Past Percolations and Harmonic Heritage
Catalinbread’s new Karma Suture takes inspiration from the extremely rare and coveted Interfax Harmonic Percolator. What made the Harmonic Percolator so unique was the combination of a PNP germanium transistor and an NPN silicon transistor. The design concept was to suppress unpleasant odd-order harmonics while distilling even-order harmonic content and pushing it to the surface. The Karma Suture completely retains this tonal phenomenon and even employs the hard-to-source, new-old-stock PNP germanium transistor for all the captivating smooth sizzle of the original. Never ones to clone, Catalinbread have eliminated all the extraneous noise and issues of the original and added plenty of critical upgrades for a pedal that is all their own.
Dirty-Clean Sheen to Creamy Distortion Dreams
The Karma Suture is as flexible and enticing as the big book the name alludes to. There are a number of positions you can set the knobs and each will bring a whole new excitement to your playing experience. Let’s start with the Input set fairly low and the Output just past noon, leaving Diodes and Density straight up the middle. Lay this setting on top of a clean tone and you will enjoy an open, sparkling boost that is unbelievably sensitive to your touch. Notes within chords melt together with a bubbling sputter that can only be described as clean-cauldron-fuzz-boost. It must be noted that this circuit does not need help from an edge-of-breakup amp foundation (although it will sound just as amazing with one). In fact, I have had intriguing results going into a sterile, dry solid-state amp with full range speakers and straight into an audio interface without an amp at all.
Now, let’s get dirty. Pushing up the Input injects a snarling undulation that peels itself inside out in pulsing blossoms of glorious fuzz. Strangely, this creamy corpulent cacophony never disintegrates even the most complex chords, or turns them into mush like most heavy doses of fuzz tend to do. Feel free to hang on to a jazzy chord and hear it meld together and plateau into glorious gobs of harmonic feedback. If things get too wooly for you, dial back the Density to tame the low-end to taste. The Diodes dial is another clever control. This allows you to adjust the clipping from saturated compression for liquid leads and single note singing, to wide-open uncompressed attack for full chord ringing.
What we like: The ability to integrate into any effects chain and jump off from both clean and overdriven amp platforms sets this fuzz apart from all the rest. In fact, it isn’t fair to call it a fuzz, because it can add even the smallest amount of sparkle and sizzle to your tone on lower input settings and play the role of overdrive better than most dedicated overdrive pedals. You could even go amp-less if you want and pump harmonic percolations into one of Catalinbread’s foundation overdrives.
If you are looking for a unique and flexible dirt box that will play the role of sizzling clean boost, open grizzly overdrive and full-on fuzz, look no further. You are in for a completely new harmonic experience.
Concerns: Tonally speaking there are none. The pink enclosure may put off some more conservative players, but if you are not down to get gritty in pink with the fuzz-tone kitchen sink, then you are missing out. The price may seem a bit high for a dirt box, but you must consider the NOS components, stellar craftsmanship and amazing paintjob. You definitely get what you pay for and a whole lot more. The Karma Suture is guaranteed to bring some excitement back into the bedroom, studio and on stage.