Once again we have a battle of the two: silicon vs germanium transistors. When comparing their sound, we cannot say that either of them is better, because that will not be true. How you perceive each of them is completely up to you, yet the differences between them are extremely noticeable. Germanium transistors were main components of vintage fuzz pedals and they carry those 60’s vibes no matter where you shove them. They tend to be warmer, and of lesser gain than silicon transistors. The latter has more drive and tightness, producing modern fuzz sounds. They are both extraordinary in my book, however, there are scenarios where I still prefer those good ol’ germanium ones. Nowadays the majority of such pedals are manufactured by boutique brands, meaning that they are rather expensive and cost way more than most of us can afford. The reason is the fact that when silicon substituted germanium, it became more difficult to gather and utilize in electronic devices. However, I have a great news for you – you can get your hands on that sought after transistor even at a lower price point. Dunlop has created a mini version of the original and brought out FFM2 Germanium Fuzz Face Mini. If you want to experience the greatness of such a unit, then keep on reading!
As you have guessed from the introduction of this article, Dunlop FFM2 Germanium Fuzz Face Mini is mainly comprised with germanium transistors. The brand shrunk down the original in order to give you more pedalboard space. When you compare the two, it is like a skyscraper next to a cottage. But nothing has been changed during the process. Mini sounds exactly the same as the full-size version, giving you access to amazing tone without sacrificing your whole pedalboard. What is more, FFM2 Germanium Fuzz Face Mini is very simple and does not have any bells and whistles. However, what it has is more than enough due to the character of its circuitry. Since it is so queer, you do not need any additional properties in order to diversify your tone. This baby can be supplied with a battery or an adapter, making it possible to perform wherever you feel the urge to spill over your soul. Plus, it has a battery compartment that gives you an easy access and lets you swap the battery in a blink of an eye. No more screws on the bottom plate! The cherry on top of all these amazing features is the design of this baby. If you have played with the original, you know what I am talking about. But if not, let me describe it to you: FFM2 Germanium Fuzz Face Mini has round enclosure in glossy red color. It has black knobs and a triangle that surrounds the footswitch and accentuates the shape of this baby. It goes without saying that build quality is wonderful, just like with the majority of products from Dunlop. Though we do not have anything extraordinary, everything we do have makes perfect sense.
Above I have indicated that FFM2 Germanium Fuzz Face Mini is rather simple. That statement is especially true when we are talking about the control section. We have two knobs that let you create the fuzz from your dreams and steep your sound with character. All you have to do is tweak meticulously and explore all the settings. You will need to mess around to find the sweet spot that will suit your instrument, genre and playing techniques. But since we only have two encoders, that will hardly take any time and will leave tons of room for creativity. I am sure you are already familiar with the given knobs, but let’s still discuss them and see where it takes us.
The first one, mounted on the left side of the pedal, is Volume. Typically, it changes the overall level of the output and acts as a balancing tool for your effect. When we are talking about fuzz stompboxes, we cannot neglect the fact that volume controls do intensify or tone down the effect quite a bit. Then we have Fuzz, which changes the amount of distortion added to your sound. It starts with subtler settings and ends with soul wrecking mayhem. Of course, we have a footswitch that lets you activate the effect with a single push.
Even though you will not find a pedal that is the perfect match for everyone, there are devices out there that can only be used by specific musicians. Dunlop FFM2 Germanium Fuzz Face Mini is amazing in itself, but its distinctive character cannot be handled by everyone. Germanium transistors have warm and smoother nature, however, they can easily become noisy and develop a very queer fuzz depending on the guitar you are playing. That is what makes it so special, yet not all the musicians will find it appealing and pleasing. With that being said, FFM2 Germanium Fuzz Face Mini sounds wonderful with vintage pick-ups. It accentuates the lower frequencies and thickens your tone in the fuzziest way possible. It cleans up perfectly with the volume knob of your guitar and makes it possible to control the whole thing without touching the pedal itself. With maximum settings this baby delivers something that will change the way you perceive dynamics and the effect itself. It saturates every single property in your signal and turns everything into a fuzzy heaven. If you decide to splurge for this one, you should get ready to have your mind blown away!
All in all, Dunlop did a fantastic job while putting together FFM2 Germanium Fuzz Face Mini. This wonderful beast will be hardly noticeable on your pedalboard, yet it will let everybody know it is there. Its sonic characteristics are distinctive and might not suit everybody, but this pedal is one of the best options if you are into that germanium sounds. At this price point, you will have a hard time scavenging a better option. Try this baby out with your setup and see if it is the one for you. Good luck!
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