining great note definition! Placed after the Morris Polymoon I’ve found that the PPB really wakes up the delay and reverb tails, again giving them a bit more sparkle and clarity.

    Final thoughts: though I’ve only had the PPB for a short time I’m really happy with it a glad to see that it had lived up to my possibly unrealistic expectations of what it might do to my sound. It adds a great, special something to my sound and I can see why a lot of folks have used it as an always on pedal. I have a fondness for Germanium transistor pedals and though this one is more clean boost than fuzzy saturation I’m really happy with it! I would say it’s one of those pedals that just adds a certain something and has a deserved reputation as a unique boost circuit with an eye catching finish and cheeky name!

    Feel free to share experiences or ask questions!
    loopee, *Tempest*, Bassbeater and 5 others like this.
  2. extreme

    extreme Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    The way you use and describe this pedal is similar to what I do with my Submarine pedal, but I'm thinking these two pedals are very different circuits. Cool anyhow to read your review!
    Stellvia likes this.
  3. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    I've had one for a while. I use it with synth and bass guitar. I'm a fan.
    Shadowkast, XXL and Stellvia like this.
  4. XXL

    XXL calm seas dont make skilled sailors

    Jun 14, 2007
    I like the PPB farther down the signal chain and use it more as a pre than a boost. I really like the tone I get stacking a B3K into the PPB.

    A while back I had a Suppa PP and A/Bd it with the PPB.
    Tried both for about a week with the band and then with both on the board at the same time.
    I found that the PPB had this depth to it I really liked and couldn’t get out of the SPP.
    I liked the added features of the SPP but I couldn’t get the same tone and feel out of it that compared to the PPB.

    BTW, excellent review @Stellvia
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
    Stellvia likes this.
  5. Stellvia


    Jul 18, 2015
    Perth, Aus
    Thanks @XXL

    Mine is now firmly setup as pre too. It really does add a disecernable depth and presence to the sound! Had looked at the SPP but was always drawn to the original PPB and I’m really glad I got one! Also agree that it really makes the Darkglass pedals sound even better, loving my AOm through the PPB!
    zapped777 and XXL like this.
  6. keatz


    Jan 19, 2011
    Ahhhh. Ive currently got a SPP in the post and i spent a couple of hours redoing my board today in prep but ive got a spot for it 2nd in the chain after my hyper luminal compressor. After reading this thread it seems i should of put it right before my pre and after my OD's..........
    JimboP likes this.
  7. Stellvia


    Jul 18, 2015
    Perth, Aus
    Definitely try it in both spots! I found that before my OD it boosted but didn’t really change the sound and was much more noticeable in what it was doing after the OD’s. Really depends if you want to use it as a boost or an always on tone sweetener!
  8. keatz


    Jan 19, 2011
    Planning on using it when i want a little extra harmonic richness, but who knows how i will end up using it hah. I will also be using it in conjunction with an omicron like u have stated
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