Published On: Thu, Jun 12th, 2014

Darkglass Electronics Duality Fuzz Engine Review

Bass fuzz is a bad, dangerous and beautiful thing. From Finland via Seattle comes a new box of blendable mayhem. Review by Gareth Morgan

 

 

Details
Dedicated bass guitar fuzz pedal. Made in USA
RRP: £185
Contact: Bass Direct – 01926 886433 – www.bassdirect.co.uk

We really liked the Darkglass Microtubes B3K distortion pedal (see our review in the August 2012 issue, Vol 23/11); in fact, we thought it was one of the best overdrives currently out there. The proprietor of Darkglass is Douglas Castro, a Chilean bass player who relocated to Finland. He’s very much taught himself to build pedals, fired by a fertile design imagination and the necessary technical skills. Most importantly, he couldn’t get the sound he wanted from the gear he had available, so he felt he was left with no choice.

Darkglass pedals are now made in Seattle, USA, which hopefully means we’ll get our hands on more of them. Let’s take a look at the latest from Mr Castro, the Darkglass Duality fuzz pedal.

Darkglass say the Duality fuzz ‘allows selecting and blending between a classic sounding, saw-tooth shape-shifting circuit and a high gain, thick and brutal one’. These can be used individually for straight fuzz or blended for weirder and more wonderful noises.

Four controls are provided to do this: Level, which sets the output level of the effected signal; Blend, for balancing clean and fuzzed signals; Filter, a variable low pass filter or LPF (an LPF is a filter that passes low-frequency signals and attenuates signals with frequencies higher than the cut off frequency), for more or less harmonic content with varied levels of presence and edginess; and finally the Duality control, which selects and mixes the two fuzzes – to the left for old-school, to the right for modern.

All of this housed in a brushed steel box 49mm high including the controls, 71mm wide including the sockets and 110mm deep, weighing 300g/0.66lbs. Unscrew the back to change battery or use mains power via the appropriate socket; input and output jack sockets are also in residence.

Sounds
The Duality is similar and yet different to 3Leaf’s YD reviewed this month, most noticeably at the maxed-out extremes, where the carnage is just that bit bloodier, the destructive noise that created it a little wilder. The Blend control means that whatever you do to spark your tone can be the essence of or another colour on your tonal palette. Turning Duality and Filter to the right uncorks variations with fizzing highs that detonate in your face and a nasty, snarling aggression with a slicing attack and lead-synth leanings – if you’re looking to simulate your favourite wailing guitar-slinger, this is place to look.

Filter control to the right is all cutting harmonics, one offshoot being fatter, more immediately bass playing-oriented noises. You still get a crunching edge and a white noise melee that orbits your note like storms around Jupiter, but it’s more obviously attached to its core, rather than acting like some violent harbinger. Furthest left on Filter and Duality is a fat, buzzing behemoth, and winding Filter clockwise slowly eases you into serious death metal, which is rather fun.

Verdict
This is an excellent fuzz pedal. While you can create synth bass-like effects, it colours your instrument’s tone as opposed to morphing it closer to another’s, although this doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of distorted madness available if you so desire. The Duality can get wild and excessive, and all this fun can be attenuated or afforded world domination via the Level and Blend controls. The asking price of £185 is heading towards pro level but what you’re getting is a handwired, top-notch fuzz pedal that’s worth every penny

 

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