This is one of the best distortion tools I have used. The sound is full without rolling off bass. The dynamics are much better than most pedals. The sounds are fatter and sweeter than solid state distortion pedals. It can do a over the top very aggressive distortion and is capable of softer sounds. It will do OD, distortion and fuzz. Clean enhancement, adding some grit, big distorted sounds and over the top out of control textures are all there. A variety of colors and textures that change the character of the amp. The harmonic sustain is beyond what you are accustom to experiencing. It reacts to the guitar volume to control the amount of distortion. The tone control and pick up selector are very useful with this pedal to shape the sound. Because of the nature of this pedal the guitars voice is enhanced by the pedal ... not washed out. Single coils and humbuckers both sounded great to me. I can hear some similarity's to several vintage and modern sounds. But it very much has it's own voice and vibe. This is a very different sound than the Fryette amps.
The volume control range is great for boosting / over-driving the front end of the amp. If I want to balance the volume with bypass it is small range to get the balance. It can be done, but not a lot of range on the rotation. I asked Fryette support about this and the reply ...
"The value of the volume pot has a lot to do with the tone and behavior of the circuit. If we change to a lower value, the taper smooths out but the dynamic range goes down and it doesn't sound as big. We erred on the side of sound and performance."
A small rubber grommet can be easily installed under the volume knob that will dampen the rotation enough to reduce the sensitivity of the pot. That also makes it easier to toe the knob setting on the fly.
Set the gain for the amount of distortion you want and adjust the bias to tune the tone balance and how erratic the distortion is. The entire range of the gain and bias are very usable and can be blended to control the amount of distortion and texture of the sound. No matter where the gain is set the whole range of the bias is usable. As you turn the bias knob the harmonic structure of the distortion changes. In the 10~1 o'clock range it has more bass and lower midrange giving a fuller sound / voice. With the bias set above 1 o'clock the bass becomes less and can be used to tighten up the sound. It can be used to control how tight the bass is in the sound. The voice of the distortion gets very aggressive early on with the gain control and can get very aggressive. There is a lot of gain available. Even with the gain set pretty high you can hear all of the notes and harmonics in a complex chord.
Setting the gain very low or off it adds shimmering harmonics. This effects the feel and sound. Because of the nature of this pedal it does add a very small amount of grit / color set clean. The small amount of grit I very much consider what I see as a clean sound. Kind of like if you turned up a small combo clean and it colors the sound a bit. This pedal setting can be added to a clean, medium or high gain sound on the amp.
The gain set very low or off is the only amount of gain I would use with high gain on the amp. Adjusting the bias from here effects the tone shape and feel.
For medium gain sounds on the amp adding the SAS can get some very big fat sounds. If the bass is not tight enough you can turn the bias above 1 o'clock to tighten up the sound. I do not see myself setting the gain above 1 o'clock ... and much lower depending on how much gain is on the amp. In most cases I would not set the gain above 10 o'clock with medium gain sounds.
With the amp clean the dynamics and distortion flavors are most obvious. From a harmonic and feel enhancement to angry wall of harmonic with many colors between.
I use the pedal mostly with clean and medium gain settings on the amp. Preamp, poweramp or blend. To much gain on the amp clouds up the detail from the SAS and takes away from it's best quality's.
A EF86 has much more gain available than a 12AX7, it tends to not compress and saturate as easily as a 12AX7, full and detailed, but also capable of being raw and aggressive. This creates power amp distortion qualities not available from a triode tube type and creates real amp distortion sounds similar to what you would experience with a over-driven small and larger powered vintage tube amps. This is very useful for getting the sound of a poweramp running very aggressive .... but can be done at lower or medium volumes.
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