Monday, October 10, 2011
Review: McSpunckle Effects Gnomeratron VTF Fuzz and And Aardvarks Booster/Overdrive
For a pedal with six knobs, five switches and four mini-trimmers, the Gnome comes in a very compact enclosure that could fit on just about any pedalboard. The glossy clear coat over the graphics makes the finish indestructible and also looks extremely professional, one of my favorite finishes I've ever seen on a pedal (goes for both the Gnome and the AA). The Gnomeratron has top mounted jacks and a 9V power plug, great for saving space on a board.
Now lets get on to all these knobs and switches shall we? The knobs are for clean blend volume, a tone for the blend, fuzz volume, gain, noise gate and another tone knob for the fuzzy signal. The switches are for engaging the 'Magic' mode and there are also switches for selecting different clipping diodes, shifting the tone stack and engaging an octave-up circuit (which makes things get really crazy) the smaller knobs on the side are gain controls for various clipping stages. The Aardvarks has your basic gain, volume and tone controls as well as a mini switch to switch the AA from being a booster, an overdrive/distortion and a bass overdrive/distortion, pretty neat. Take a look at the pictures for a control layout of each.
It would take one a very long time to discover all of the various sounds these two pedals can make together or alone, the tweaking is half the fun. The Gnome on it's own can do anything from crazy octave-up, splatty fuzz to a more brutal fuzz/distortion. With the clean(ish) blend you can dial in some more mellow tones as well. The and Aardvarks has plenty of gain on tap itself but is also a great boost for other fuzz or distortion pedals. Use it as anything from a boost to a light overdrive to a pretty heavy distortion pedal, it's got all those sounds in there. Together the Gnomeratron and And Aardvarks make a fromidable team creating super heavy, over-the-top saturated fuzz sure to make any doom or metal fan grin. Some of the sounds these pedals make, I can't put into words so you'll just have to listen for yourself.
And Aardvarks Overdrive by Mike Fetting
The And Aardvarks is a very sweet sounding guitar overdrive among many other things. Gain is maxed and it's dialed in for a brighter tone.
Gnomeratron VTF Octave sounds by Mike Fetting
This clip demonstrates the octave-up and just overall glitchy madness the Gnomeratron can create.
Gnomeratron VTF Brutz by Mike Fetting
Here's a more standard high gain fuzz tone.
Noise/Experimentation with Gnomeratron VTF and And Aardvarks by Mike Fetting
I turned the AA and Gnome on together with both gains cranked for some noise and this is what came out, probably not useful to most musicians, but fun nonetheless.
The Gnomeratron and And Aardvarks can pretty much take care of all of your dirt needs (fuzz, boost, overdrive, distortion) and then some. I've heard the Gnomeratron described as a fuzz workstation and that's a very apt description in my opinion adding the And Aardvarks to the mix only makes things better. Now I have to note, the Gnomeratron's many options can also lead to frustration, with all those knobs and switches, it can take a while to dial in the tone you're looking for and if you hate tweaking pedals, the Gnomeeratron certainly isn't for you (McSpunckle does make mini versions that are much simpler though). The Gnome and AA could replace 5-6 pedals on a lot of boards out there and if you're up for a few days of getting used to all the options and constantly tweaking your sound, you should probably head on over to McSpunckle's Etsy store and take a look at a Gnomeratron VTF and an And Aardvarks boost/overdrive.