The world is usually not fair enough to deliver the products that have it all. It is quite difficult to create the circuits that accomplish multiple opposing tasks simultaneously. Not always do you have the ability to have modifiable headroom that you can switch up depending on your mood. But that does not mean that such pedals are impossible to create. In fact, some brands have made it feasible. MXR has released a fuzz pedal that operates with different voltages and opens up a whole lot of headroom when needed. Yes, you heard me, their M236 Super Badass Variac Fuzz is capable of such things and with ease too. Playing with this unit is like having a cake and eating it too. Wonderful, isn’t it? You do not have to choose between different types of fuzz anymore, as you can have it all in a single unit. Who could have thought that such things would be accessible at such a low price point? If you are someone who hates to choose and would love a stompbox that is simple, yet diverse, then you have to give this one a shot. Let’s continue this article and review all the features, controls and sounds of Super Badass Variac Fuzz!
The feature set of Super Badass Variac Fuzz is so crazy that you might rethink your whole existence and start contemplating the meaning of life itself. Once you take it out of the box, you might stare at it for hours, appreciating its beauty and capabilities. Exaggerations aside, this bad boy has a vintage circuitry that is responsible of creating the most diverse fuzz. That hot-rodded character is what makes this one so special and beautiful. But the selling point of Super Badass Variac Fuzz is definitely its ability to modify the voltage. You can choose 5V and create sizzling fuzz, or you can go to 15V, open up a headroom and produce more tamed effect. This way you get to experience both types of fuzz within a single shell. Speaking of which, this bad boy has metallic dark violet enclosure that looks extremely eye-catching and appears to be rugged as well. Just like other pedals from MXR, this one is durable and well-built, guaranteeing to withstand years of abusive utilization. What is more, this baby has simple nature that makes the whole process of playing a piece of cake. Everything about its features is easily understandable, as we do not have anything sophisticated over here. And that is not to say that Super Badass Variac Fuzz lacks something – the truth is, it has all the tiny details that you would need in a fuzz pedal. This puppy can be powered with a single 9V battery or an adapter for more longevity. I usually stick to the power supplies but it is always a huge virtue to have some options. All in all, I do not think that anybody can complain about the lack of features. This fella is loaded with various properties!
The control panel looks rather typical… mostly. The set of encoders features the ones that are essential for creating the fuzz. The majority of them can be encountered in all the stompboxes of such ilk, but MXR is not so typical. Super Badass Variac Fuzz has an additional ingredient that makes this one quite special. It capabilities change up drastically using that unique knob and the pedal starts to act like a real monster. I will stop intriguing you now and will move on to discussing each encoder in great detail.
The first one on the panel is Tone. It acts as a frequency filter and cuts high-end to your taste. This way you can steep your sound with desired tonal spectrum and create a recipe for prominent performance. Output sets the level of the effect and keeps it in line with the rest of the chain. Keep in mind that this baby can get really loud so be careful with this control. Gain modifies the amount of fuzz and lets you taste it in different amounts. The most distinctive of all, Variac adjusts the voltage and takes you from 5V all the way up to 15V. This one is a whole new story and has the most drastic impact on your sound. Finally, we have a footswitch with an LED that displays the state of operation.
The sound of MXR Super Badass Variac Fuzz is definitely multi-faceted. It has many different angles that are captivating to work with. At low voltage settings, this baby creates compressed, textured, loud and full-bodied fuzz even if the Gain control is turned down. It easily overlaps your sound, but still retains its original qualities. As you increase the voltage, the sound clears up and wider headroom starts to show itself. You receive a bit more tamed distortion, which can still be intensified with Gain. This way you are left with distinctive fuzz that does not slap you in the face. Rather, it thickens up your sound and acts as a well-balanced potion for your performance. Low voltage settings are extremely distorted and due to their “dying battery” character, they can create a unique ambience in your sound. Super Badass Variac Fuzz has a lot of depth, no matter which settings have been selected. It never loses its qualities and never sucks your original sound. This is the pedal that will leave you playing and tweaking for hours on end, as you will have a hard time getting your hands off its beautiful shell.
All in all, MXR Super Badass Variac Fuzz is something you should experience if you are not afraid of unique sounding girth. It can get really loud, but that is nothing that cannot be tamed with ease. Playing with this pedal is so enjoyable that it is really hard to stop or take a break. Those experimental musicians out there, what the hell are you waiting for? For the price, this baby is really hard to beat. Good luck!
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