Maybe I am a romantic soul who gives too much thought to the boutique qualities of a pedal. There is something about hand-built units that mesmerizes me to the core and forces me to go out there and make a purchase. I always feel close to the manufacturer and get the sense that my stompbox is different and unique. Such feelings are extremely subjective, yet I cannot help but experience extreme excitement each time I see a new boutique model. This attitude has emptied my wallet and my savings accounts couple of times, but I always convince myself that it is worth it (and it sure is). You know, when brands cherish their units like babies and assemble that in meticulous manner, there is no way that the results will not pay off. Some boutique companies do that more than the others, but that pattern is present in the majority of cases. The one that we are going to single out today is Z.Vex – a team of genius minds who always delivers spectacular pedals. Fuzz Factory is part of their Vexter Series and performs so well that you will not believe your ears. Plus, it looks so cool that you have to have it in your collection. Let’s get specific and discuss all the juicy details!
Z.Vex Fuzz Factory is definitely a unique piece when it comes to the appearance. This little fella is silk-screened with eye-catching graphics. The name is illustrated through the drawing of a factory that emits the clouds of fuzz, which looks modern and cool. The body itself is made out of aluminum and the internal components are hand-wired. Needless to say that it will last you through a whole lifetime without any problems. The pedal we are talking about is part of the Vexter series, meaning that it is cheaper than the original and some features are performed in a different manner (for instance, the fact that chassis is not hand-painted) to reduce the cost. Fuzz Factory has 2 stocks of germanium transistors that create vintage fuzz and treat your sound with respect and subtleness (as much as that word can be used in the same line with fuzz). What is more, this stompbox can be powered either with a battery or an adapter. This is the case when you can freely utilize both, since the current here is 3-4mA. This means that your batteries will never get drained, even in the afterlife (I am exaggerating but you can see my point). This baby has an LED that displays if the unit is on or off, making your job a lot easier on dark stages. The connections are typical with single input and output, turning this fella into a simple treat. However, that simplicity is not something that is followed throughout the whole design (more on that in a bit), but you will adore it so much that you will not regret a minute spent on it. And lastly, Fuzz Factory from Vexter is cheaper than the original, allowing you to experience the sounds of Z.Vex at a lesser price point.
The control section is not something you will see in every other pedal. Yes, we have our good ol’ knobs, but their labels might be ambiguous when you try to perform with Fuzz Factory for the first time. They are named according to the parameters they alter, but there is way more than that. All the controls are highly interactive: once you change the settings of one, others respond differently. This makes the tweaking process a pain in the neck, however, once you get used to the stompbox, you will make modifications easily.
The panel starts with our beloved Volume, which alters the level of the effect. Next we have Gate that allows you to get rid of any noise that might occur or dial in the desired pitch of the feedback. It is followed by Compression which can either act as an attack or mess with your tone. Then we have Drive that changes the amount of distortion added to your sound. And the trickiest of them all, Stability, adjusts the pitch or tone of your fuzz effect. Finally, we have a footswitch that activates or turns off Fuzz Factory with a click of a toe.
Z.Vex knew quite well that the control section was not that easy to master, so they included sample settings in the manual to help you understand the basic characteristics of the pedal. All of those examples sound mind-blowing and will help you a lot in the beginning. You will hear anything from medium gain and high pitch to extreme fuzz mayhem where strange things start taking place. However, the real potential of this baby lies in experimentation. Once you forget the manual and start exploring Fuzz Factory to the fullest, you will discover a real monster that hides beneath the cool shell. You can feel the smoothness of germanium transistors regardless of the settings. Be it a squealing fuzz that oscillates in a queer manner or traditional distortion, this baby retains the original nature of your guitar and amplifies its essence in my opinion. Once again, the controls are interactive, so you will not unveil the true qualities of Fuzz Factory with the first attempt. However, as you play with it more and more, you will notice that its weirdness envelops you and makes you think about the sounds that you have never heard before.
On the whole, Z.Vex Fuzz Factory from Vexter Series is not unique only because of its looks. It stands out with its crazy sounds and makes every penny worth the experience. You will definitely create the pieces that will be hard to emulate with other units out there. This baby sets an extremely high bar that only a few other models will be able to come close to. Fuzz Factory is a statement piece as it makes the heads turn once it enters the room. This fella is simply out of this world. You cannot afford to miss out on this one. Good luck!
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