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ZVex Fuzz Factory (vertical)
Overall Rating
Submitted: March 21st, 2018
by BDJohnston
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Sound Quality
The Fuzz Factory is one of those classic pedals that originally put ZVEX on the map.  You can dial into some great distortion and fuzz tones, and even some freaky feedback if that’s up your alley.  The YouTube demo below includes several settings, although I kept it more conservative and traditional.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOBVn7zvNZY Some of the functions are straight forward, such as the volume, gate and compression.  Obviously you use the GATE to reduce any background noise (unless you want to hear added squeals and burps from the STAB (stability knob), and the COMPRESSION is excellent in pinching the tone or it can be used to smooth things out if you want a velvety sound.  The DRIVE is very nice, in that you can achieve a gritty and dirty overdrive or distortion, more so than a fuzz quality… but turned all the way up and it sizzles very nicely while remaining clear in the mix.  The drive also alters the tone, so that turned toward the left you get a deeper and thicker sound with more grain, whereas you get more clarity and treble when turned to the right.  The STAB or stability controls the feedback pitch (low when turned left and high when turned right) – all the way right and it’s quiet as a mouse, but turn it left and past 2-o’clock and you can get some freaky results (that can be controlled or manipulated with the compression and gate).
Encased in steel, the Fuzz Factory has a metal foot switch (for on and off) and plastic knobs.  The foot switch is far enough removed from the knobs that there shouldn’t be an issue of damage caused by stomping.  The standard 9v power input is located at the back, whereas the input-output are located along the sides.
The Fuzz Factory is not difficult to use, but you will need to do some tweaking to discover how smooth, punchy or ‘wild’ you want the tone.  Avoiding the STAB narrows your decisions and makes it easy to use, although some bubbles, burps and screeches in the mix certainly are fun and entertaining. There are no downfalls, unless you don’t like the particular tones of the Fuzz Factory… it does what it’s supposed to do and with very good versatility.  It operate on a 9v battery, but also accepts a basic 9v power supply while consuming a paltry 3 mA.  For $199 new it offers some very usable and excellent sounding distortion and fuzz tones, making it rather diverse compared to other one-trick pony type fuzzes.
General Comments
The sound of this pedal is very much like other ZVEX pedals… it sounds like a ZVEX.  There is something very raw and organic about this company’s analog equipment and with their own characteristics, and the Fuzz Factory is no exception.  Some other fuzz pedals, even if analog, have a more processed sound, whereas you can hear every detail in the Fuzz Factory, like bacon slowly cooking in a cast iron frying pan.
Reviewer's Background
Brian Johnston is a guitar gear enthusiast.  He develops demos and reviews on gear he likes and uses.  His YouTube channel is CoolGuitarGear
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