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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Feature Gear Review : Retroman Wolf Tone Machine

Feature Gear Review : Retroman Wolf Tone Machine

In the world of octave up type guitar effects the Octavia is the most recognizable one out there. But those in the know know that the Tone Machine was the meaner of the two. The WTM is not just a clone of the original Foxx Tone Machine but an up to date version with more features and top notch build quality. An Octavia with an attitude problem if you will.

Ive said this before but first impressions mean alot and I was very impressed when opening the WTM.First off the box was sealed with a gold sticker. Just that little assurance that no grimy paws werre touching it before you. A relief to some of us pedals freaks. Upon opening the box the pedal was inside a soft velvet bag. A very classy touch. The pedal was painted in a medium blue with creme knobs and black writing. The black writing is a little hard to read at any more than an arms length. But a very impressive package and presentation that you dont always see with hand made pedals.

The build quality is top notch, very neat and clean wiring, no messes whatsoever here. They say the devil is in the details and Joe Wolf spared no expense, from the packaging to the build quality high marks all around.

Unlike the original Foxx version the WTM has 2 footswitches. One to turn octave off and on and bypass totally. So you can just use the fuzz or the fuzz and the octave at a click of the switch. An Octave LED lets you know if it is on even when you are in bypass mode. Very slick. True bypass switching and power in jack are standard.

A great feature that I have never seen on another pedal is the on/off switch in the tone control. The Tone control doubles as an off off switch when turned all the way to the right. For you battery users it means instead of yanking the cord out everytime you can just switch it off bypassing the battery drain.It might be a challenge to remember where you had the tone set before but I am a big fan of this feature as I usually use batteries.

If this pedal was a stand alone fuzz only it would still be a winner. A nice fat thick fuzztone is here. Very smooth Big Muff type almost, will keep alot of fuzz freaks very happy. Kicking in the Octave effect brings forth a very mean upper octave. Forget the Octavia the WTM is mean. I tried it wait single coils and was very close to the original Octavia sound. Hitting it with humbuckers you can actually get an ALL octave tone. Alomst totally bypassing the original note. This can be adjusted with the guitars volume knob. Less input the more the original note can be heard. This was ALOT of fun to play around with. It will basically do the classic Jimi octave tones but will get alot meaner and is VERY responsive to the guitars volume knob.

A mean upper octave pedal that could eliminate a few of your fuzzes and upper octave pedals. Tons of features and attention to detail make the WTM a hands down winner in the upper octave market. Retroman

Have you ever heard one of these? Now you can!

Originals of this ultra-rare (and very cool) pedal are demanding eyeteeth as down payments - I have seen them go for $500+ ... nuts!

We can all agree that the prices on most vintage and many "boo-teek" pedals is plain crazy. That's why is here - high quality "boo-teek" + reasonable pricing = your best value.

I use only the original spec (now obsolete) "Button Top" 2N3565 transistors, fully tested and sorted for gain. The other components are also of the highest quality: retina frying Ultra-blue LED indicators, high quality 3PDT switches (for TRUE BYPASS), metal film 1% resistors, silver solder, New Old Stock 1N34A germanium diodes, cool powder coat finishes, and the build quality is second to none.

Check out the controls:

VOLUME – Careful with this one….go much above 9:00 and you are dealing with a volcano!

TONE – Extremely versatile, dishing up just the right amount of bite or growl – A bit of play and you will find Jimi or Bachmann (Or you!).

SUSTAIN – this thing can go for days….and very useful and very cool interplay between the Volume and Sustain controls.

Note that there are TWO footswitches! One is your TRUE BYPASS WITH INDICATOR – Hard not to notice when this baby is steaming, but just in case your ears drop out, I have included a eye-searing blue LED to remind you “Hey! It’s on!” The second footswitch allows you to add an OCTAVE ABOVE! Yes, just like the original….only better! You can kick it in or out on the fly!!!! And to top it off, I HAVE ADDED ANOTHER LED TO INDICATE “OCTAVE IN”! As an added bonus, this lamp will stay on when the beast is bypassed, so you know what you’re in for when you stomp it in….

Here's what some folks have to say:

"Well now, after I plugged in the Wolf Tone I spent the next five hours lying on my floor in the fetal position. I'm just now recovering. This is one scary sounding pedal. I have recorded with an old Foxx before but could never imagine having one in my pedal board. I love the fact that guys like you are taking old designs and making them in a more modern and rock-solid way."

"You are one sick puppy!. This thing is obscenely great! God, do I love this pedal. Thank you SO bloody much for the Tone Machine! I just KNEW it was gonna be huge!"

I received the Wolf Tone Machine .... it is utterly amazing. Jaw dropping amazing! I was able to dial in those early Belew settings that I have always been seeking. This thing replicates the Foxx dead on! I can't really can't thank you enough.

Due to the incredible amount of detail in the WTMtm pedals, I can build only 2-3 of these pedals per month. Every one gets the attention to detail that you deserve.