Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: McSpunckle Effects Gnomeratron VTF Fuzz and And Aardvarks Booster/Overdrive

The Gnomeratron is a fuzz tweakers dream and the And Aardvarks is the perfect companion for it. There's a knob or switch for just about any parameter you'd like to tweak on a fuzz and you can dial in some crazy sounds. The And Aardvarks is a boost/overdrive that perfectly compliments the Gnome and sounds amazing as just a standalone overdrive. The VTF and AA are guitar and bass friendly due to the Gnome's (somewhat) clean blend and the versatile tone stack on both of them. Read on to find how crazy versatile (and just crazy in general) this fuzz and overdrive are.

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.

Final Word
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.


  1. Thanks for your impressions. Keep up the good work!

  2. : D! Thanks, man!

    That last sound is intense. : D

    I'll try to get you a new one to review so you can check out the extra features on the new ones.

  3. These are some awesome pedals for sure, I'd love to try out the new version of the Gnome, I'd be happy to do a whole nother review for the new version. I just like tweaking around with it so much!