Crackle, Spackle and Sparkle
Good evening . . . in this edition of Fletch at Tone Report Presents, we are focusing on the new version of the Double Feature from one of my favorite London pedal pushers—Magnetic Effects. Hitchcockian graphics and half-cocked wah tones await you dear readers, but first, I would like to detail the dirty side of this two-faced killer.
For a germanium-powered fuzz-stortion, I was shocked at how tight, focused and amp-like the gain structure was. This original op-amp and germanium dirt design is smooth, granular and muscular, without the crumbly low end or raggedy, loose-shingled edges commonly associated with germ-powered breakup. It reminds me of the Harmonic Percolator in some respects, but exhibits a golden sparkly top-end that bubbles and purrs in a rich froth of harmonic complexity.
The crackly spackled smoothness increases as the gain is wound up and plateaus at legato lead levels. If my picking hand ever got chopped off for stealing riffs, I reckon I could adapt a one-handed style with the aid of this awesome circuit. While this fuzz sounds big and characterful run into squeaky-clean preamps, it is equally interesting jumping off from overdriven platforms. The germanium sizzle adds intrigue to even high gain amps roaring at full boar. To summarize the sonics, the fuzz side of the Double Feature reminds me of a tighter, more modern Tone Bender mixed with a touch of Percolator purr, channeled through a Big Muff tone sweep. Left is low, muted and massive, right is tight, hot and searing.
Treadle-less Tonal Focal Points
The filter side of this gold-and-black twin attack is all vintage wah voicing. The sweep control is cleverly tuned to avoid the unusable, while focusing on those squelchy, musical layers of EQ spectrum. I found myself peeling away peripheral frequencies, magnifying millions of midrange vowel peaks. When the fuzz and filter sides are used together, the tone and sweep control become interactive. Even minute adjustments make a dramatic difference.
I always used a wah pedal for tone focusing rather than the whacka-whacka funk treatment, so the Double Feature is right up my street. This pedal gets very close to my favorite old pairing of Skreddy Screw Driver and Chicago Iron Parachute Wah—without the bulk, extra cables and cramped left foot from holding treadle positions. I found it hard to stop playing Spacemen 3-style transcendental riffs with that germanium sizzle sustain through the cocked wah sweep settings. Of course, searing Robert Fripp and Steve Hackett-style leads are on the menu as well. This pedal is flat out addictive and I am hypnotized by those electric eyes.
What We Like: Low noise, high build quality, stunning visual appeal, and great value for the money make the Double Feature a two-for-one summer blockbuster. I could see myself not only using this as a tool to make my leads stand out, but for filling in frequency gaps in a mix with the filter side engaged.
The fuzz is refreshingly original and the filter can also be used independently to shape any other dirt pedals on the board. Because of the high input impedance and low output impedance, the Double Feature can be integrated into any signal chain. I can confirm that there was no tonal difference when I patched it in after my buffered Crowther Hot Cake. This is fuzz and frequency tweaked to perfection.
Concerns: I can’t fault this pedal on any level. In fact, I would love a T-shirt that had these graphics screen printed on with rhinestones for eyes.