Cave Passive Pedals
THE “MINI MIFF” PROVIDES TWO TYPES OF BRILLIANT OVERDRIVE SOUNDS TO CHOOSE FROM.
Overdrive 1 gives a “fuzzy” type sound, while Overdrive 2 will allow a much smoother audio feel. When switching to centre position you will create a clean, slight boosting effect.
Should work fine before or after other "Powered" pedals.
review by Chris Webbe
I have been asked to do a review of the Mini Miff passive overdrive pedal from Cave pedals. For the testing I used a Boogie simul satellite and a V twin pedal and the guitars were my work Strat 50 anniversary with vintage / modern PU switching and my studio fave custom 24 PRS with humbuckers.
The pedal is well presented and comes with a description of the various sounds. What I wasn't prepared for was the variety I could get from this one non battery driven box. At first I found some really good sounds and some that I was not so keen on which of course is purely subjective. It's when you get into the nuts and bolts that you can see what this pedal can do.
The box is well built and has 3 modes OD 1 which is kind of a 60s fuzz, a clean setting which gives a volume and tone boost and OD2 which is a smoother distortion. The sounds really are dependent on what pickup you use and where the box is in line. The footswitch is true bypass and the unit produces no extra hiss due to the passive nature of the device.
Going direct to the Simul's on board preamp with the Strat, the clean position gave the pickups a humbucking type sound with associated volume boost (great for doing jazz gigs with a single pole guitar). The OD1 I found to be thin and not so enticing, being unpowered it sounds more like a valve amp after it has been just switched off rather than a powered fuzz box. But look out, go to the OD 2 and there is a really great and useable 70s crunch distortion. Now everyone's idea of how much dirt to put into the guitar sound is different but this OD2 is a really good sound and hey, no batteries.
Doing the same direct test with the PRS yielded totally different results. On both the OD settings the resulting sounds were both useable but with a volume drop which is more noticeable with the humbuckers than on the single pole pickups. This can be easily compensated for by using your volume pot on your guitar or a volume pedal in the fx chain. The clean sound gave a volume boost and darkened the tone considerably. At this point I couldn't resist grabbing the Stingray bass and putting it through the OD1 fuzz sound. Now there's a fat 60s fuzz bass tone if ever there was one.
In the instructions it says the unit can go before or after other fx units, well here I was to find some of the best results. I put the unit after the V twin pedal, between it and the power amp section amp emulating the fx loop of most of today's amps.
This effectively turns your 2 channel amp into a 3 channel amp with no extra batteries, power supplies and associated hiss (one of the other benefits of this passive unit). I used the pedal to produce a rock tone and the V twin to give me a recto sound and then mixed and matched. Then I reversed the rolls and got a great blues tone as well. Changing to the PRS, I used the passive pedal on clean to give me a volume and tone boost while getting a high overdriven sound from the V twin. It should be noted that even when using the Mini Miff after another preamp (like the V twin) great variances are produced in tone and volume depending on whether you are using a single pole or humbucking set up.
Overall I found the OD2 to give the best results from a single pole pickup and the clean sound gives the best results with humbuckers. The unit does require some setting up for your individual application or circumstance.
In conclusion, if you have an electric guitar, you should have one of these. I can think of a myriad of situations over 30 years of gigging where a Mini Miff would have been handy to have sitting with my tuner in the guitar case. If you don't want to get on the fx / wall wart merry go round or are looking for an instant extra channel put one in you amp fx loop and your there. Being passive means no battery expenses and tone degradation because the power has died at the next gig. In fact this is a real plus for the purists who want consistent tone. It's a great piece of kit to have in your guitar case if you ever need to do a gig and plug into some aux amp and are caught without your box of wall warts and powered goodies.