When you search the market for the best fuzz pedal out there, what are your priorities? Are you looking for something that offers an abundance of features? Do you want a two-in-one deal? Or maybe your pedalboard is already overcrowded and the main thing you want is the compact design. What if the latter is true, but you are also on the budget and cannot afford something sophisticated? You might feel like you are destined to live without the desired fuzz pedal, but that is not exactly the case here. You will find countless compact and affordable options on the market, and some of those brands will come up so many times that you will be forced to pay attention to their products. Donner is one of those. When you combine small enclosure with low price mark, their pedals pop up like those annoying ads that interfere with your everyday life (but unlike ads, those stompboxes are not annoying). They have already gained their own niche place, where the products are of decent quality and are always budget friendly. Today are going to get specific about their Stylish Fuzz. We will dive into its features, controls and sound in order to figure out its good and ugly sides. This way you will know what you are dealing with. Let’s see!
What we are looking at here is a very straight-forward pedal. Do not expect anything ethereal from this one, since you will not get any bells and whistles. Donner Stylish Fuzz is a pedal that has one single job to do and it succeeds at that quite a bit. It creates good-sounding fuzz with simple adjustments. This baby is true bypass, which means that once the pedal is disengaged, your signal will not be affected and will be delivered to the amp unaltered. This way you can stay assured that everything is in perfect shape in case you decide to go clean. As I have underlined in the beginning of this article, this stompbox has a tiny enclosure that will fit on any pedalboard out there. It will even fit in your front pocket if you decide to take it with you everywhere. Due to such small footprint, this fella can only be powered with an adapter – it would not be feasible to shove a battery in there. The design is classic Donner – light blue glossy chassis, black knobs and white writings. Speaking of the outer shell, the enclosure is made out of whole aluminum-alloy, meaning that this thing will not break that easily. Stylish Fuzz is meant for those players who want to incorporate the fuzz effect in their rig without having to spend hours figuring out what is what. I would even say it is for the lazy ones, but I guess that would be a subjective statement. Anyway, this pedal will be a perfect match if you want a compact, simple and affordable unit that knows what to do to your sound.
Though I have underlined this couple of times above, I still cannot help but mention the fact that this thing is a real blessing when it comes to adjusting various parameters in your sound. Everything is laid out on the surface, making it easy to see which settings are chosen. The white indicators on each control visualize the whole thing even better and simplify your job quite a bit. We do also have a LED that showcases whether the unit is activated or not. This way you get the chance to concentrate on your sound without playing a guessing game about the settings.
The set of encoders is rather typical and is made out of the essentials. There are two smaller controls on the top part of the panel, topped with a huge knob in the center. Volume is a typical level control you will see on every other fuzz pedal as it changes the level of the output. Then we have Tone, which alters the sonic appearance of your sound – it can accentuate or tame high or low frequencies, and add some piercing brightness wherever needed. The huge knob I mentioned is Bustain – it is supposed to add more fuzz to your sound and distort it as much as possible. Finally, there is a footswitch that activates the pedal or triggers the bypass mode.
When it comes to the sound of Donner Stylish Fuzz, there are a lot of things to say about both pros and cons. I will not separate them here but kind of discuss it on the whole. This thing delivers great sounding fuzz that gets a bit noisy when cranked up to the maximum. It loses some of the definition with extreme settings, though you can still use it if you roll back tone and volume. What I am trying to say is that this fella is deliver wonderful performance if you commit enough to find the right settings. It sounds even fuller and fuzzier if you pair it with some sort of overdrive and distortion, as it gains some of the qualities it might have otherwise lost. Even though it will not blow your mind, it will still become a decent tool for adding some fuzz to your chain. And when you consider the price, when you pay so little some problems are expected and it is really unfair to complain about them. Just keep in mind that it is the sort of pedal that scoops the mids, and it if you are not into that, you might want to look elsewhere.
To sum up everything said above, Donner Stylish Fuzz is an amazing fuzz pedal for the price. In fact, it will be really hard to find a better model with such a low budget. Everything about it is decent – build quality, sound and features. Plus, it is really easy to control so thumbs up for that. Stylish Fuzz will not be the best fuzz you will encounter, but for the price, this thing rocks! Good luck!
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