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Re: OT: Fuzz : Quadrafuzz:

Title: Re: OT: Fuzz : Quadrafuzz:
Re: Quadrafuzz:

On Jun 7, 2004, at 10:44 AM, Greg House wrote:

> I remember a fuzz emulation that I particularly liked, I think it was
> the Big
> Muff emulation, and a couple of others. There was one with an octave
> down pitch
> thing that was just huge going into a loop. Made a cool rumble.
That's their model of a PAiA pedal. The Rocktave Divider, I think. I
used that one fairly often when using the DM4.

Does anyone have any experience with the PAiA Quadrafuzz?


I have a Quadrafuzz I built from Craig Anderton/PAiA’s kit in the 80’s. It was very cool indeed! I loved the range of sounds I could get and I had a couple of settings that I truly loved.  It was a rack-mount panel with a circuit-board attached perpendicularly behind the panel. The kit did not include a power supply (it could be powered by an onboard 9-volt battery) nor any switches, so I rigged the unit to a power supply in my rack and added a physical switch for effect on/off to my preamp’s floor-switch. There were no presets, so there was no way to “switch” between different fuzz sounds on the fly without grabbing all the knobs at once! Being an early design and having no shielding to speak of — it was a noisy unit.

I could get very lush and thick sounds, yet could also back off the additive fuzzing and get something similar to my old original FuzzFace. With having several stages of fuzz available, it was possible to get a brittle distortion – similar to overdriving the older transistor amps (early Crates, 70’s Sunn, etc. A sound I found quite ugly), to a smoother, more pleasant-sounding square wave fuzz, to a really thick and mellow, almost synth-sounding fuzz. Cranked with everything on “11” <grin> it was really nasty, was laden with a unique and difficult to control feedback and put out enough signal to cause my old Gibson tube amp to smoke...quite literally! <grin>

Regrettably, that Quadrafuzz was not particularly roadworthy and suffered from being part of a rack-mount kit on one short tour. Due in part to my poor soldering skills and what I think was a poorly implemented circuit-board-to-face-panel connection, the unit gave up being a reliable tool. I sent it in for service once and PAiA did a nice job of finding & reconnecting some bad solder joints (my fault) and replaced a faulty pot, but the next time it started making unwanted noise and acted intermittently, I put it on the shelf where it remains today.  [Man, oh, man...now I have to pull that thing down and see if It still works at all.  I would love to get back some of those sounds!]

Also regrettably, I broke the FuzzFace. I mean I really broke it. I stomped on it, missed the switch and hit BOTH the knobs, breaking the knobs and pushing the pots’ spindles in upon themselves – rendering both the potentiometers shattered. I tried to reassemble those cheap pots, but they were too far gone. I replaced the pots with pots of the same physical size and same resistance (and taper) value, but it never sounded the same! It sounded very harsh and brittle after the change. I tried a series of different pots, added resistors before the pots, changed taper from log to linear, and it never sounded the same.
Later I loaned it out and the fellow did the same thing I did – pushed the pots into the unit...and managed to shove it sideways hard enough that the rubber feet on the bottom all peeled off and the screws holding the bottom plate pulled out of the metal housing! I was sad to see it die, but it gave its life for a good cause! I haven’t tried the new ones by Dunlop.

Today, these noise-boxes get me by:
1982 Boss OD-1 (hardly used since I got the VF-1)
Boss VF-1:  This simulator unit kicks butt! I am using stomp-box simulation to get nice overdrive-type distortion, but have nearly unlimited ability to shape the sound with EQ, compression,  and other nicities. I can add an Overdrive distortion to a “guitar-synth” sound to get the square-wave distortion I sometime want. The amp overdrive simulators are wonderful as well...and I find them more useful and controllable than most simple distortion boxes.
1971 Foxx Fuzz-Wah – the fuzz is extremely nasty & noisy (and 60-ish). It also has an octave switch to give you a shrill screaming tone one-octave up. Not particularly useful very often, but still pretty cool.