Published On: Thu, Apr 9th, 2009

Way Huge Fat Sandwich

The Fat Sound’s range is incredible, while a less contemporary distortion, it bridges the gap between modern distortion and 1970s fuzz

The Fat Sandwich considerably ups the gain stakes. It’s billed as a Harmonic Saturator, and that’s exactly what it is. It takes that skinny little clean signal, jumbles it all up, then spews it back out in a torrent of pinched squeals and crunchy, sustaining grind.
In operation the Fat Sandwich is marginally more straightforward than the Pork Loin, and it will be familiar territory for anyone who’s used to multi gain stage amps. The Volume and Distortion knobs do the usual, but you’ll need a while to grasp how the Tone interacts with Presence and Resonance.
This time the hidden delights include a Curve control for setting the ‘corner’ frequency of the first distortion stage –  which refers to the upper cut-off frequency. The Highs control tweaks the high frequencies between the two drive stages, and Drive sets the gain of the second distortion stage. You can also witness a light show from the two light-emitting clipping diodes.

Sounds
The Fat Sandwich‘s range is incredible. At minimum Distortion with Resonance, Tone and Presence fully up, it sounds thick and punky. Things get interesting as you slowly turn back Resonance: find the sweet spot and a set of extra harmonics pop out of nowhere to create a cool boxy/doubling effect that reminds me of early Billy Gibbons. Reduce Resonance more and the sound gets more honky and hollow as the low mids scoop out. It’s not metal – it’s more ’60s garage band. At the other extreme, increasing Distortion brings on creamy sustain with tons of upper harmonics.
 The internal Curve and Highs controls provide some subtle extra shaping, while  Drive has a more dramatic effect. As the gain of the second stage increases, the Fat Sandwich sounds even fatter as the lows and low mids are bumped up. This pedal is a less contemporary distortion, but it bridges a gap between modern distortion and 1970s fuzz while keeping everything clear and well-defined. It also cleans up rapidly from the guitar’s volume control.

 

Verdict

Im extremely impressed with all three of these pedals. They look and sound like regular pedals, but the degree of tone shaping is more on a par with digital modellers and multiple gain stage tube amps. Each one can generate a huge range of sounds, and the fine degree of control over gain structure and frequency response would make them equally adept in the studio or on the stage. With the possible exception of the Pork Loin, they impose themselves on your tone to the extent that it doesnt really matter what guitar youre playing but thats really the whole point.

Build Quality Playability Sound Value Vibe Score
16 19 18 14 15 82

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