MXR has launched the Hybrid Fuzz, a fuzz pedal for those who want a Fuzz Face but just can’t decide which kind to get, and maybe one for those who would simply like both, because this combines both germanium and silicon transistors to give you the best of both worlds from the one circuit.
Germanium and silicon is the great divide among the fuzz community. The Fuzz Face has been made with both, with the earlier designs featuring germanium in the circuit, offering a warmer, woolier sound, with later silicon Fuzz Faces more aggressive, with a bit more venom in the top end. Both sound superb in the right context, so being able to have all this character in one circuit makes for a versatile fuzz.
MXR’s tasting notes whet the appetite. The germanium, it says, yields “smooth, shaggy warmth”, while the silicon is where the fuzz gets its “snarling, high-gain aggression”. Nice.
Better yet, the layout and design of the fuzz could not be much more simple. There is a footswitch to engage and bypass the effect. There is a Volume knob. There is a Fuzz knob, to quote/unquote adjust the intensity of the fuzz. You plug your guitar cable in one 1/4” input on the side of the pedal, another on the other side. The red LED lets you know when the effect is engaged and away you go.
Thereafter it is all about where you position those dials – and indeed the type of electric guitar you are playing, and how you work those volume controls. The Hybrid Fuzz is designed to react to your playing, cleaning up as you back the volume off. It can do the super psychedelic sounds of the ‘60s.
You would expect it to with that enclosure, its lysergic artwork courtesy of One Horse Town design studio. It also does “high-desert riffage”, which presumably opens up all kinds of possibilities for Kyuss/QOTSA tones.
The Hyrid Fuzz can be run off a 9V battery or DC pedalboard power supply, drawing 2.5mA. The Hybrid Fuzz is not the first to run both silicon and germanium in one circuit. The EarthQuaker Devices Hoof offers a similar platform, albeit with an added Shift control that allows you to shape the mids.
The Vemuram Myriad, with its brass housing and Feel and Tone controls, is a Japanese-made boutique offering, but expect to pay around £399 street for that. At £189 / $169 street, the MXR Hybrid Fuzz looks decent value, and ships from 26 June. For more details, head over to Jim Dunlop.