Fulltone PlimSoul Pedal Review
October 8, 2010
|Download Example 1
Level: 12, Hi-Cut: 10, Sustain: 2, Stage 2 fully counter-clockwise. Parker Fly (both humbuckers) into Egnater Tourmaster 4212.
|Download Example 2
Level: 2, Hi-Cut: 11, Sustain - 3, Stage 2 halfway up. Parker Fly (both humbuckers) into Egnater Tourmaster 4212.
|Download Example 3
Level: 12, Hi-Cut: 9, Sustain: 5, Stage 2 fully clockwise. Charvel So-Cal (bridge humbucker) into Egnater Tourmaster 4212.
|Download Example 4
Level: 11, Hi-Cut: 12, Sustain: 9, Stage 2 fully clockwise. Charvel So-Cal (bridge humbucker) into Egnater Tourmaster 4212.
|Download Example 5
Level: 12, High-Cut: 1, Sustain: 11, Stage 2 fully counter-clockwise. Fender Strat (neck pickup) into Paul Reed Smith 30 amp and 1x12 cab.
|Download Example 6
Level: 2, Hi-Cut: 3, Sustain: 5, Stage 2 fully clockwise. Godin Icon 3 (bridge pickup) into Paul Reed Smith 30 amp and 1x12 cab.
|All clips recorded with a Shure SM57 mic into Pro Tools.|
Rather than just offering soft-clipped distortion found in pedals like the Tube Screamer, or hard-clipped distortion like the RAT, the PlimSoul offers both hard and soft clipping in one pedal. But it’s not just a switchable 2-channel pedal. You can get a smooth, bluesy overdrive in soft-clipping Stage 1 and an edgier, crunchier distortion in hard-clipping Stage 2, but you have the ability to blend the two together for a an even nastier, customizable overdrive.
Like most Fulltone pedals, the PlimSoul is a handmade, handwired pedal with true bypass switching, and it can run on either 9 volts or 18 volts. The PlimSoul’s control set is a simple 4-knob layout: Level, Hi-Cut, Sustain, and Stage 2. Level controls the signal output, Sustain controls the amount of distortion in Stage 1 only, Hi-Cut rolls off high frequencies, and the smaller Stage 2 knob controls the second stage of distortion and allows you to blend in hard clipping with soft clipping. A second Stage 2 LED indicates how much hard clipping is being mixed into the signal by glowing brighter or dimmer.
I started my walk with the PlimSoul using a Fender Stratocaster and a Paul Reed Smith 30 amp running clean. With the Stage 2 knob dialed completely off and Level, Hi-Cut and Sustain knobs all at 12 o’clock, I got a gritty and meaty British rock tone that coaxed a surprising amount of heft out of the Strat’s single-coils. The Hi-Cut knob is quite usable and can shift the tone from wooly at its lowest setting to a very bright, brilliant sound at its highest setting without being too harsh or brittle. With the Sustain knob at 12 o’clock (which is the halfway point), I dialed the Hi-Cut knob to about one-third of full for a warm mid-overdrive, bluesy tone.
Turning the Sustain knob all the way up made the Strat positively howl! And with the Stage 1 overdrive tone fully saturated, my single-coils sounded like humbuckers kicking out heaps of crunch and sustain. Introducing Stage 2 into the mix just made everything meaner and dirtier. And the distortion thickened up with an enhanced midrange and a tighter, chunkier overall crunch.
After hearing how the PlimSoul beefed up my single-coil Strat tone, I was eager to discover how humbuckers would sound. My Charvel So-Cal, Parker Fly, and Slash Les Paul worked with the PlimSoul to deliver the same satisfying ends—super-saturated, fat, clear distortion.
Rolling off the Stage 2 knob again gave me a touch of overdrive that’s perfect as a boost for leads and accessing a wider range of dynamics. The tone is warm, bluesy, and quite touch sensitive. And by adjusting the guitar volume and varying the pick attack, you can have a semi-clean tone with extra bite and spank when you need it. There is plenty of overdrive to be had even when the Sustain knob is only halfway up. If you crank up the Sustain all the way and set the Hi-Cut knob a little before noon, you can get a tight, beefy distorted tone with a singing, dense midrange. With a humbucker in the neck position, you can turn up both the Sustain and Hi-Cut knobs for a vintage Fuzzface-type sound.
Between the Sustain, Hi-Cut and Stage 2 knobs, and blending between soft and hard clipping, you have an amazing variety of overdrive and distortion to choose from. In crafting my perfect distorted tone, I found it easiest to increase the Stage 2 knob first to get the desired amount of distortion, and then turn the Hi-Cut knob to add the brightness to my liking. In the higher gain settings, the only drawback was the hiss and noise coming from the pedal, and you might want a noise gate if you’re a stickler for quiet and want super-fat distortion.
The Fulltone PlimSoul will satisfy players looking to expand their overdrive possibilities, from blues to rock and even high-gain metal. It offers plenty of super-saturated distortion, even when using a strictly clean amp sound as a foundation. Best of all, the PlimSoul packs all this versatility in a pedal that’s built to the same standards of high quality as the rest of the Fulltone line. You might be able to get this much distortion-shaping potential out of multiple pedals, but if pedalboard space and versatility are priorities, it’s hard to top the PlimSoul.
you want both hard- and soft-clipped distortion in one pedal.
you’d rather use three pedals to tailor your distortion.
Street $169.15 - Fulltone - fulltone.com