It seems that the early 90s Sovtek Big Muff at last has gotten its long awaited renaissance. More and more clones are appearing and a new generation of guitarists gets the chance to discover this beast. Mojo Hand has tackled the mighty Civil War Sovtek and the Colossus promise to deliver all the classic tones and more. Hereâ€™s my review.
The Colossus is housed in a rugged MXR-sized enclosure with one of the coolest finishes Iâ€™ve seen in a long time. True bypass switching, a tidy circuit and power feed from either 9V battery or Boss-style 9V adapter. Like the old Sovtek, there are controls for volume, gain and tone but the Colossus has two additional weapons up its sleeve â€“ the mids booster and a mini toggle allowing three different tone modes.
Rolled all the way down, the mids control produce what appears to be a flat mid response, much similar to the Civil War. Perhaps even closer to the older Ramâ€™s Head. Rolling it all the way up produce a considerable mid boost allowing your solos to cut through the band mix like a knife. Personally, I keep it around noon, which is slightly beyond a typical Sovtek tone.
Setting the mini toggle switch in the top position slightly cuts the bass which works really well for cleaning up the tone when using humbuckers. The middle position produces a mild mid boost and a bit more presence when you roll the mid control beyond noon. The down position boosts the low mid range, which is ideal for single coils and home setups.
The Colossus is not a straight clone of the Civil War, so if youâ€™re a purist you might want to track down an original off Ebay. However, you will appreciate the wild temper of the Russian tank. The Colossus lives up to its name with a huge and fat character and rich sustain. Whether youâ€™re looking for Gilmourâ€™s silky smooth PULSE tones or Iommiâ€™s thunderous wall of sound, the Colossus will deliver.
Like most Big Muffs, the Colossus needs a loud tube stack for it to open up and reveal all its nuances. However, if youâ€™re bedroom player with a smaller setup, youâ€™ll appreciate the additional tone shaping features and the mid range boost in particular. With a Strat, roll the mid boost all the way up and flick the toggle switch in the down position for a smooth, fat tone even on the lowest volume levels. The YouTube clip was recorded at a volume that even your neighbours can tolerate.
So, as you can understand â€“ I really love this pedal and highly recommend it! The Colossus reminds me of why I fell in love with Big Muffs so many years ago and why the Sovteks always will be my favourites. Check out MojoHand.com for more details.
The Colossus was tested for both stage (Strat with Reeves Custom 50 tube amp) and home (Strat with Laney CUB12 tube amp) setups with David Gilmourâ€™s tones in mind. See the YouTube clip for more details on the recording setup.