*Recorded with an Eastwood Sidejack Baritone DLX with Curtis Novak Jazzmaster Widerange pickups into the RetroZoid and an MXR Reverb routed to a Jaguar HC50 miked with a Royer R-121 and a Fender Rumble 200 miked with a Shure SM57, both feeding an Apogee Duet going into GarageBand with no EQ-ing, compression, or effects.
Clip 1: Bridge and neck pickups, with volume at 9 o’clock, tone at 10 o’clock, and fuzz fully clockwise (thin).
Clip 2: Bridge pickup, with volume at max, tone at minimum, and fuzz fully clockwise (thin).

 

Ratings

Pros:
Fantastic range of vintage fuzz flavors—enough to shame many larger, more expensive stomps—via a remarkably simple control array. Excellent deal.

Cons:
Plastic pot shafts might worry some.

Street:
$149

SviSound RetroZoid Germanium Fuzz
svisound.com



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Looking like a cross between a shrunken hi-fi component and the remote control for James Bond’s private jet, SviSound’s RetroZoid Germanium Fuzz continues Bulgarian builder Mark Svirkov’s trend of packing killer vintage sounds into hefty, space-efficient metal enclosures.

Though it doesn’t serve up gnarly gated sounds, the ’Zoid’s range of flavors is otherwise pretty astonishing. Volume achieves unity gain around 8 or 9 o’clock, and the impressively varied tone control goes from warm and thick to nastily trebly—enough to make a Tele’s bridge pickup uncharacteristically corpulent or turn any fat ’bucker into an eardrum-piercing demon. Fuzz works interactively with volume to determine the amount of nasty, while on its own it governs the character of the effect—and the range of smoothness to gnarliness is a lot more nuanced than the “fat” and “thin” knob labels imply.

The net result? RetroZoid can conjure not just the electrocution-through-your-fillings sounds of an old Fuzzrite—something even one-trick clones often don’t nail—but also Tone Bender- and Muff-style sounds so dynamically sensitive and meaty that this stomp could do double- or even triple-pedal duty and free up serious board space.

Test gear: Squier Vintage Modified Tele with Curtis Novak Tel-V and JM-V pickups, Squier/Warmoth baritone “Jazzblaster” with Curtis Novak Jazzmaster Widerange pickups, Jaguar HC50, Goodsell Valpreaux 21, MXR Reverb.