After the wonderful success of the original Crucible Fuzz, I decided to expand the line to include a model based on germanium transistors. As with the original, I wasn't as interested in exactly duplicating the sound of vintage devices as I was in coming up with something that would go beyond the old stuff.
I wasn't trying to come up with “my take on a germanium Fuzz Face,” I was set on building a germanium version of the Crucible Fuzz. The very high gain of the NPN transistors in the Crucible Fuzz is a big part of its magic, so I went in search of some more good-sounding high gain transistors. Did some research, and the AC187 seemed to have what I was looking for: germanium, NPN, and HIGH GAIN. I took a leap and acquired a lot of 600 NOS AC187/01's. When these are used up, there will be no more Crucible GE's unless I find another good batch of transistors!
After weeks of gain testing, listening, resistor value adjusting, and more listening, I came up with a recipe that sounded incredible.
The Crucible Fuzz GE has a germanium sound to it, but it is not designed to give you the sound of those who have gone before. It is designed to lay waste to the sonic landscape with gobs of gain and fuzz. As with its older sibling, you may use it to produce controlled feedback at conversational volume levels.
For the techies, it uses a pair of hand-selected NOS AC187/01 high gain NPN transistors. The bias and volume resistors are tuned (by selection, not trimpots) for optimum performance in each unit. I set them up at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and like all germanium devices, their gain will increase with warmer temperatures and decrease with lower ones. This is an inherent behavior of germanium-based fuzzes, and all I have done to accommodate it is make sure that all units are set up at a uniform ambient temperature. If you want a great sounding fuzz that is also temperature solid, the original Crucible Fuzz is for you.