• Buffalo-FX Evolution review

    Buffalo FX Evolution review

    I’ll be the first to admit it. Whenever Buffalo FX announces a new pedal I await with great anticipation – and great expectations. The last one in their rooster, The Evolution, is inspired by some of my all time favourite pedals and tones. Naturally, I had to check this one out. Here’s my review.

    The Evolution is a four stage overdrive. Although an overdrive can be anything from a clean booster to near fuzz the Evolution is really a distortion. At least to my ears. Based on the Cornish G2, this one’s got that unmistakable Marshall flavour, somewhere between a RAT and ram’s head Big Muff played with humbuckers.

    The Evolution is housed in a TRex sized chassis, with a bright led, true bypass switching running on 9V battery or adapter. Controls are gain, tone, volume and contour. Apart from the familiar ones, the contour allows you to fine tune the tone response and mid range sweep.

    My first impression is that the Evolution is, like all Buffalo pedals, a tad darker than what you expect. That is part of the reason why I like their pedals but you should be aware that this is not an overly aggressive pedal, like the DS1 or nastier sounding fuzz. Still, the pedal has plenty of gain on tap allowing a wide range of tones from mild amp-like overdrive to sweet singing distortion.

    My problem with classic distortions like the RAT, DS1 etc is that they tend to get way too wild and harsh sounding when you crank the gain. Not to mention noisy. The Evolution is tweaked for a more linear gain character. This means that even if you crank it all the way up, volume and gain, the tone stays intact and the frequencies nicely balanced. It still sounds huge but tamed and with very little noise.

    In recent years I’ve relied less on Big Muffs and more on classic distortions. Most of my lead tones are a combination of a Tube Driver set fairly aggressive and a mild overdrive for boost. This produce a JCM kind of tone, with emphasis on sustain rather than gain. The Evolution works perfectly for this application, with a mild gain setting and the contour control adjusted for a clear presence without getting boxy, like a TS9 often does.

    Make no mistake though. This pedal stands very well on its own and can nail most of David Gilmour’s lead tones throughout the decades. With the gain between 50-75% it sounds very much like a G2 covering David’s Live 8 and Gdansk tones. Turning the gain all the way up and the contour around 75% takes the pedal into Muff territory producing a roaring fuzz, with fat lows. Roll the gain and contour back and you’ll have a smooth Tube Driver-ish tone perfect for PULSE.

    It’s really not fair to do straight comparisons with other similar pedals but I know you’re gonna ask so here goes. Of all the Cornish pedals, I’ve always liked the G2 the most. It’s really unique compared to most other gain pedals. However, my problem with it is that it’s a tad too overwhelming and harsh at high gain settings. It also lack some low end to my ears. The Evolution is perfectly balanced between top, middle and lows and it can handle full gain, without getting harsh or bleeding all over the place.

    The DG2 has long been a favourite of mine and I still prefer it over the G2. However, like the G2 it can be a bit bright at high gain settings. Again, the Evolution stays warm and smooth all the way through and like those old Marshalls, the attack gets more compressed the more you crank the gain and tone. I also think it does milder overdrive far better than both of the G2 and DG2.

    The Evolution is perhaps not what you’re looking for if you want authentic fuzz or Muff. However, for timeless overdrive and distortion tones that sound equally good on stage and bedroom setups and all types of guitars and amps, then look no further. Buffalo FX has once again managed to take a familiar design and make something new. The Evolution is a damn fine pedal and probably the most versatile overdrive/distortion out there. See www.buffalo-FX.com for more details.

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92 Responsesso far.

  1. Gabor says:

    Great review Bjorn,
    Having the second piece from the batch I have tried it with the same results. The big question what to do with my favourite TopTone DG2, after this new experince..
    Cheers:Gabor

    [Tough question :) – Bjorn]

  2. David says:

    hi Bjorn how are you? the other day i “finished” my electronics course and i thought that i could make a north effects 22/7 violet ram’s head. but before i start my project i wanted to know, with the proper settings, will it be able to handle nicely the Animals, The Wall, DG ’78 and The Final Cut period? from what i read from your review it does but i wanted your true opinion now, after you tested all those great ram’s head clones such as the large beaver, the P19 or the buffalo ram’s head. if it does i’ll get the components right away!
    Cheers!

    [It depends on your amp and guitar and how well they go with Big Muffs. The 22/7 nails those tones perfectly. All ram’s heads does that really and bewteen all the ones I’ve reviewed there are only small nuances between them. – Bjorn]

  3. Markus Klein says:

    Great review as always! You’ve made me purchase a lot of equipment this last year but this one is gonna have to wait a while since I just got my G2 about a month ago.

    To get to the point, you mentioned that most of your lead tones are a combination of a Tube Driver set fairly aggressive and a mild overdrive for boost. Can you give me some examples on how you set this up, order of effects and setting. Would you combine the tube Driver with a power-booster, Boss BD-2 compressors or what?

    thank you for a great website and your great tone!

    /Markus

    [Hi Markus. The Tube Driver is my main gain unit. The only time I don’t use it is when I need something purely clean or when I’m usinga Muff, which is always paired with a Powerbooster. The Tube Driver is used for rhythms, riffing and the more mellow leads. I sometimes kick in the Powerbooster, which is set all clean, if I need a bit more balls. For distortion leads, I add an overdrive. I’ve used several over the years, like OD808, DG2, BD2 and recently the Wampler PlexiDrive and Evolution. The Tube Driver is usually set with all controls at 2:00 and the gain around noon. The overdrive is placed in front of the Tube Driver and set for a boost with just a hint of gain. The settings depends on the pedal. This is not something I recommend for David’s tones, although I’d had no problem playing songs like Comf Numb, Sorrow, On the Turning Away etc. It’s more a Marshall type of tone with lots of mids and compression. Having the booster in front of the TD is kind of like placing a TS9 in front of a cranked Marshall. You don’t really get more gain or volume but it adds to the sustain and harmonics in the tone. – Bjorn]

  4. pete says:

    OH MAN!!! Another pedal that sounds great!! Now I have to choose between this and the new TC Electronic Alter Ego X4. (Which looks like it will be amazing!!)

    [When in doubt, get both :) – Bjorn]

  5. Bern Merchant says:

    Thanks Bjorn! I was waiting on this pedal and it’s great to see your review – very well done. I had assumed you’d be doing one!

    [Cheers! – Bjorn]

  6. Mike says:

    What would you go with if you wanted most of the gilmour ranges of overdrive/distortion: the buffalo fx patriot, lovepedal Dover drive, or buffalo fx evolution? Thanks

    [Evolution. The Dover is awesome but but the Evolution sounds more open and much more dynamic. The Patriot is a Big Muff and doesn’t do overdrive that well. – Bjorn]

  7. Luis says:

    Quick comparison to the Mojo Hand Iron Bell?

    [Two very different pedals I think. The Iron Bell is a Muff, while the Evolution is very close to a RAT. More mids and a more amp-like tone. – Bjorn]

  8. Huy Tran says:

    Been waiting for this pedal and this review for a while now. Really interesting review. I asked in another page on what your thoughts would be between this and the dg2 when you get your hands on the evolution.

    I think i’ll get the evolution as the contour control greatly interests me. I also like tweaking stuff.

    WIll you do a review on the EHX Deluxe Big Muff? Looks like one hell of a pedal.

    [I hope to do a review of the new Muff :) The strength of the Evolution is both the contour control and the fact that you can crank the gain without the pedal bleeding all over the place. It stays nicely focused. – Bjorn]

  9. Barry says:

    New to your site but 8’m finding it very enjoyable. I watched your excellent review of the new Buffalo at 3am this morning while baby wouldn’t sleep. Excellent.
    But my question is, what’s the music you use to introduce the reviews? Is it one of your tracks.

    Kind regards,

    Barry

    [Hi Barry! Thanks for your kind words :) The clip is just a short snippet I recorded for these reviews. – Bjorn]

  10. KEITH says:

    Dear Bjorn, I absolutely love the Evolution. It is the Bridge to getting those JCM Slash tones when I want, and does as you say, cover early, and late Gilmour tones very well. However there are two things I’d like to say, first, I can’t find a price, as it’s not on the Buffalo site, and secondly, and I’m speaking for a few people I stay in contact with,
    WE MISS YOUR OLD CLIP FORMAT THAT SHOWS YOU PLAYING!!!
    Also, something seems to be missing. I know you are super, SUPER busy, and likely don’t have as much time for reviews as you did, but while I can’t put my finger on it, there was something about your older clips, that seems lacking, and it’s definitely NOT your playing, which is as always top notch. The constuctive critique stops there, and I want this pedal!
    Thanks for all you do, Keith

    [Something missing? What the hell do you mean by that? Here I am busting my balls… Just kidding :) Thanks for your comment, Keith. As alaways :) I am busy and I wish I had more time making better reviews. Some prefer them this way while I also get many requests for the old format with me playing. These clips has always been a supplement for the written review but I hope to be able to do more filming… Anyway, this is truly one of the better sounding pedals I’ve played in a looooong time. Last night I plugget it into my LP and just fooled around with ZZ Top, Peter Green, Sabbath, Kiss, Satriani… lots of different stuff and genres and it nails it all. Highly recommended! Oh, the price isn’t announced yet I think. The pedal will be released later this month. – Bjorn]

  11. David says:

    One question, does the pedal clean up well when you roll your guitar volume down?

    [On low output pickups, yes. – Bjorn]

  12. Huy Tran says:

    Gotta agree with the postecutioner. I much much prefer to see you playing. You got some serious swagger man. Need to show that off to the world. Plus I learn so much watching you play.

    For someone who has a rams head muff, a td, box of war and powerbooster on my Gilmour board, do you think I should get the Evolution or the Helios Fuzz? Usually I’d just get both but I got a wedding coming up and it’s expensive. I am leaning more towards the Helios because it is effectrode and it looks nice and sounds amazing, but the Evolution seems to cover more stuff.

    [The Evolution is definitely a more verstaile pedal than thje Helios. You should also be aware that the Helios isn’t your average fuzz pedal but rather something quite unique. There are tones it can’t do but it’s an awesome pedal nevertheless. The Helios might be a better compliment to what you already have but the Evolution will definitely fit in there as well. Hard to choose. Good luck with the upcoming wedding :) – Bjorn]

  13. Debargho says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I know comparisons are sometimes unfair but for most of us who do not have the luxury of testing out these pedals at our local music store, comparisons become almost un-avoidable.
    My question is: how does this pedal fare against the 1) Patriot 2) Musket 3) iron Bell 4) earthquakes Hoof when comparing: 1) Authentic Gilmour tones 2) Versatality 3) noise levels at low volumes 4) compatibility with boosters. Of all the listed pedals, which one in your experience, shall you suggest, for producing the most authentic Gilmour tones, relatively and for being the most versatile?

    [Ultimately it comes down to which pedal fits your amp, guitar and playing the most. Doesn’t matter which I think is the best if it sounds like crap on your amp. The Evolution can best be described as a RAT, with a warmer and more dynamic tone. The ones you’ve listed are all Big Muffs, so there’s your comparison. The Evolution and RAT are far more versatile than the Big Muff because they 1. works nicely on almost any amp and guitar and 2. they’ll cover a much wider range of styles and tones. If I’d choose only one, I’d go for the Evolution (or RAT) because they will never fail to give you the tones you need. A Muff might be more exciting and, in for some songs, more authentic, but it is a moody and tricky pedal to use. – Bjorn]

  14. KEITH says:

    You had me going for a second, I thought you were serious, and that I’d really pissed you off. Good one!!! Got my Focusrite 18i20 interface, now to really get a pro recording, I just need a little room treatment, and a really good,( Budget), Vocal condenser mic. Unless someone has a better choice, I think I’m gonna go for a Rodes NT1, it’s got super low self noise, 4.5 Dba, and for around $250-$300 you can get it modded to be very close to the Neumann U-87, which costs about 3 grand. I also like the idea of their NT2A, which has omni, cardoid, and figure 8 pattern switch, and hi and low cut, and a -10db pad. It’s not quite as quiet as the NT1, but would be great for a set back room mic for guitar, great fir acoustic guitar, or drum overhead. At 7 Dba of self noise, it’s still extremely quiet, and I can get it for about $350, the unmodded NT1 is about $230? And as I mentioned, for $250-$300, it can be modded very close to a U-87 or at least that’s what I’ve read on some very good sites, like sound on sound. Anyone have experience with these mics? Bjorn? How about the 18i20?

    Ready to start tracking this weekend, first project? The V2 “Dogs dry solo!” That will finally prove my point about this incredible Violet Ram’s Head clone Stu Castldine designed with an ear towards DGs #1 Cornish modded VRH Muff. He got very close, I think he was born with zpectum anylizers for ears!!!
    Peace, Keith, ( The Wordy One! ) HaHa!

    [Just pulling your leg, Keith :) The NT1 is a very good sounding mic and a nice budget alternative to the U87. I’ve used both and with the proper interface, compressor and tracking, there isn’t much of a difference. – Bjorn]

  15. KEITH says:

    Dear Bjorn, with nothing but the greatest respect, ince you get a break from “Busting your ass! hehe.”, could you get your webmaster to make it possible to edit a post? No matter how well I spell, anx how many times I read before sending, I always end up with a dozen typos! I guess a new phone,or actually using my PC would eliminate this issue, but I hate to put an extra bit on my DAW computer, so I don’t use it for forums!

    Peace, KC!!!!

    [Well, I’m the webmaster so I’ll see what I can do… :) I’m sure there’s a plug-in for WP that does something like that. – Bjorn]

  16. Joshj says:

    Wait…the music you use at the begining of all your clips isnt a gilmour/pink floyd song??

    [Ha ha, no :) – Bjorn]

  17. ed says:

    When you recorded the sound clip for the evolution was any other pedals used inline.If that was stand alone that thing sounds awesome.

    [That’s just the Evolution. No other pedals, EQ or compression added, apart from a hint of delay and reverb in the mix using Logic. – Bjorn]

  18. Joshj says:

    Wow, thats blowing my mind!!

  19. ed says:

    Thanks in your opinion what off the shelf delay pedal would you think would work best with the evolution inline if one couldn’t get the boss DD2?

    [TC Flashback? – Bjorn]

  20. KEITH says:

    I agree Josh, I’ve lost GAS for pedals, and thought I had everything I need for any sound I wanted, and started soending mad cash in studio gear, and starting with nothing, just yesterday got the studio up abd running. However, always having played through Marshall amps, my favorite being the 1 of 3000 JCM Slash 1996 Modded RI of the iconic Jubilee head , I was teally missing that sound with my Reeves, but after hearing the smooth, warm compressed distotion of the EVO at full gain, I think I’d get very close to those Slash model tones with the Evolution, and a cabinet full of greenbacks! Just waiting to see what it cost,( very afraid about that!).

    Peace, Keith with that Gassy feeling again!

  21. KEITH says:

    Not to mention the cost of a cabinet full of Greenbacks!!! LOL The never ending money pit, my bedroom!

  22. ed goncalves says:

    hey bjorn im possibly considering this pedal. I’m in no rush to buy it just yet because I have a jam pedals rattler. Do you think it would be redundant to buy the evolution since I already have the rattler? Thanks!

    [They are very similar but I don’t think the RAT or Rattler does overdrive as well as the Evolution. I love the RAT but IMO the Evolution is a more versatile pedal. Still, if you’re looking for something very different, then the Evolution might be a bit redundant. – Bjorn]

  23. Cem says:

    Hello Bjorn,
    Great review as always! I’ve ordered one today, and I’m really excited too. Can the Evolution give me the Big Muff tones from Delicate and Gdansk?
    Thanks!

    [It’s not a Muff but as you can hear from the clip it can get very close :) David used the G2 a lot for Muff-ish tones during the 2006 tour. – Bjorn]

  24. Ian Knim says:

    Hello Bjorn! Great demo, thanks. Have you also tested this pedal with “traditional” single coil pick-ups? The active pickups, like de EMG’s ones, often mask the undesirable background noises (such as hums and hisses) that may stand out too much when we’re using distortion pedals … Did you have the opportunity for testing the latest EHX Deluxe BigMuff Pi (which has a “noise gate ” type of “extra resource”)? Thanks for your awesome work Dude!

    [The clip is performed with passive single coils, late 60s models. The pedal it self is very quiet but any pedal with this amount of gain will create some noise when its turned on. It’s just the nature of the pedal. Distortion is noise. I haven’t tried the new Muff yet but noise gates in general can be very handy but if used wrong they can also kill the tone completely. – Bjorn]

  25. David says:

    Hi Bjorn – how much of an overlap do you hear between your OCD and the evolution? I’m wondering if the evolution could push my OCD and alpha dog off my board.

    [It’s somewhat similar to the OCD but I think they work nicely alongside one another rather than overlap. You can get some nice overdrive tones with the Evo but it’s really a traditional distortion. The OCD can be tweaked for aggressive distortion too but it has much more mid range and a wider range of overdrive tones. – Bjorn]

  26. sebastien says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    Just would like to know what kind of Carbon Zinc batteries you’re using for your vintage effects (fuzzes, big muffs, etc etc…):

    Rayovacs?
    Eveready “Super Heavy Duty”?
    Panasonic?

    These are the only ones i was able to find (via ebay sellers from the US mainly).

    Regards,
    sebastien

    [Mostly Panasonic or GP Supercell (grey ones). I’ve also used GoLite and HW, which were good. I don’t pay it much attention anymore but I used to compare batteries for my Colorsound and germanium fuzz pedals. The GP and HW sounded a tad warmer, while others offered a bit more balls. Very subtle nuances but if you’re into this stuff it’s fun tracking down some hard to get brands :) – Bjorn]

  27. Bern Merchant says:

    Hi Bjorn. Just a couple of questions about the Evolution please, as I keep considering it.

    Right now I have a BC183 Sun Face, and while it’s a great pedal, I’ve been thinking for a while about selling it and getting a BC109 Sun Face or maybe even a Skreddy BC109, basically because I think I really want something with more ‘bite’, a bit more aggressive. I have DSoTM tones in mind as I write this. How would you compare the Evolution when set up for fuzz, with a BC109?

    My other question is almost the opposite. Can you describe a bit more what the Evolution is like when set for low gain? Does it sound ‘open’? Can you compare it any other pedals to help me get a better idea? I ask this because I’m wondering if I get it if it might replace an OD that I’m using for low gain stuff.

    I’m really intrigued by the versatility of this pedal … Thanks for taking the time to answer – your review is the only one I’ve found so far!

    [Hi Bern! I don’t think you can compare the Evo with a BC fuzz. The fuzz is much more aggressive, less dynamic and doesn’t clean up that well with the guitar volume. The Evo is a very smooth and well behaved distortion. Much like the RAT but a bit more tamed and less boxy. So, in response to your first question, I’d say that you should get both a fuzz and the Evo… if that’s where you’re going. In regards to OD tones, the Evo can be tweaked to sound very similar to a TS9/OD808, although it has less mid range, making it sound more open, with a bit more defined attack. – Bjorn]

  28. sebastien says:

    Thanks for your answer about the Carbon Zinc batteries.
    I can find the panasonics on ebay from Uk retailers. Are they the Blue ones (“General purpose”)or Red Ones (“fro low power products”)? AND is this one the GP Supercell you are refering to ( Grey Super Heavy Duty 6F22)?:

    http://www.amazon.fr/service-1604s-batterie-capacit%C5%A1%C5%A0-t%C5%A1%C5%A0l%C5%A1%C5%A0phone/dp/B00KFFY3FS/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1403959274&sr=8-4&keywords=gp+batteries+9v

    Thank you and best regards!
    Sebastien

    [Sorry for my late reply… I’ve used the red Panasonic. Don’t know if there is a noticeable difference. That’s the grey GP I’ve been using. – Bjorn]

  29. Cem says:

    Hi Bjorn
    I just got my Evolution today and tried it with my strat with Fat 50 pickups installed in all positions. I was really excited after listening to your clip, but when I tried it sounded a bit harsh and thin. When I tried it with my Ibanez, it came alive. Which pickups did you record the clip with, and what do you think could be the problem?
    Lionheart amp settings: LO input, bass- 5, middle- 4, treble- 4, tone- 5 (I tried it with these settings)
    Thanks!

    [The clips are recorded with 69s neck and middle and SSL5 bridge. The Fat50s should be a perfect match. Try these settings on your Lionheart: Hi input, bright mode, bass 3.5-4, middle 7, treble 3, tone 7. These settings require a bit of volume to get the speakers working. On low volume it may sound a bit thin and bright. I used these settings on my Lionheart L20 while testing the Evo and it sounded great. You might need to adjust both the amp and pedal to match your guitar, the room etc. – Bjorn]

  30. Brad Roller says:

    Between the evolution and dg2 which pedal nails David’s live G-2 tones? I have the dg2 and it sounds good but if I could get an even better tone well I’d get the evolution. Thanks!

    [As I said in the review, they’re very similar and based on the same tones but personally I think the Evolution sounds better. – Bjorn]

  31. Ian says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I received my Evolution earlier this week, having ordered it directly from Steve at Buffalo FX. Finally, I can achieve the smooth Gilmour-type tones I have been chasing for so long with Big Muffs!! The problem I have with Muff-type pedals is getting the tone control set just right – too low and it gets a bit too muddy, too high and its a bit too gritty/ raspy. Finding that sweet spot is tricky and I’ve never properly managed it.

    Enter the Evolution! It’s just perfectly smooth wherever I set the tone control. Some may find it too smooth, but for me, it’s the sound I’ve had in my head for ages. It doesn’t seem to have the overall output level of a big muff but is certainly still loud enough. The harmonics it adds to notes are fabulous – I had a lot of fun just sustaining single notes and listening to the harmonics ring out – lovely!

    Thank you for putting us on to Buffalo FX Bjorn – Steve seems to be a really great builder and I’ve had some very honest responses from him regarding some of his other pedals and how they compare to what I have. Although he didn’t think that his Power Booster would be too different to my Colorsound Overdriver clone, based on the tones I’m getting from the Evolution, I think I’m gonna have to save up for one anyway!

    [Hi Ian! As you know, Big Muffs need a bit of volume to really open up and get that smooth sustain. Tehy also like a bit of mid range from the amp. The Evolution, and other mid rangy pedals, are kind of designed to produce a similar tone to having a fuzz or Muff on a loud tube amp. That slightly compressed and smooth tone can be achieved on much lower volume with these pedals. The Evolution is really great and very versatile not only for Gilmour but a wide range of different tones. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  32. Brad Roller says:

    Yeah sorry I guess that was a pointless question. Thank you for your time anyway

    [No worries :) – Bjorn]

  33. Jae says:

    I have to admit it Bjorn, most times when I see another Muff review I just roll my eyes. Between the speakers and the cheap soundcard on my laptop they all sound the same to me. The Evolution is the first pedal in a long time to get my attention. Time to put in my order and thanks for the hard work.

    Jae

    [Cheers, Jae! – Bjorn]

  34. John says:

    Got mine in the mail just in time to have to go out of town for work. I only got about 5 minutes of playing time on it before having to unplug. Did a quick direct comparison to the TopTone DG2, which I love and have had for a couple years. Initial thoughts: Evolution sounds great, thought it was noticeably more “Cornishy” than the DG2. I used to have a G-2 and thought it was better than the DG2 on the low to mid gain settings, but preferred the DG2 for the higher gain settings. The Evolution sounded more like the G-2 and an SS3 (by memory) than the DG-2 does when you have it dialed back. I think all three are fantastic pedals, probably just going to come down to what your ear prefers. Looking forward to trying it with some vibes/phasers and leslie simulators.

  35. Cem says:

    Hi Bjorn
    Although I’m loving the tones I’m getting from the Evo, sometimes the gain is just not enough for some things. Would a combination of the Soul Food and the Evo work? What other boost/overdrive would you recommend for stacking?
    Thanks

    [It’s not an overly aggressive pedal so stacking it for the heavier leads will give you a bit more bite and gain. The Soul Food works nicely but personally I prefer something a bit more transparent like the Buffalo Powerbooster. – Bjorn]

  36. Neo says:

    I receive my revolution today.
    I did play it tonight.

    Mine is very noisy. When I turn it on guitar volume on zero lot of noise.

    Do you have noise on yours ?

    [No, mine isn’t noisy. Keep in mind though that the pedal has a lot of gain and mid range, which will amplify the noise to some extent. Perhaps even more so than pedals that you are more familiar with. There shouldn’t be any noise from the pedal it self but the effect will create some hiss, even when you turn down the guitar volume. It’s just the nature of the pedal. Make sure you got proper patch cables and powering as well. – Bjorn]

  37. ed says:

    I need help setting up my signal chain am trying to get a good pulse tone and it is just not happening for me.First I have a strat with dg2O pups and a Marshall dsl 40 c with a vintage 30 upgrade.My pedals are evolution by Buffalo FX and a nano big muff also am using the boss rt 20 and eventide timefactor for delay.If I use my line 6 podx3 and the muffgilmourish patch from here i get an awesome tone.

    [I recommend this chain: guitar > muff > evolution > rt20 > time factor > amp. The tone depends on how you set the amp and pedals and obviously, how they all sound individually. Depending on what tones you want, the Marshall and Nano Muff might not be the best choice for replicating Gilmour’s tones but you should be able to dial in something that should do the job. – Bjorn]

  38. Neo says:

    I sent back the pedal and receive another one from Steve. No noise with the new one. What an after sale service !congratulation Buffalo FX. This one is a keeper and will stay on my pedalboard.

    [Glad to hear! – Bjorn]

  39. ed says:

    Ok thanks Bjorn it’s the Marshall I think.So I am thinking about the laney lionheart 5 watt does that sound better and be able to make use of the pedals.

  40. mick says:

    I was wondering about the differences between the Buffalo FX Evolution and a Skreedy P19? I have been using the P19 for awhile and it has been great. My concern is though, that I find I’m using it for only very specific songs I play and it sounds like I could have more options with the Evolution.
    I’ve tried the DG2 & Iron Bell, but they had even more specific sounds for my ear. My current favorite Gilmour sounds are from the later “Live at Gdansk” & “Live at RAH” era, but I like everything that Gilmour does. Would I be just overlapping the tones I get or…?
    I use a Strat with EMG’s, with a Rockbox Baby Blues distortion and a Buffalo Power Booster (which is on all the time, thx for recommendation!) through a Reeves Custom 50 combo. Since I’ve had great luck with the Buffalo Booster, I figured I would check what your thinking is.
    Thanks

    [The P19 is a stacked Big Muff, meaning that it kind of sounds like a Muff+booster, which is close to how the Evolution sound. Still, I don’t think they overlap. The Evolution can do everything from TS9 overdrive to fat distortion and fuzz and it has a nice mid range boost as well. – Bjorn]

  41. ed says:

    I just ordered the laney 5watt lionheart.I have never heard an amp that sounds as good as that one.It will be perfect for a small room at 5 watts.That amp sounds like it’s cranked but it’s at a low volume that’s awesome.

    [Congrats! – Bjorn]

  42. ed says:

    Bjorn on the laney lionheart when using the evolution pedal should I turn down the tone to 0 on the amp and depend on the pedal.

    [Whatever works for you :) I usually keep the treble and bass at 9:00 and the tone and middle around 2 or 3:00, with the bright mode engaged. This seems to work best for my guitars and tones anyway. The Lionheart has a fairly scooped tone so backing off both the treble and bass is a good idea for David’s tones. – Bjorn]

  43. ed says:

    I found my sweet spot it sounds awesome but it’s at a very low volume even for the bedroom.So I guess the next step would be to mic the amp and run it through power amp right?

    [Not sure what you mean by that. You would mic the amp for recording but if you need to mic it to get the tones you need then perhaps the Lionheart isn’t the amp you’re looking for? – Bjorn]

  44. Erich says:

    Hi Bjorn, and thank’s a lot for your great and usefull review, as usual… ;)
    I plan to buy an Evolution as soon as possible and I’d have a question.
    I play a LP on a full tube Orange head and I have a “minimalist philosophy” for all the “tools” used for create my sound :D
    Therefore my pedalboard is very simple and include (form the input to the output) a Tech21 Oxford preamp, a TC electronics HOF mini, an antic Boss BF2 flanger and a Xotic EP booster.
    If the Evolution is placed at the first begining of the chain, will it voice all its awesome potential ?
    Thank’s for your answer ;)
    Regards

    [I think it would work nicely for your setup. You’d need to experiment with the settings to match your tone though. – Bjorn]

  45. Huy Tran says:

    I’ve been looking for a certain tone for something I am working on and I just couldn’t find it. I then plugged in a LP with Gibson 57 humbuckers into the evolution into the pb and it is just massive. The tone is very close to what my super crunch box delivers but with massive massive low end that stays tight.

    It also sounds great when recording. I love the feel of strats but man can the LP put out some killer tones. In my experience for high gain stuff it is so much easier to make an lp sound good live and in recordings than it is for strats.

    Just wondering do you use the neck and bridge pickup together much Bjorn? I can’t find much real use for it.

    [You mean on a LP? No. Rarely… I mainly use the bridge but sometimes the neck for some bluesy stuff. I use humbuckers more and more actually. Not so much because I prefer the Les Paul but the tone is closer to what I need for my recordings I guess… Still, there’s something about that Strat :) – Bjorn]

  46. Norm says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Could you please give me some advise for my next acquisition to obtain a good overall Gilmour capable board. My muff collection is now the Patriot, P19 and iron bell. I have a Cmatmods signa drive for overdrive, BD2 and have just acquired the buffalo booster. The only fuzz I have is the Olympia which sounds good, but not quite appropriate (to my ears). My next focus is either
    1. replacing the Olympia with a Lunar Module
    2. getting the buffalo evolution
    3. replacing my standard mex strat (HSS) with a 920D MIM stat with CS-69, Fat 50′s, and SSL-5 pickups.
    What would you suggest would be the most effective of these. Also, would the evolution replace both the signa and bd2 at once or would they still be required. Your advice is very much appreciated.

    Just a quick plug for Steve at Buffalo, when my Patriot arrived here in New Zealand, I immediately threw it on my amp (Cub12) and was initially disappointed. It sounded muffled and flat. I emailed Steve for advice, who responded (from France) within 30 minutes. He suggested some tonal settings as well as effectively turning off my preamp (from level 4 down to 2). Probably obvious to an experienced player, but I’m a bit of a newbie. Now it sounds fantastic. Superb product support and great build quality.

    [Sorry for my late reply. I’d definitely go for the guitar/pickups switch. Always focus on the guitar and amp and if needed, get the pedals you need to achieve the tones you want. – Bjorn]

  47. james t says:

    hi bjorn …. thanks !! killer tone as usual from u …… with a properly fitted strat cs 69`s and ssl 5 combo ,peavey classic 30 ……… I think I would love this pedal with the buffalo powerbooster and some delay .. would this set up be better by adding a firebottle ? …… the firebottle seems like my dream pedal after reading your review ,and hearing you play it …….. if the boosters clash I guess I would say ………… what would sound good in a 3 or 4 pedal chain that included the firebottle booster ?? … yes I am the telecaster guy ………. but im going strat … sonic blue ,rosewood , loaded pups and a callaham …… thank you bjorn !! much respect from the states !!!!…. whats up keith too ! … james

    [Hi James! The Firebootle is a pickup booster, which means that it’s designed to enhance the tone of your guitar. You can use it to boost other pedals but I don’t think it works that well for that application. The Powerbooster is more versatile in that way. – Bjorn]

  48. Huy Tran says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Just need your advice on a problem I have. I’ve been using the Evolution with my LP and it sounds fantastic but when I use it with my strat with SSL-5 or neck with fat 50s it just sounds so thin and fizzy. Also unpredictable. Slight volume swings and artifacts in the sound.

    Any suggestions? I can even get Gilmour’s G2 sound with my LP like on Echoes or Great day for freedom but on the strat it is terrible. I tried using the pedal on it’s own and I maxed out my cub12r but nothing works. It is doing my head in.

    Thanks for this.

    [Shouldn’t be any problems using the Evo with a Strat and Cub combo. Are you using the same settings for both the LP and Strat? I always do minor changes to the amp settings when I swap guitars and you will have to change pedals settings. Keep in mind that humbuckers have a lot of mid range and an overall darker tone, which will make distortions sound smoother. With a Strat, you may need to lower the tone, perhaps increase the contour and find a slightly better balance between the volume and gain. You can’t find a pedal that does it all :) – Bjorn]

  49. Huy Tran says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I always fiddle with settings between guitars. I have tried lowering tone and increasing contour with the strat but it is still not right. I am running the CUB12R on the 1 watt option though. I’ll try it on the 15 watt input.

    Ordered your album btw from Amazon. Just have to wait for it to ship to Australia. If it is excellent (I’m sure it will be) I will purchase the Vinyl as well.

    Live the dream Bjorn and keep on recording

    [Thanks for your support, Huy! – Bjorn]

  50. Thom' says:

    Hey Bjorn!
    Great review as usual! :)
    I was wondering if the Evolution could work great with the Buffalo Ram’s Head (I’m sorry if the question have already been asked), as Gilmour did with the P-1 and the Tube Driver in Gdansk and during DSofT with Tc Electronic booster + and Big Muff, in order to get that Comfortably Numb tone. Can we cover other stuff? (others Gilmour’s tone or Hendrix, AC/DC, Led Zep, etc…with one or both pedals)

    Thanks again! Hope we’ll see you touring in France ;)

    Thom’

    [Hi Thom! I wouldn’t use them together. The Evolution has too much gain and mid range for it too be used as a booster. It’s very much a stand alone distortion pedal, similar to the RAT although you can tweak into Muff territory. For boosting I’d get the Buffalo Powerbooster. – Bjorn]

  51. Robert says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Very helpful review – it inspired me to purchase this pedal a few months ago and I am more than pleased with it. I’m curious if you have ever paired it with the Buffalo fx for a boost. Given my experience with my first buffalo fx pedal, I’m already looking at a second and want to know if the power booster will compliment the evolution well.

    Thanks again!
    Robert

    [I don’t think it needs any boosting but adding a Powerboost will open it up a bit, which can be nice on darker sounding amps. – Bjorn]

  52. Ken says:

    Thanks for the excellent review! Does the Evolution have as much gain as your vintage Rat?

    [About the same I guess but it’s got a much more open tone so it sounds like there’s more. – Bjorn]

  53. Ben says:

    Greetings Bjorn!

    I’m going to buy the Evolution along with a wampler PD to get close to OAI tones. My question is do I need a Buffalo FX Power Booster at all? I’m not really needing overdrive from it. I’m only using the Power Booster as a clean boost and the wampler for overdrive. Anyway, I thought I might swap it for a spark booster and use some of the leftover cash to fund an Effectrode PC-2A. Does that sound logical?

    [I think the PC-2A would be a better investment. The Evolution doesn’t really need a booster and since you don’t intend to use the Powerbooster for dirt then it would probably be redundant in the long run. – Bjorn]

  54. Ross says:

    Hi Bjorn, Great work on the new site – well done!
    I’d like your advice on whether the Patriot or Evolution would be the best choice for playing solos such as Comfortably Numb and Time. I enjoy Pulse tones as well. I have 2 Fender Strats, one with EMGDG20’s and the other with CS69’s & SSL5 in the Bridge. On my pedal board is a TC Electronics Nova Repeater Delay, MXR DynaComp Vintage compressor. Amp is – Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb RI. I’d mainly be playing in a bedroom type situation.
    I’m after that big muff type sound with heaps of sustain etc, but not too fussy a pedal to setup and one that doesn’t require a booster. I also don’t want to have to crank the volume up too unbearably loud to get the tone!
    Cheers, Ross

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks, Ross! Both pedals will go nicely with your setup but I think the Evolution is the most versatile of the two and with it, you’ll be able to cover more ground.

  55. Bjorn says:

    You can use a booster with the Evolution but it works best on its own I think. It doesn’t have much headroom so if you want to boost, then the Powerbooster will compliment it nicely.

  56. madcelts says:

    Hi Bjorn — on your video, you demo the pedal through a Reeves 50, and it sounds spot on (and fantastic). How does the Evolution sound through your Laney Cub setup, esp. the low wattage channel. I am thinking of getting an Evolution and a Cub, and I want to make sure it will produce a sound close to that in your video. Thanks!

    • Bjorn says:

      It sounds very similar I think. The Cub is a tad darker and you might want to increase the mids a bit. Volume also plays a part in the tone but the Evolution is extremely versatile and works on almost any amp.

  57. james t says:

    hi bjorn .. great review , this is a must have pedal …. I wanted to share a quick story with you and the gilmourish community .. I went to my guitar luthier .. busy petes in middleton mass .. to begin a custom Gilmour telecaster build .. you’ve given me much advice for this , thanks …… we talk a little bit and he says try this – a black mexi strat with a flame maple neck … this was a personal guitar pete owned , he has over 20 strats and is a self admitted strat guy .. pretty much stock except for the frets and the set up … ITS FREAKING AMAZING . he spent a lot of hours crowning ,leveling ,filing , polishing and all that .. its got really low action and so comfortable .. ive never held any guitar that felt so nice and playable …not even for $$$ thousands more … bjorn I think quality necks fretboards and setup needs to be at the top of everyones list ……… the next day I ordered some fender cs 69s and a ssl 5 .. also because of your review I ordered a callaham vintage bridge trem w the shorter DG trem bar …….. .. im still doing a tele , but omg I love this strat ….. im thinking buffalo fx powerbooster and the buffalo evolution with a good delay and a mooer eleclady ..could you play a decent pink Floyd gig with this set up ?? would red pig hoof muff work well with this ? .. last thing – will the powerboost drive my laney tubes ? .. or does it drive the pedals ?? … best site on internet – thanks much .. james t

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi James! Thanks for sharing! Those pedals should give you a nice Gilmour setup. What I always stress is that not all pedals goes with all kinds of amps. Especially not the vintage ones like Muffs and the Powerbooster. Of the Powerbooster clones I think the Buffalo is the most versatile and it goes nicely with the Cub. You can either use it to drive the amp or as a booster for other pedals.

  58. james t says:

    hi bjorn , sorry I didn’t read all the review comments or I would have seen what you said about the evolution not needing the powerboost …if that’s the case you just saved me $ 275 ……….. so then besides mooer mistress clone and a good delay like a replica … what other pedals would you use with the buffalo evolution ? .. its crazy seems like I wouldnt really need a muff or overdrive / booster … and that defies gilmourish logic lol .. as my last post hinted at im going for a laney amp , i don’t think you did a full review but i really liked what you said about it .. im going for the stack as you suggested .. any other thoughts on the laney ? how good is it ? is it gonna love my cs69s and ssl5 ?…… again thanks so much from boston .. james t

    • Bjorn says:

      The Laney Cub is a nice practice or bedroom amp. It has an early 70s Marshall/Hiwatt character that works nicely with your Strat setup and most of the typical Gilmour pedals. It’s not an amp that will blow your mind but you get a lot for the buck. The Evolution is a nice all-round pedal that can cover overdrives and distortion. I would though consider a stand alone overdrive. It will make the setup more versatile. A powerbooster is one way to go and I also want to recommend the Wampler Plexi Drive, which is very similar to the Tube Driver and it works really well with the Cub.

      • Paul says:

        Saw a YouTube comparison of Wampler Plexi Drive and Evolution. Do you have a preference for one over the other–or are you here suggesting both have a place on the pedal board? They seemed very similar to me in the video. Hard to say, though, without direct access.

        • Bjorn says:

          They’re somewhat similar, in that they both have that British tube-amp character. The Plexi is based on the old JTM45s, which has much less gain and perhaps more emphasis on the treble and bass, although it does have a nice amount of mids. The Evo can do overdrive pretty well, but it’s more of a distortion, with less headroom, much more gain and less low end. I think they compliment eachother and you can easily have both on the board for different applications.

  59. Dave says:

    Thanks Bjorn – I ordered this pedal on your word and a leap of faith and it’s absolutely stunning! Incredible round, dynamic, sonic range, playing a Gibson 345 thru VoxAC30 with the blue alnicos. It really sings and stands out with/out EQ or boost and so glad you wrote this up because it blew the SS-3 off my board which was the go-to soloing pedal. Thanks again! I live in Canada and had to order through a US vendor to get this, but it was well worth the time and effort.

  60. Patrick says:

    Hi Bjorn, Thank you for your exquisite reviews and demos.
    I already have a Soothsayer, which I use mainly for high gain stuff.
    I was looking for a medium gain OD to compliment my rig, and the Evolution seems like the thing. My only concern is, since you describe it a lot like a Rat, isn’t having a Soothsayer AND an evolution a bit redundant?
    Or should I replace the Soothsayer with the Evolution? Thanks a lot for your response.

  61. Lewis says:

    For anybody in the UK looking to get hold of a Buffalo Evolution quickly, I have a brand new one for sale here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/-/331616285420

  62. Chris D says:

    Hey Bjorn, would this pedal go well with my plexi-drive?

  63. Arya Boustani says:

    Hi Bjorn
    Thanks for the review. I made a comment and it didn’t pop so I make a summary again. I’m on a EMG-DG20 setup. I’m planning on buying a Plexidrive. I own an EHX Russian big black box Big Muff. The muff didn’t sound convincing on the Gilmour parameters setup or variations and probably I need to buy a muff booster if I stick to that muff or I can forget about that muff and buy The Evolution that has a nice and pleasing muff/distortion hybrid sound based on the review. It sounds very much like Gilmour and I’m wondering I could buy the booster and still that muff doesn’t give me enough similarity of Gilmour tone. Which way would you go? Unless you think The Evolution muff sound setup is not close enough to the Gimour muff sound. In that way I should probably invest on Vick Audio 73′ Ram’s head and a booster like Toptone Shineboost. Do you think that way I can get a more authentic Gilmour’s muff sound and character?
    Thanks again.

    • Bjorn says:

      HiArya! The Evolution is a much more versatile pedal than a Muff. A Muff is a Muff but the Evolution can easily be tweaked for a wide range of tones. The PlexiDrive is somewhat similar but it doesn’t have the amount of gain. If you’re not happy with the tone you get from your Muff, then I’d consider the Evolution or the new TD-X from Buffalo.

      • Arya Boustani says:

        Thanks Bjorn. I found out sending a unity signal to Plexidrive with a gain at 50% or more creates a gritty sound especially for G string notes. I was hoping to have a smoother result sort of like what DG gets from Butler Tube Drive. Does Plexidrive need a booster? If so, which one of the ones you listed is most suitable? and would I put it in the upstream or downstream of the Plexidrive? Do I need to have a dedicated EQ pedal too? If so, upstream or downstream of Plexidrive?
        Thanks again,
        Arya

        • Bjorn says:

          A booster would make it even more grittier. Are you using your EMGs with it? Try rolling off some gain and adjust the SPC and EXG controls on your guitar until you get the tone you want. Keep in mind that those tone controls are meant to enhance your tone. They should not be on unless you really need it :)

          • Arya Boustani says:

            Thanks Bjorn. Yes I’m using my EMG. I think the bass content of the EXG makes it worse. SPC helps since the low-mid fuses higher harmonics of Plexi with the fundamental tone for G string although the sound doesn’t have the same complexity and sounds not clear. I’m wondering if an EQ would be good right after or before the first pedal (Boss CS-2). I heard from a guitar repair guy that D, A, Low E strings have thinner metal core so G string would be the thickest hence creates the highest current to the pedals. I brought my Boss CS2 volume to 40 percent (instead of 70% in DG setup) and I get a much smoother result. Also I brought down the main volume on the EMG pickup to 8 instead of 10 and I found I actually I hear more twangy variations as the string vibration changes with time for each picking. Sort of more complex texture. The other thing I will try is to adjust the tone on the Plexi to find a good accumulation of low-mid frequencies to fuse the overtones and fundamental tone and then I put an EQ downstream of Plexi (or use my amp treble / presence) to add a bit of lost sparkle for lower tone setting on the Plexi. I know ribbon mic is supposed to make a smoother result on saxophone without sounding muddy. I’m wondering if that helps (instead of using SM57).
            Thanks again,
            Arya

            • Bjorn says:

              It’s always hard to say something specific about tone because it’s not only down to the pickups, a mic or certain settings on your pedals and amp. You’re on the right track adjusting the settings and trying to match everything within your rig. I’d continue with that and experiment with different combos and settings. A ribbon mic might work but it also depends on how well it goes with your amp and how you place the mic.

  64. waxpacknerd says:

    Got my EVO Today!!!! It does a lot of Floyd sounds great but my favorite way to describe it is as a 70’s Marshall cranked. Thats what it really sounds like to me. I’m nailing lots of Robin Trower type stuff with it. The contour control does a lot to help shape it.

  65. waxpacknerd says:

    I play mostly blues (with some admitted gilmour influences) and this pedal works great with blues phrasing. Love how it sounds riding the volume knob. It can do the gilmour thing but it can do a nice cranked amp sound for any purpose. Trower, Gary Moore, Buddy, Albert King, Albert Collins, anyone with an expressive style will love the Evo.

  66. Brian says:

    Hello Bjørn:
    I don’t often participate in forum discussions but I’d like to share a story with your forum followers about a recent experience.
    I am the “happy owner” of 3 Buffalo-FX pedals: a Booster, Patriot and Evolution. I recently experienced a problem with my Evolution pedal and contacted Steve at Buffalo- FX. This may sound odd but a problem with a Buffalo pedal though rare, if/when it occurs is really no big deal.
    When the problem first occurred I emailed Steve and he suggested a possible fix. I was a bit concerned about sending the pedal to him and since I like repairing my own equipment, we did some troubleshooting and he shipped me repair parts (at his expense). Alas, the parts did not correct the problem and after more discussion I shipped the pedal to Steve.
    He emailed me the day the pedal arrived at his shop, made a quick repair and sent the pedal right back to me. I should note Steve also reimbursed me for the cost of shipping the pedal to him for repair.
    You simply cannot ask for better service!
    Brian

  67. Rafael Vantolra says:

    Hi Bjorn
    I’m a big fan of yours. I have a question, my girlfriend gave me the EVOLUTION I have the tube driver BK BUTTLER and the MUSKET. Can you tell me in what order I can set the pedals? what do you recommended?
    Best Wishes
    Rafael Vantolra ( UTAH )

    • Bjorn says:

      Doesn’t really matter if you don’t use them together but if you wnat to combine them, I’d arrange them based on gain: guitar > Musket > Evo > Butler > amp.

  68. Ara says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    My hat is off to you….! I’ve used your site for all Gilmour related gear and have found every single review just absolutely insightful, accurate and invaluable. I hope everyone using your site pays their dues like I have, so we all Gilmour fanatics can add a little bit of joy to our lives…!

    After reading and listening to your review of Buffalo-FX Evolution, I placed and order with them since I have NOT been able to get anywhere near the tones I’ve purchased the B. K. Butler Tube Drive with 12AX7. I’m going to change the tube to 12AU7 based on your recommendation for getting closer to tone I was expecting out of BK Butler.

    Thanks again for all your invaluable work…!

    –Ara

  69. Alex says:

    The Evo sounds good, but it is Heat sensitive !! If you play open airs and your board is exposed to sunlight, take care ! Maybe it is because of the germanium diodes ??

Hey! How about a comment on this post?