I purchased this unit new on eBay for $224 shipped. I bought this unit because I was looking for a flexible, frankly crazy, fuzz/sound generator.
My question is, what's not to like? Mr. Vex's claim is that the Fuzz Factory helps the user to shape his/her own personalized fuzz. My problem is that I don't have a personalized fuzz. Indeed, this unit is the quintessence of experimentation. The tones that one can get with this unit seem limitless, from overdrive that cleans up well (despite complaints to the contrary from naysayers) to Atari/synth randomness. Really, there is nothing this cannot do.
I have no complaints with it personally, but I do some have caveats for those who are thinking about purchasing one:
1) The price. This unit is not cheap. I had a tough time deciding to purchase it, then a tough time justifying its purchase. Not that it's bought and paid for, I'm glad I did it.
2) It's not subtle. Yes, one can set it for a nice overdrive - a pretty nasty one. Again, I'm not complaining - I knew what I was getting because I tried one beforehand. I recommend that potential buyers do the same. It's not for everyone, but everyone should try one anyway.
3) One must purchase a Zvex power plate if he wants AC power. Here, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the battery life is said to be at least three years! This may render this caveat moot.
They don't come better made; plus, Mr. Vex guarantees the unit for duration of HIS life. If it breaks, he will fix it, free.
Again, the Zvex Fuzz Factory is not everyone. Instead, it is tailor made for the experimentally minded, and those who want to add a touch of zaniness and unpredictability to his rig. That said, I give it my highest, most enthusiastic recommendation.
- Volume knob
- Gate knob
- Comp knob
- Drive knob
- Stab knob
- 9 Volt adapter requires modification or replacement bottom plate.
- Hand painted enclosure
- True bypass
With the Gate, Compression, and Stability knobs, this is far from an easy fuzz pedal to get to know. In fact, I found it quite difficult to find good, usable settings on my own. Luckily, the ZVex website has a few sample settings to try. Those work fairly well. Still, tweaking can be hard to do on the fly.
How does one rate the sound of something designed to sound, well... like a fuzz pedal? The interesting thing it, this pedal tends to be more raunchy and nasty than most. There are many noise type players who would absolutely love this pedal. There are many other players who are looking for a classic fuzz sound that would be left scratching their heads and cleaning their ears after playing this one. Consider yourself warned.
It seems there are as many fuzz pedals available as there are stars in the sky. Everyone makes a fuzz pedal. This one is slightly unique as it doesn't appear to be based on a Big Muff. Again, that will be great to some and displease others. If you like a smooth, refined fuzz tone, this is not the pedal for you. If you like whacked out sticky gooey fuzz overload, this is one you might want to try out.
As all things ZVex, the price is up there. Most times I find that the price is not justified. This pedal, due to its unique sound might be. I still think it's a bit too highly priced, but if it's a sound you like it will probably be worth it. It's probably better to stick with the less expensive Vexter series to save a few bucks since I believe them to be the same thing, just with a non-hand painted enclosure.
This is a fuzz stompbox made by Zvex. It has 1/4" input and output jacks and can be used with a 9V battery or a standard boss style power adaptor. It's true bypass and has five controls, which are: Volume, Drive, Stab (stability), Comp (compression) and Gate.
The difference between this model and the vexter series is just cosmetic. This model is hand painted where as the vexter is screen printed.
This pedal is simple to set up, just plug your amp and guitar in and put a battery inside and you're ready to roll. The five controls on this pedal are very interactive and can react strangely in certain settings and produce feedback. It can be quite difficult to get a traditional fuzz tone out of this pedal I find, but then again if you want a traditional fuzz sound then you're probably not going to be buying a fuzz factory.
One thing I dislike about the utilization of this pedal is that due to the small enclosure and high amount of knobs it's quite easy to knock your settings when engaging the bypass footswitch.
I really love the sound of this pedal the germanium transistors sound amazing. The range of sounds you can get out of this pedal are ridiculous. My personal favorite is a heavily gated "velcro-fuzz" sound. Like I mentioned previously in certain settings this pedal can be prone to produce wild feedback and oscillations, I really like this feature of the pedal but a lot of people can be put off by it. I enjoy using it to produce a huge wall of fuzz sound that trails into oscillation. The pitch of the oscillation can be changed by the volume and tone controls on some guitars I found so there is possibility for new creative aspects which aren't available with other traditional fuzz boxes.
Overall I think this is a great pedal but I can't justify the price of owning a real one and despite building more than five clones I haven't managed to get the right sound yet. I think if you're considering this pedal you should try it before you buy it as it isn't for everyone.
I think that that this model is ridiculously priced compared to the vexter series considering the only difference is the paint work on it, this is why the overall opinion score is low on this pedal.
I bought one of these pedals a few years ago. I wanted to get a tone from a fuzz box similar to what I like about the Big Muff but with a few more options. Well after about 30 seconds with the pedal I found out it doesn't anything like a Big Muff. It wasn't very thick and warm. To me the sound was thin and metallic and not very pleasing to the ear. It had a unpleasant buzzing sound to the tone that I really didn't care for.
The Fuzz Factory from ZVex is a 5-knob fuzz pedal with 2 old-stock '60s germanium transistors. Though the circuit isn't modeled after any one specific classic fuzz effect, it delivers tones straight out of the 1960s. These 5 knobs control the Fuzz Factory's parameters at various operating levels, letting you shape your own personalized fuzz. ZVex designed the Fuzz Factory to consume less energy than other effects pedals. When on, the Fuzz Factory's current is less than 3 mA. This fuzz pedal is hand-painted and assembled by hand too so each is unique. Includes a 9V DC power jack and green on/off LED.
ZVex Fuzz Factory Controls
Volume: Output level
Gate: Squelches noise after end of sustain. Turn to the right to eliminate squeals, hiss, and buzz, stopping just as they disappear, or use to tune in exact feedback pitch. Turning to the left opens gate.
Compress: Adds attack characteristic when turned to the left, which gets softer to right, and suddenly pinches tone when all the way right. Also tunes in fat, feedbacky fuzz. Lower the Stability and see what happens to this control.
Drive: Increases distortion when used as a "normal" fuzz and adjusts feedback pitch and tonal thickness.
Stability: Use to control feedback pitch. This is one of the pedal's more finicky controls, so it will take some experimentation to get it right.
I was not a fan of the sound as I had previously mentioned. I was recording with the unit and I did get a fun usable oscillating feedback noise that tracked very well. But the overall tone of the unit was not what I wanted.
If you want to know how this thing sound in a recording situation then listen to the band Muse and the song "Plug in Baby". The opening guitar riff is all Fuzz Factory. I have to say that the pedal tracks quite well. And if you are going for a sound that is unlike most distortion boxes then this pedal might be up your alley.
I am just not a fan of how this thing sounds. I don't find it to be very pleasing to my ears. Many people like the unit and it is for some, just not me. If you want a thinner sounding fuzz tone instead of the thick meaty tone of the Big Muff then this might be your pedal. I'm just so used to the Big Muff as far as the standard of fuzz pedals that this unit didn't please me.
At new they come in at around $300 for the hand painted, They have other versions of that the hand painted that come much less in price but with the circuit inside.