My first Big Muff was a bubble font green Sovtek. I still got it and nothing beats that larger than life, thunderous tone. Still, I’ve always preferred the ram’s head. There’s something about that tone. I recently came across the 73 Ram’s Head from Vick Audio and been eager to check it out. Here’s my review.
I’ve lost count over how many Big Muff clones I’ve tested and played over the years. It seems that everyone making pedals are offering one. No wonder really, given the fact that it’s one of the most popular fuzz pedals. Still, I would imagine that the more Muff clones there are out there the harder it gets to be noticed. Unless you got something really special to offer.
The 73 Ram’s Head is housed in a MXR-sized enclosure featuring a bright stage ready led, neutrik audio jacks, 9V Boss style power jack and true bypass switching. In addition to the standard volume, tone and sustain (gain) controls, the 73 Ram’s Head also feature a mini toggle switch for switching between three different mid range modes: scooped (stock), flat and boost.
As expected the 73 Ram’s Head deliver tons of saturated gain, fat lows and sweet singing sustain. In fact the sustain on this thing is just unbelievable! Even at low gain settings it rings on for ages. Typical of Big Muffs it doesn’t clean up that much when you roll back the guitar volume but setting the gain at about 30% or lower and backing down the guitar volume a hair takes the pedal into overdrive territory and sounding much more dynamic and responsive than most Muffs that I’ve tried.
Compared to the much more aggressive and top boosted violet Ram’s Head this one’s got a smoother character. It’s a fairly dark sounding pedal and perhaps a tad too dark for some but the tone control can be set quite high without getting any harsh overtones. The 3-way toggle also gives you a wider palette of tones. I prefer the flat mode. It adds a hint of mid range, without sounding boxy and allows the pedal to cut through a band mix.
There’s really not much to put my finger on. It could do with just a hint more top to make it open up a bit more. A bit less gain would also have made it easier to tame the pedal especially since I prefer combining Big Muffs with boosters. Still, that’s really just being picky.
The 73 Ram’s Head sound huge on a large stack but I think it really shines on smaller amps and typical bedroom setups. That’s why it’s also found its way to my studio pedal board. The fact that it has more gain and a slightly darker tone than most Muffs, makes it sound equally big and smooth on low wattage amps and neighbour friendly levels.
So, what’s the verdict? Love it! If you’re searching for classic ram’s head tones or a Muff that sounds great on smaller amps then look no further. Check out vicksaudio.com for more details.