Benson Amps Germanium Fuzz Solar White
Germanium fuzz, temperature-resistant and with stable input-buffer.
The Benson Germanium Fuzz pedal is designed around two germanium 2N527 OR 2N404 Germanium Transistors. They have been graded for gain and leakage and carefully matched to sound their best. They are set up in the ubiquitous 60’s circular fuzz topology, and tuned for good sound, and include some additional oddities aimed at solving the issues that prevent more widespread use of Germanium devices.
The bias of the transistors in this pedal is automatically regulated by a circuit that GENTLY warms the transistors to a preset operating point using analog components, and ensures a consistent sound, no matter the external temperature. When the LED is orange, the transistors are warming up to increase their hFE (transistor gain) and to shift the bias point to the correct voltage. When the LED turns green, the warmer is off because the correct bias and hFE have been set. Expect the LED to toggle back and forth every so often while the pedal is on…that is how you know its working. The heaters will warm the transistors enough to still be effective on a sunny stage, but far cooler than anything that would harm the transistors. This pedal is designed to operate between freezing and 100˚F but might still sound fine outside this range. There are two colors: Studio Black is not meant for direct sunlight, Solar White is fine with it. We have found there is a 20˚F difference between a black pedal and a white pedal in direct sunlight.
The low input impedance of the classic two transistor germanium fuzz circuit is both a blessing and a curse….a blessing because it can yield a tight sparkly clean tone when guitar volume is rolled down, and a curse because it sounds nasty (in a bad way) if there are buffers or pedals before it in a signal chain. Benson Amps went to some extremes to keep the blessing and lose the curse.
Benson Amps installed a class A buffer in the very input of the Germanium Fuzz. This buffer feeds a Jack Orman style passive pickup simulator circuit (an audio transformer set up as an inductor, a resistor, and a capacitor). These two additions make compatibility with other pedals possible without losing the desired sound. After the pickup simulator circuit, Benson have added an “Impedance” control, which simulates rolling down the guitar volume to get that tight sparkly sound…without adjusting your guitar volume….which you can still do and still sounds great.
The circuit has been tuned to be used as a rich sounding clean boost, an overdrive, all the way up to an aggressive fuzz with some octave overtones. It will sound different, and more useful, than the classic versions. There are many colors of tone available with the impedance and gain controls…they are very interactive. This is meant as a “pretty” fuzz a la 60’s-70’s classic rock/psychedelic rock. It is not a spitty, harsh experimental fuzz and more often sounds like an overdrive or distortion until the gain is turned all the way up, and the impedance is turned down.
|Highlights||Germanium fuzz with a 60s vibe
2N527 OR 2N404 Germanium Transistors
Thermal BIAS ensures stable operating temperature
Class A input buffer
Impedance-knob makes it possible to use non-germanium fuzz friendly pedals in front
Handmade in Portland, Oregon, USA
|Power consumption||9V DC center negative (power supply sold separately)
|Dimensions||H: 5 cm (incl. knobs)
W: 12 cm
D: 9,5 cm