• North Effects 22/7 Violet Ram review

    I’ve always been a fan of simplicity. As few knobs as possible, killer tone and no frills. While some companies seem to compete in making the most outrageous boutique pedals with more knobs than all your pedals combined, some go all old school and offer nothing but tone. North Effects is one of the latter with a wide range of clones all based on classic effects. Here’s my review of the 22/7 Violet Ram.

    The 22/7 Violet Ram is based on a mid 70s model Electro Harmonix Big Muff – the so-called “ram’s head” (after the ram logo image). The pedal is housed in a typically dull DYI kit box about the size of a MXR. It features heavy duty Neutrik jacks, Alpha pots and footswitch. It runs on either 9V Boss-style adapter or battery and feature true bypass switching.

    David Gilmour has since 1976 and the recording of Animals preferred the Ram’s Head Muff for his lead tones. The old Cornish boards featured slightly modified original mid 70s Muffs but he also used the now legendary Cornish P1 – a Muff said to have been cloned after one of David’s ram’s heads.

    The 22/7 Violet Ram has a distinct ram’s head-ish tone with a saturated aggressive gain, fat lows and scooped mids (very little mid range frequency). Ram’s Heads aren’t known for being silent but the 22/7 Ram has surprisingly little hiss and rumble. The pedal goes nicely with both low output vintage style single coils and EMG DG20s and if you prefer the heavier stuff it sounded quite deadly on a pair of Gibson Classic 57 buckers.

    I’m using a Fender CIJ ’62 reissue Telecaster with a custom Cream T Pickups SSL5 bridge pickup into North Effects 22/7 Violet Ram > ThroBak OD Boost > Boss RT20 and a Laney Cub12 15w stack. Reverb and delay is added in Logic.

    Although I’m a Triangle Muff fan my self (first Muff model from 1971) the Ram’s Head is a must for those Animals, David Gilmour 1978, The Wall and Final Cut tones. The 22/7 Violet Ram sounds almost identical to my original Electro Harmonix but a little brighter and slightly more aggressive than the BYOC Large Beaver. Perhaps a bit too bright for my taste but it depends on where you want to go. David’s Animals tones in particular can be quite spiky. It could do with a more pronounced attack though although this is easily fixed with a nice transparent booster like the ThroBak Overdriveboost. Another drawback is the fact that it doesn’t feature a led. Neither did the old Muffs but I expect that from a clone.

    The North Effects 22/7 Violet Ram isn’t your typical Delicate Sound of Thunder or PULSE Muff but highly recommended for David’s Animals and late 70s tones. A small footprint and a very reasonable price tag makes this an excellent choice for even the tightest budgets. Check out the North Effects store for more classic effects.

    The 22/7 Violet Ram was tested on two different Stratocasters, one with Fender CS69+Duncan SSL5 (bridge) pickups and one with EMG DG20 pickups, a Telecaster with custom Cream T Pickups SSL5 bridge pickup and two different amps, a Laney Cub12 15w stack and Reeves Custom 50w – both with Weber Thames 80w speakers.

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28 Responsesso far.

  1. Payam says:

    Great articles as always.Bjorn could you tell me what was your setting for the RT-20?

    [Thanks! Mode 1, Rise 12:00, effect 9:00, direct 12:00, balance 12:00, overdrive off, slow 1:00. – Bjorn]

  2. mouloudo says:

    nice, especially that crispy attack

  3. Hugo says:

    This sound really because I prefer the “triangle” I would like to buy the 22/ Triangle have you try it ?

    [I haven’t tried it yet but it seems that North Effects makes very accurate clones so I guess it sounds good. I also recommend the BYOC Large Beaver triangle. – Bjorn]

  4. Hugo says:

    Really good sorry

  5. Jake says:

    Indeed,
    is bright and wild, another great Ham´s Head option.
    The tone with the RT 20 is simply fantastic. what settings on the Boss Rt 20?
    Congrats

    [Mode 1, Rise 12:00, effect 9:00, direct 12:00, balance 12:00, overdrive off, slow 1:00 – Bjorn]

  6. Rob Spence says:

    Good job on reviews as usual, Bjorn. I especially appreciate when you demonstrate the “dry” tone of the product and then introduce the tone with effects! – Rob

    [Thanks! – Bjorn]

  7. Freddy says:

    On their website they have two Ram’s heads, one red and violet, are you using the red one?
    Regards Freddy

    [It’s the violet. – Bjorn]

  8. Patrik says:

    Interesting… Btw Bjorn: what about the “violet” muff or a a clone of it, have you tried one out? I was just browsing thru kitrae’s big muff site, and he (being closest to an expert when it comes to muffs?) claims that it is soundwise most gilmourish of all the early muffs… What’s your take? – you being, of course, the ultimate gilmour expert ;)

    quick link for the interested: http://www.kitrae.net/music/David_Gilmour_Big_Muff.html

    [Ha ha… well, Kit is definitely the Muff expert… the pedal that is :). Anyway, there’s been some confusion about this review. I’ve actually reviewed the Violet. I guess it’s the closest match for David’s tone. It has a bit more gain and saturation than the early reds. I also recommend the MJM Foxey Fuzz, which is very close to the P1. – Bjorn]

  9. David says:

    Great review as always.
    A quick semi-related question. I notice that your overdrive pedals are often set for a volume boost as well as a “dirt” pedal. Is your clean tone much quieter than your drive tones?

    [Depends on what tones you want. When I use a booster with a Muff the booster is set clean. If it’s a dedicated overdrive then the gain is increased for the needed tone. An overdrive setting will be more noisy than a clean settings… distortion is noise, so that’s just the nature of it. However, the level of noise depends on lots of factors like the quality of the pedal, your cables, the pickups, amp, other pedals you combine the overdrive with, how much gain you use, electric interferance etc etc …. – Bjorn]

  10. Jake says:

    Thank you for sharing the RT 20 settings , you catch the Yamaha RA 200 ressonance very well . the sound is very pleasantly liquidy. Usually I get this ressonance only with the direct level at 10:00. but it undermines the original signal. I think the secret is your tube amp. For example, in his video “David Gilmour – So Far Away,” you seem to use the same settings in RT -20, but this seems less liquid, it was because of the solid state marshall?

    [I used the same settings for both but the RAT that I used in the So Far Away clip has more mids so the RT20 will sound a tad warmer. Also – this new clip was recorded with a microphone close to the cabinet while So Far Away was recorded with the internal mic on the iMac, so the sound isn’t that defined and easy to hear. – Bjorn]

  11. David says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Sorry I didn’t explain myself very well above! What I meant, is your clean tone on stage as loud (or close to as loud) as your muff or overdriven volume? Or do you set your muffs to boost both gain (distortion) and overall output volume so it is louder too?

    From looking at your settings (OCD for example) in my rig setting it like that would boost the volume considerably and this prevent me from playing clean and (as loud) as my overdriven signal.

    Thanks,
    David :)

    [Ok :) I’m rarely using just a clean tone. I often either use a compressor, which is slightly boosted, or a clean booster like the Colorsound Powerboost. It’s not so much for volume but for a bit more bite and character in the clean tone. You always want a slight volume boost for the solos so adding a Muff on top of the already boosted clean tone give you enough volume increase. It’s a fine balance though. You don’t want to go from an OK volume to ear pinching so you need to adjust the pedals according to your amp. The tone and volume you get from the amp should always be the basis for all your tones and boosters, overdrives and distortions needs to be set to match or for a slight boost. Some gain pedals have a high output while others are quite low. Keep in mind that unity level isn’t 50% or 12:00 on a pedal as a rule… you always need to find the individual sweetspot :) – Bjorn]

  12. João Francisco says:

    Hi!

    I’m very curious about this pedals!

    I went to the site and they’ve a great stock of different muffs: triangle, ram’s head, civil war and the violet (that you you showed us here)!

    Another good thing I liked was the “no paint theory” and the simplicity of the knobs. That’s the way I like to work live!

    The stuff used inside is fairy good.

    The price is fair and give us more sound quality than many others out there!

    I’m getting an urge to buy one! Thank you!

    [The red and violet Ram’s Heads are very similar. The violet has a bit more gain and less mids. All four models goes very well for all of David’s Muff tones. – Bjorn]

  13. Ernest says:

    Bjorn, another question about the RT-20.
    Does it alter the guitar signal when the effect is low within the mix (setting the mix control low)? Or is the signal converted; like AD / DA?

    [I’m no expert on the technical specs but the RT20, like most Boss pedals with their buffers, does make the signal a tad brighter. I know people disagree whether this is good or bad or natural or not but if your pedal board mostly consists of true bypass pedals and vintage stuff you will notice a slight alteration when the pedal is both on and off. Don’t know about the AD/DA conversion though and I don’t care much about that either. Either a pedal sound good or it doesn’t. I think the RT20 can best be described as a very deep sounding chorus closer to the Yamaha rotating speakers than a classic Leslie, which is much more defined. The Strymon Lex is more a Leslie sim. The RT20 is great in that it feature a mix knob, which makes it easy to dial in transparent tones that aren’t too dominating. It can be a tad too shimmery on cleans but it sounds amazing on overdrives and distortions especially. – Bjorn]

  14. Micha says:

    Hello Björn
    I believe the great authentic tone you nail for this “Dogs” excerpt is achieved by the RT-20 (among delay and reverb, which have no “tone” themselves basically).

    I have a Boss GT-Pro modeller….surely a kind of wonder-box, but it does not really allow to combine it with a chain of classic pedals in front or behind it….sometimes I miss such an old school classic pedal train.
    Nevertheless I would try the RT-20 to be added to my sound…..so I wonder wether you can tell if the RT-20 is suitable to be put into a loop? My GT-Pro has a stereo loop send and stereo loop return. Within the virtual effect chain I can set the Loop whereever I want…so in this case best in front of my virtual pre-amp/amp-simulation, or behind it along with reverb and delay in the end?

    Also the GT-Pro has a fixed “pre-loop” which is in fact a fixed “first in chain in front of the GT-Pro in total ” loop…but it is only mono. Question: does the magic of the RT-20 only show up in stereo usage?

    Thank you
    Micha, Germany

    [I use the RT20 in mono straight into my amp placed in front of delays (and reverb). It depends on what tones you want. I have a principle that a guitar should be in mono and the RT20 works great for that but you can either place it in stereo if you want or in mono with stereo delay and reverb. – Bjorn]

  15. martin says:

    Just got my violet the other day for my birthday (after dropping lots of hints) all on the back of your demo. I’ve paired it with a Monte Allums modded TS808 and it is fantastic. Worth mentioning that they must have recently upgraded them as mine had a LED. On a different subject, I have also been looking at a Laney Cub 12r and am very impressed. Have you tried out the Hiwatt T20? I’d love to see you demo that.
    Cheers
    Martin

    [Happy birthday! I haven’t had the chance to try the T20 so I can’t really tell. The Laney Cub is a great Hiwatt-ish amp and especially great for playing at home. – Bjorn]

  16. Brandon says:

    hey, just wondering if to get a tone similar to the sound you got on the second solo with the effects, would a phase 90 or and electric mistress work better?

    [A Mistress would be very similar. A chorus would also work but a phaser sound very different and wouldn’t suit these lead tones. – Bjorn]

  17. Pinus says:

    What do you think about Stomp Under Foot VHR vs this Violet clone? Which is the best? :)

    [I’ve only tried the SUF ’73 and didn’t like it but I’ve only heard positive things about their VHR. – Bjorn]

  18. Joseph Cohen says:

    The tone in your clip is really nice; I see you are using a small 15W stack and and getting a nice sound out of this pedal. Do you think this pedal goes well with smaller setups, or do you have to be cranking the amp to really get the most out of it? I’m playing through a Peavey Classic 30.

    [Thanks! Well, as you say yourself, I’m using a 15w and it sounds pretty decent :) The Classic 30 is a great amp and handles Big Muffs very well. Keep in mind though that a Muff really needs a transparent booster behind it for you to get that smooth warm tone. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  19. Joseph Cohen says:

    Thanks for the tips Bjorn. :)

    I recently bought a BD-2 with a Monte Allum mod… I’ve been mainly using it so far as a clean boost for either my fuzz or for my cheap Boss DS-1 which I’m looking to replace with a nice distortion unit. I might look into either a vintage style Big Muff or this Violet Ram if you think my amp can handle it.

    Do you have a donate button or anything, or should I buy some Airbag CD’s to chip in? :)

    [Check out the Musket and Pig Hoof Muffs that I’ve recently reviewed as well :) The Musket is an incredibly versatile Muff. There is a donate button on the front page but I’d be very grateful if you’d care to support Airbag. We’re releasing our second album in October. Thanks! – Bjorn]

  20. JAIME says:

    Hello Bjorn:

    We all appreciate your work, you make our passion more easy.

    I know this is a difficult question for several reasons, you prefer the triangle muff, everyone has a different tastes, the muff ram’s head are triangles muff with other values, etc.

    With all these; you did a nice review on the North effects, but you did it too with the electronic orange pig hoof, you recommended the mjm foxey fuzz above, and so many other pedals that you review or qe can see on the market…

    For YOU, at your own tastes and ears, with your setups (reeves and laney), and with all your possible comparisons with differents muff… Wish is the best P1 (Violet Ram’s head Muff) clone you ever try?

    PS: Having in mind the sound of The Wall

    Again thanks man

    [A difficult question indeed :) The Pig Hoof has been on my board for the past 3-4 months so right now that’s my favourite Muff and ram’s head model. For me, a Muff has to be mild and warm but not too dark. I want the sustain but not a gain stage that’s hard to control. It depends on what tones you need too. The triangle seems to fit the Wall and Fincal Cut stuff but gets a bit too mild for Animals and Dark Side (if you want to replicate the fuzz tones with a Muff). The Sovtek models with lots of gain and mid range is perfect for Delicate and PULSE. In this case the triangle can sound a bit dull and the ram’s head a bit too bright. The MJM Foxey Fuzz is a great violet model but it has a bit too much gain for my taste. The North Effects has a nice mix of warmth and gain, so it seems to work better for David’s tones. I’m very impressed with the Pig Hoof though. Very well balanced and silent. – Bjorn]

  21. JAIME says:

    Thank you very much Bjorn:

    We know that was a difficult question in did, but you felt honest and you are doing your best to answer it.

    A doubt, I understood that mjm has your musical style a bit more gain, but what would the difference between the pig hoof and north effects? or , Why do you like pig hoof north over effects?

    [There are huge differences within the Muff family. Although all of these are Muffs and sound fairly similar, one pedal is very different to the next. The North has a bright tone and it’s light in the lower frequencies. The Pig Hoof has a warmer tone, a more pronounced attack and more bass. I think the clips I did on each describes the pedals very well. The North is noticeably brighter than the Hoof. Both pedals goes well for David’s tones so it’s more a matter for chosing the one that fits your guitar and amp. Dark amp and humbuckers or high output pickups – North. Bright amp and low output pickups – Pig Hoof…. that’s my tip. – Bjorn]

  22. Cory says:

    Great review. I actually just got a deal on a 22/7 Red Ram pedal (non-LED model). Haven’t had a chance to test it out yet, but apparently, it is a precise clone of the ’73 Ram’s Head (which is the model Gilmour used until Division Bell, when he switched to a Sovtek).

    Can’t wait to plug it in.

    I am a fan of the Momentary Lapse of Reason tone, esp. from songs like Turning Away, Yet Another Movie, Terminal Frost, and Sorrow. I also like the Wall tones, esp. Comfortably Numb (how cliche, right?)

    Do you think the Red model would more accurately obtain those tones than the Violet model, for instance? Would you recommend adding anything, like a slight mid-boost EQ or a clean or slightly dirty OD boost?

    Thanks.

    [Both models will be fine. How they ultimately sound depends on your guitar and its pickups, the amp and what pedals you combine it with. – Bjorn]

  23. Danish Mahmood says:

    Hey Bjorn. I was just curious if this is a good pedal for the On an Island (live) tones. Which pedal will accomplish these tones better: BYOC Large Beaver or North Effects 22/7 Violet Ram? Thanks

    [Depends very much on your guitar/pickups, amp and what other pedals you use. Both will work fine although the BYOC is a tad warmer. I also recommend the excellent Electronic Orange Pig Hoof. – Bjorn]

  24. Danish Mahmood says:

    Thanks. One more question: Which clone is best for Delicate Sound of Thunder tones?

    [The Musket, I guess. – Bjorn]

  25. Fred Tafuri says:

    Hello Bjorn

    Congratulations for the great site!

    Could you help me choose a Muff ? I need to buy a model that reproduces the sounds of the era Animals and The Wall, I’ll buy a replica of a Colorsound + RT-20, then buy delay and flanger. My guitar is a Fender American Standard 98 with Custom Shop 54 pickups, and my amp is a Egnater Tweaker 40. What Muff you advise me? thank you !!!

    [You could pretty much choose any model. My favourites are the BYOC Large Beaver and the Electronic Orange Pig Hoof. – Bjorn]

  26. Fred Tafuri says:

    Thank you for answering Bjorn. Do you think the Custom Shop 54 would do well with Violet by North?

    [Yep :) – Bjorn]

  27. Brad says:

    Hello Bjorn! I just ordered the violet rams head :) Im pretty excited! I have the DG-1 and it is VERY nice sounding but indeed, like you said is hard to get the animals, wall, and final cut tones with. Its possible to get the sound, but I think this Rams Head is going to be exactyly what I needed. I am going to still use the DG-1 though. Most likely have it set up for dry solos and rythms, and have the Violet set up for my flanger! btw you might not remember but I took your advice on getting the Blues Jr. it is plenty loud enough for me in my band and it sounds very nice :) thank you very much for all you help me with! btw, one question, you said the violet is a quiet muff, compared to the DG-1, how quiet is it? Thank you very much!

    Brad

    [Glad it worked out for you Brad! Both pedals are pretty quiet but the level of noise mostly depends on the amount of gain and since the DG1 has more gain it’s more noisy. – Bjorn]

  28. Hunter says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I have a Colorsound Overdriver and I play through a Fender Tweed Blues Jr. Would the North Effects Ram’s Head be a good choice for me? I believe it would be. I do love that aggressive sound that David gets in his 70’s – Present tones although I also own an AA Green Russian, should I feel like venturing into 80’s & 90’s Floyd. This seems to be the best option for accuracy and price seeing as how hard it is to find an accurate Violet Ram’s Head clone. I think only like 3? companies make them. Anyway, great review!

    Thanks for your help!
    -Hunter

    [I think either the MJM Foxey Fuzz or, my favourite, the Electronic Orange Pig Hoof would be closer to the typical violet RH. Both have a bit more gain and lower end compared to the NE. – Bjorn]

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