We all know that creating bass pedals isn’t an easy task. Many manufacturers have attempted to do that but only a few have succeeded. The reason is the peculiarity of the instrument. Even though there’s nothing extraordinary about it, it’s tonal characteristics are hard to recreate or recognize. Not all the pedals are capable of responding to and reproducing the low-end without sucking its body and depriving it off its dimension. That tasks becomes even more complicated when brands try to add fuzz to it. The effect isn’t the simplest one either and when it collides with bass, they face a real puzzle. But, luckily, many manufacturers have managed to capture the character of both. They have made it possible to create the effect without any trouble. Thanks to them even bassists have the opportunity to saturate their sound with extreme distortion and dirt. Among those we have to single out MXR and their M84 Bass Fuzz Deluxe. It offers everything you would expect from such a unit and still manages to be affordable. It will easily occupy your pedalboard and stay there until you decide to forget about fuzz. This fella is really hard to substitute with something else, since its sound will capture your heart, bass and soul. Let’s begin this review and venture into fuzzy madness together!
Whenever I see MXR or Dunlop, I always have high expectations. Lucky for me, those expectations are always met (yeah, there are certain exceptions but those are really rare). They find a way to add a unique touch to every pedal they create and force us to spend every bit of coin we have left on our account. God bless them for keeping a lower price point – otherwise we’d all be broke as hell. When I first saw the features of M84 I got intrigued immediately, but those feelings weren’t even comparable to those I had when I played with it for the first time. But for now you’ll have to satisfy yourself with reading and do your best to experience everything in real life as soon as possible.
Even though this puppy looks like a standard deal, it offers a slightly different touch compared to its rivals. The majority of the units offer some sort of Blend or Mix knob that lets you alter the ratio between wet and dry signals. MXR took a more precise route and created a circuit which creates the illusion that you are using two different amplifiers. What I mean is that they have split your original and affected signals and have given us the opportunity to tweak their volumes independently. This way you can blend them perfectly and retain the full body of both. More importantly, M84 creates a strong and powerful fuzz effect that saturates your low-end completely. It’s housed in a metal shell that will take abuse with its head held high. Trust me, you won’t have any problems with this fella in terms of durability. It can be supplied with power using a single 9V battery or an adapter. Since it has lower power draw, you can employ the first method with ease. All in all, this pedal is a wonderful option regardless of your preferences.
As I have mentioned above, control section offers meticulous adjustment of dry and wet signals individually. However, M84 Bass Fuzz Deluxe doesn’t have a Master volume that would alter the overall level of your signal. Though it isn’t absolutely necessary, you might still lack this control in certain cases. Other than that, this pedal doesn’t have any flaws. Just with any other unit from MXR, you won’t need a manual with this one either. Just look at the panel, tweak a little and you’ll know what to do.
- Dry changes the volume of your original signal. It lets you enhance the amount of bass in your sound and define its character even more;
- Wet alters the level of the affected sound and makes the effect more prominent;
- Tone adjusts the color, but it operates on affected signal only. MXR wanted you to maintain the clarity of dry sound as much as possible and that’s why they decided to design Tone this way.
- Fuzz determines the amount of fuzz that is added to your sound. It intensifies the effect and lets you go from subtle to extreme with just a twist.
- Footswitch activates the circuit or turns the pedal off whenever needed.
It might be surprising but MXR M84 is one of the most balanced bass fuzz pedals out there. You might be wondering why I used that particular adjective with this effect. Let me explain: this puppy offers stability no matter how you intensify your distortion. Every note is precise and accurate in any setting and that’s one of the biggest virtues here. The effect itself is powerful enough to overlap the whole band if you want to. It is absolutely perfect for those who don’t concur with traditional position of bass and want to set it apart more. M84 will add so much dirt to any audience will hail its greatness. The ability to adjust wet and dry signals individually gives you a lot of versatility: you can apply each of them the way you desire. You could dial down the fuzz and enhance bass, or vice versa. It’s all up to you and the pedal welcomes experimentation. The range of its controls is wide, which means you’re left with versatile options and possibilities.
In the end, what matters the most is how a pedal suits your music. MXR M84 is versatile and flexible enough to suit the needs of every bassist. Everyone who enjoys fuzzy sounds will be really pleased with this one, as its power is almighty. You can saturate your sound as much as you want and go as crazy as your heart desires. This pedal is open to any experimentation and will surprise you with its versatility even when you think that you’ve approached the limit of its potential. Good luck!
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