Spencer Amps Mystique

Various

Spencer Amps

A distortion pedal with enhanced dynamics and tone, due to a special "clarifier" circuit that brings forward mid-level detail from the midrange and treble of a guitar signal. Clear, less compressed, responsive, crunchy yet pleasant tones are produced that let you "just play" and make ordinary overdrives seem "flat" by comparison (even when they mess with the tone more). Mystique achieves this not through special components, but by new and innovative design techniques.

It's not just the ability to "clean up with the guitar volume control" that makes an overdrive as dynamic as an overdriven amplifier ... Mystique can, but, concentrates more on producing a wide and smooth progression of distortive characters from subtle to savage. More significantly, it responds to tonal character as well as drive level, aggressive playing gets an extra attack even at low drive, while softer playing smooths out even at high gain.

The gain range is wide, and the tone control can bring out some solid bass or provide a useful not-too-harsh mid/treble boost. Mystique was designed for a clean amp but also makes a great attack and gain booster.

... But that's not all ...

The FUZZ mode of the optional X-mode switch "breaks" the circuit, producing a wretched, disgusting, signal-destroying fuzz that also can be musical ... it seems the clarifier circuit still has a partial effect. It has chunky bass and the creamy-yet-ragged bite of classic transistor fuzzes, and yet is completely stable and consistent, with a new blend of characteristics. It cleans up nicely at low drive levels, but doesn't need a lot more kick to reach towards into the sickness levels of "noise" fuzzes. It also has an odd feature of sort of cleaning up also at the highest drive, letting through a bit of clean signal or light distortion -- this limits the chaos, but when set suitably adds an extra dynamic to the effect and clarity on chords, and can even make it seem more broken in a sense.

The switch also adds the eXaggerated Overdrive mode. While the Normal mode produces a balanced, yet distinct, Clarifier-overdrive effect, this takes it to the extreme, distorting easily yet with an even clearer high end. Twangy yet furry at low gain, distortion with extra clang when cranked, this might even sometimes seem like a clean mix effect, but it is not, and responds more coherently.

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