- Published: 18 February 2019 18 February 2019
Today we announce the availability of our new Fire Pi. The Fire Pi is a new base configuration of our Pi module. The Fire Pi compares to the Mad Professor Fire Red Fuzz. The Fire Pi is based on the enormously popular Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi circuit, one of the classic fuzz effects which has been in almost continuous production for several decades, one of the most popular and successful effects of all time.
As fans of the Big Muff Pi know, there have been many, many clones and variations of this circuit, including numerous versions from Electro Harmonix over the years. Most of these variants share a common overall character, but have variations in voicing, style of fuzz, different features and controls, or other modifications, as the design of the circuit lends itself well to a host of modifications that produce great tones from overdrive to nearly every variety of fuzz imaginable. The Fire Pi has its particular voicing, based largely on a unique clipping implementation. Many circuits and designs make use of JFET technology in transistors or op amps. To many people, JFET technology produces tone that sounds more like vintage tube tone than other solid state technologies. The Fire Pi utilizes JFET technology in the clipping and in the output stage of the circuit, giving it a touch of JFET tone not found in other Big Muff Pi variants. The clipping in the Pi circuit is done by diodes. But as you may know, there are diodes in JFET transistors. You can hook up a JFET transistor so that it performs as a diode instead of as a transistor. That is what is unique about the Fire Pi. The FET-transistor-used-as-a-diode design element is sometimes used in overdrive circuits, but is rarely found in fuzzes. The tubeyness is increased by the JFET transistor used in the final stage, just before the tone comes ripping through the output jack.
So what does it sound like – another Big Muff Pi clone? Yes and no, but perhaps more no than yes... You can crank up the Fuzz and get a good thick fuzz, perhaps even overloading the circuit and/or your amp to the point of squealing if you turn up the Volume. But the JFET technology gives the fuzz a different character. In fact, if you back off the Fuzz a bit, you start heading toward a high-gain brown sound. Maybe not full-on EVH, but there are some strikingly similar characteristics. You know that sound you get if you blow up a balloon and then squeeze and rub it - sort of a squeaky, hollow, rubbery, fuzzy sound? You can get that. While the fuzzy end of the Fuzz dial is cool, the real goodness is in lower Fuzz settings that take you into a high-gain overdrive. String clarity remains good and it has a good feel to it. If you roll the Tone down, it definitely gets a little woolier, but not woofy and it stays defined – very usable. Crank the treble up, and you can cut through steel. Nice hollow rhythm sounds abound with the neck pickup. It evens cleans up pretty well (for a Big Muff Pi clone) when you roll back the guitar volume. Palm mutes are thick and chunky. Crank the Tone down with the bridge pickup for smooth, glassy tones. This is most definitely a module you can explore for quite some time and find a lot of excellent and usable tones.
You can find the Fire Pi and our many other Pi configurations at: Pi
We have around 15 additional modules that are in the final stages of testing and tweaking. Some are complex builds and are taking some time, but all are on track to be released in the coming weeks and will be announced as soon as they are complete and ready to go. Watch our website home page News and Facebook for more information! We hope you can also come visit us at the Nashville or Dallas guitar shows that we recently announced. We’ll have the Fire Pi and other new modules there – so stop by and give them a try!