The Way Huge Havalina is a newly designed ’60s-based UK germanium fuzz circuit from mastermind pedal designer Jeorge Tripps. It’s a simple setup with three controls—volume, drive, and tone—and can be powered by a 9v battery or optional power supply. The hand-selected Russian germanium transistors with a passive tone circuit give the Havalina a decent range of tones, from a heavier overdrive-like crunch to all out heavy ripping fuzzy goodness.
What we like:
If I had to compare the Havalina’s tone to another fuzz circuit, it would be a combination of a fuzz face and a Tonebender. However, the tone control on the Havalina does something a bit different than most fuzzes. Turned down all the way, you still have a fairly bright fuzz tone, depending on the drive setting, with an emphasis on the lower to upper mid-range areas. Bass is definitely not in abundance on this pedal at any range, and that is both good and bad—more on that in a minute. Turn the tone control clockwise, and the Havalina gets very bright, with an emphasis on the upper mid-range and treble areas only, and the white noise with both drive and tone turned up is fairly obvious.
The upside to all of this is that the Havalina is great at cutting through the mix. Many classic fuzz pedals, muffs especially sound great on their own, but they cut the midrange and in a band context the lack of mids tends to make the guitar sound invisible—you’re competing against your bass player and drummer. So, the Havalina instead focuses more on the upper midrange and treble region which helps it stand out more.
With your guitar’s volume control rolled back, the Havalina cleans up nicely, although it seems like the actual volume cut was a bit more than with a traditional fuzz face.
In my opinion, I think this pedal will appeal to live players who want a fuzz pedal that can actually stand out with other players in the band. The white noise at the upper end of the drive and tone controls might make it challenging for recording and home use, but again, not a big deal for live use.
I liked the tone of the Havalina, but the lack of a deep bottom end was mildly disappointing. I would compare the tone to some of what I hear on Jack White’s recordings, that somewhat gritty, biting, almost piercing tone. Some will like this, and some won’t. I preferred using only the neck pickup on my guitars (humbuckers or single coil), keeping the tone control on the Havalina below noon. This allowed a little more natural bass from the neck pickup, but with the added treble bite the pedal provides.
Way Huge pedals feel very solid to me, and the Havalina is no exception. Also, I like having input and output jacks on the back. The slick metal case and feel-good switch all work well for me. No complaints at all here.
If you are looking for a fuzz that does well cutting through the mix and has plenty of volume on tap, the Havalina is certainly worth a look. If you’re new to fuzzes, this is a nice and affordable way to learn more about this versatile type of drive pedal. It provides simple controls that allow the user to dial in their tone quickly, without a lot of ongoing tweaking.