The Figure 11 is a unique overdrive with a distinct grainy texture and a very dynamic, musical response to input level and picking strength. At low gains it provides a good sparkle with a notable grit and clear string definition. At high gains it gets mean and fuzzier, with a character very similar to a tube amp that is being driven to its limits. Somewhere in between is where it really shines. There is a sweet spot unique to each guitar and amp combination that allows smooth access to both ranges, simply by varying picking strength or pickup selection. This allows for clarity, nuance, and warmth - but with ample amounts of growl, grit, and power being no more than a stronger pick or turn of the guitar's volume knob away. This avoids the 'painted on' quality that so many ODs seem to possess - the quality that makes them react the same to the signal regardless of dynamics. The Figure 11 keeps the control at the guitar, where it should be. The output level leaves a ton of room to hammer the front end of tube amplifiers and thus with the gain rolled back it operates very well in the role of a boost pedal, with just a touch of hair thrown into the mix. Folks running colder pickups will have access to a cleaner boost at low gains; folks running hotter pickups will have a bit more to work with at the high end of the drive range.
I made sure that the low end response wasn't sacrificed in any way - this has been a real issue I've had with many other pedals I've purchased and cloned in the past. That design priority has the pleasant side effect of making it suitable for bass players as well, especially those running through tube rigs. A lot of ODs also really love to process a lot of the highs, which results in an artificial sound to my ears - I tried to avoid this with the Figure 11 and ended up parking a lot more of the gain a little lower the sonic spectrum in the range that provides that biting kind of gain that comes with a good tube amp. This lets the highs that are responsible for shimmery, clear pick attacks and strums do their thing without destroying them and making them harsh or fizzy. The tone adjustment comes by way of a high cut that keeps the tone natural all the way through its range and doesn't radically reshape the signal response. I tried a few different approaches to tone controls and this was far and away the best, acting the same way on the signal that a guitar's tone knob does. Backing it off all the way sounds great through a pushed amp, keeping the high end gain structure in the hands of the amp, a la the 'woman tone' used by a lot of players. Opening it up all the way doesn't add highs the way many tone controls do, it just lets the inherent brightness of the circuit pass through unimpeded. Overall, these things absolutely kill it when paired with a nice tube amp, allowing the ability to magnify and complement an amp's character instead competing with it or covering it up.
The major signal caps are a pair of NOS Sprague Pacers, a cousin to the renowned Orange Drop capacitor. The feedback filtering caps are a combination of silver mica and high voltage NOS ceramic. I had tried both carbon composition and carbon film resistors, but ultimately found that they added noise with no real sonic benefit. I landed on mil spec Dale RL and RN series metal film, which provide clarity with the least amount of noise. All three pots are full-sized 24mm Alpha potentiometers - the same used for guitar wiring. They feature a far larger resistive surface which makes them last longer and more reliably, plus provides a far better feel during adjustment. The Figure 11 is true bypass, made with super high quality Cliff 3PDT switches. Additionally, it is wired in such a way that removes the need for pulldown resistors. Pulldown resistors are used to help temper the pop that can occur during pedal switching, caused by charge stored in the circuit's capacitors suddenly rushing into the signal. These resistors have the unfortunate side effect of shaving off a certain amount of tone. By allowing the circuit to be grounded when bypassed, the capacitors in this pedal keep no charge when the effect is disengaged and thus switching is quiet and the tone is unaffected by additional components.
Power is provided by either a 9 volt battery connector or 2.1mm Boss-style DC jacks. Each enclosure is professionally powder-coated in a bulletproof textured black finish with laser etched graphics and utilize all aluminum knobs.