Aug 9, 2012
EHX Big Muff version 3 vs EHX Big Muff version 5 Op-Amp – Vintage Big Muff Comparison
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Direct comparison of the vintage transistor based Version 3 and the Op-Amp version 5 Big Muff fuzz pedals made by Electro Harmonix during the 70′s. The version 5 is the same as version 4 except for the fact that it has a Tone Bypass instead of an Off/ On switch…. the Op-Amp version 4 is also the pedal that is widely responsible for giving Billy Corgan the wonderful “wall of fuzz” tone on the Siamese Dream album. Differences in tone between vintage Muffs vary greatly due to EHX using anything and everything that was available in the way of components. Because of this, it is always very difficult to do a direct comparison of older Muffs, however, being that the version 3 is transistor based and the version 5 is an Op-Amp, I figured it would be a worthwhile comparison.
Firstly, yes, these both have brand new, dollar store 9 volts in them. I am not using the Tone Bypass on the Op-Amp Muff and some keen observers will note some slight differences in the positioning of the volume and tone knobs between the two pedals throughout the demo. I was doing my best to try and keep their tone and overall volume the same so that you could mainly hear the difference in the overall fuzz tone of each pedal. And unfortunately, if you are not a Smashing Pumpkins fan, than this may not be the demo for you because I am going to play all Pumpkins songs When it comes to the Op-Amp Big Muff, how could I not?
Another important note…. the Pot sweep on the Version 5 Muff is actually correct… I just figured I would put the labels on both Muffs so that it was easier for you to see during the demo.
Just as I did with my comparison of the Green Tall Font and Bubble Font Sovtek Muffs, I am not going to tell you which way I am leaning for either of these pedals. Again, I own both of them, so each of them has their place for me…. however, you may be considering purchasing some vintage Big Muffs or are between two pedals and perhaps this comparison can assist you in some way. If you are thinking of jumping into the world of vintage Muff collecting, you really must note that EHX used everything and anything that was lying around when building the first muffs, so the tones vary GREATLY…. this is one of the reasons why some people buy so many vintage Muffs…. you’re looking for the diamond in the rough.
For all things Big Muff related, check out Kit Rae’s amazing Big Muff database….
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