A favorite among vintage fuzz lovers, the Univox Super-Fuzz is known for its thick massive square-wave fuzz tones via Germanium diode clipping and a rectification circuit that adds a bit of upper octave and lower octave into your signal. While the original circuit earned its due recognition as an incredible sounding fuzz, there have always been some aspects of the circuit that I found a bit frustrating and lacking in some respects. I went about trying to fix these issues in my own Super-Fuzz pedal and what resulted was something I felt I needed to make available in the DEADfx line of pedals, I call it the "I can't feel my Face" SUPER-FUZZ.
original Super-Fuzz circuit shortcomings:
- Output Volume Drop - the original Super-Fuzz circuit has an overall volume drop on the output of the pedal due to some part value choices in the switchable tone section providing either the flat response or mid-scoop. More on this below.
- Overly dramatic Mid Scoop - While the huge Mid-Scoop of the original circuit, at first listen, sounds cool and ballsy while playing or practicing alone... In a full band rehearsal, live, and recording studio setting it's quickly revealed that the deepness of the Mid-Scoop takes out way too much of your mid frequency note clarity and presence and just becomes indiscernible and muddy in a mix. The tone section of this circuit is unique, albeit simple, in that because of the amount of dB loss due to such a deep Mid-Scoop, there is a voltage divider switched in circuit when the scoop is out in order to lower the flat setting volume down to attempt to match the two tone settings in overall output volume. So the overly deep and I would argue unusable Mid-Scoop tone section is actually also what forced the original designers to add the overall output volume drop! Lame!
- Doesn't clean up with guitar Volume knob - The original circuit is known for being a Fuzz that just doesn't clean up well with your guitar volume knob, and the user is left with "that's just how it is". Mega Lame!
- Too big and bulky for modern pedalboards - While it was great for the time to be built into a larger enclosure for durability, in today's modern world, that pedal size simply takes up too much space on your pedalboard, especially for a pedal that only has 2 knobs.
- Inconsistencies in fuzz sound of original units - Due to the inconsistencies of vintage transistors, it's kind of a crapshoot as to what the exact fuzz tone will sound like if you buy a vintage Super-Fuzz.
All this being said, I know there are other Super-Fuzz clones on the market and I've tried quite a few of them. Most stick with these same faults and are simply exact recreations of the circuit. Or some simply make other modifications besides fixing the obvious issues I chose to address. That's why I approached making a better, and still more affordable version.
The I can't feel my Face SUPER-FUZZ solutions:
- Volume - My Super-Fuzz has increased volume, there's even an extra +21 dBu of boost on tap if desired to really drive the front end of your amp hard and liven up your sound. You can be an asshole to your friends and play fucking loud! Yay!
- Mid-Scoop tone switch - I've altered the frequency center and amount of mid-scoop to take out just enough for that low end ballsy scooped sound, but not too much loss of mids and highs so that you can still hear your note definition and maintain clarity in a mix. Be a loud asshole, but one with impeccable tone!
- Clean Up - An internal trimpot is added in circuit which alters the amount of octave effect and allows for a range which enables you to roll back on your volume knob and clean up your sound.
- Modern Mini-Pedal 1590a size - It's the modern era, and while I maintain a boutique builder mindset, I can also be intelligent and efficient in the way I design pedals. I use modern schematic and PCB layout design techniques, 3D modeling, and precision machining (all in-house) to manufacture a robust and durable pedal in a very small form factor to benefit the modern player who views space as a commodity.
- (2016-05-03) (DEAD) fx - I Can't Feel My Face Super-Fuzz (demo) by Livingroom Demos