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Sound Quality

Despite the claim that this pedal is meant to emulate overdriven stacks, it's basically Boss's take on the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff. It sounds very similar to the 78 Op-amp Big Muff I had last year. I actually prefer the Boss unit as it's tighter in the bass, whereas the EHX unit was rather muddy and undefined on the bass strings. The HM-3's 2-band EQ allows for much greater tonal sculpting than the EHX unit's single tone knob could provide. The HM-3s gain control is also usable over the entire turn of the pot. Set at minimum the HM-3 can do a passable overdrive sound, at max it sounds like a raging Muff. The real Big Muff could not sound like an overdrive, and I used to run the Big Muff with the sustain at 11 max as anything more was just crazy.


General Comments

A good cheap substitute for anyone wanting to keep a Big Muff tone but move that overly massive EHX unit off their board. With the advent of the new Little Big Muff that will run on a Boss-type barrel plug I suppose this Boss unit has lost some of its edge. Based on memory I prefer the tone of the HM-3 to the old 70s Big Muff I had, but I don't have the later anymore to A/B their tones directly. The Big Muff was somewhat warmer, maybe a bit thicker and could be set much fuzzier, but this translated into sludgy and undefined on the bass strings, particularly for rhythm playing. I could find a sound I liked much more easily with the HM-3, which is a more versatile pedal.

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