Catalinbread Manx Loaghtan Fuzz Review

Discussion in 'Pedals' started by rwhammond, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. rwhammond

    rwhammond Senior Member

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    I had recently purchased this pedal and had really high hopes from various demos I had heard. Sadly, it didn't quite meet my expectations.

    Last Friday my Catalinbread arrived and I was overjoyed. I had spent a few days listening to demos and couldn't wait to plug it in and start playing. I pulled out my Les Paul and turned on Marshall and set everything up.

    I started with all of the dials at 12 o'clock as i usually do when I get a new pedal so I can learn what they all do. I struck a A5 chord and though wow, this sound pretty good. It had a good overall distortion sound, but it seemed to be lacking in what I had heard in the demos. I started playing a few licks throughout the neck and nothing special was really standing out to me. I shrugged and thought, everything is set to 12 o'clock, perhaps if I get to know these knobs I can dial in something sweet.

    If you know anything about this pedal, it comes equipped with Baxandall tone control. Basically, if you dime the treble and bass and you get a scooped midrange, if you back them off and turn up the volume, your midrange increases. This is one of the reasons I purchased this pedal.

    With both the treble and bass wide open I got a really harsh sounding distortion, and after just purchasing an MI Audio Crunch Box, this sound really turned me off. I switched between the bass and treble knobs to make adjustments to find something usable. It sounded very muddy and I had hoped to hear more fuzz then distortion, unfortunately this wasn't the case for me.

    I decided to increase the mid range by dropping the bass and treble and increasing the volume level. I again found a lot more distortion sounding then fuzz. I did discover that turned the bass to 9 o'clock and the treble all the way up with the volume to 3 o'clock did start to produce some sounds that I sort of liked. Unfortunately, after giving my ears a break and returning to those settings, I found it was really thin and it wasn't want I wanted.

    The tonal ranges I had heard from others were very deep, dark and high gain fuzz. I experienced quite the opposite with my rig.

    After awhile of trying different settings, mimics settings I had heard in the online demos and trying various ideas, I had to conclude that this pedal wasn't for me. I would probably compare my experience with this pedal to the Boss Blues Driver. If you're looking at this pedal, I would suggest demoing these side by side.

    Keep in mind these opinions are only that, opinions. Your mileage may vary.
     
  2. Hector Arcadius

    Hector Arcadius Senior Member

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    Very nice and thorough review, mate. But... too bad the pedal didn't meet any of your expectations.

    Catalinbread seems to be one of the most promising pedal-makers out there, but not everything works for everybody. Until you try something with your rig, you never know...
     
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  3. rwhammond

    rwhammond Senior Member

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    Thanks Hector. I really love the sound of their pedals, but your right, till you plug in with your own gear and your fingers, you never know. I said the other day, "I've got enough dirt pedals for now." Then my PAS kicked in. I'll be ordering the Formula No. 5 and Dirty Little Secret in the coming weeks.
     
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  4. switchback

    switchback Senior Member

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    Yep, great review and like a lot of other fuzz reviews its hit or miss, I find either you love the fuzz you found or you hate it. So far I haven't found MY fuzz thats screaming to be on my board, thanks for the review !
     
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  5. Tobacco Worm

    Tobacco Worm Senior Member

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    Good report, and I am sorry that this one didn't work out for you. As the others stated so well, sometimes when you try one with your rig it just doen't live up to the hopes you had for it...

    Perhaps you'll find that one pedal that will just jump up and say "Hey bud, I'm the one you're after. Look no further." Will keep my fingers crossed that this pedal is found soon and you don't spend too much with the search...

    Wade
     
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  6. StandingWave

    StandingWave Senior Member

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    To me, Muffs are very difficult pedals. It took me a long time to find one that I liked and worked in the context of my rig. I can't put it to much musical use yet, but I like having one around. There still are several on my list to try, though.
     
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  7. rwhammond

    rwhammond Senior Member

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    thanks everyone. the hunt continues! on the bright side, it does give me the sweet satisfaction of scouring the earth in search of "the perfect fuzz"
     
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  8. StandingWave

    StandingWave Senior Member

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    The perfect fuzz and the perfect Muff may be two completely different things. Muffs represent only part of the fuzz spectrum. There are a lot of other circuits, classic and modern. The top two, besides the Muff, arguably are the Fuzz Face and Tone Bender. Just these three circuits have spawned endless variants, and there are plenty more beyond that. It's a much more exciting adventure than overdrive, especially when many fuzzes can substitute for OD and distortion.
     
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