• Electro Harmonix Triangle Big Muff Pi review

    David Gilmour - EHX Triangle Big Muff Pi

    To celebrate their 50th anniversary of making pedals, Electro Harmonix recently released the pedal that’s surely been their biggest success – the Big Muff Pi. Obviously, I had to check it out. Here’s my review of the Triangle Big Muff Pi.

    The Triangle got its name from the original 1969 layout of the pedal, with the three controls forming a triangle on the large chassis. Read more about its origins and history on the Big Muff Page.

    David Gilmour is perhaps best known for using the so-called Ram’s Head Big Muff (named after the ram on the logo). He got his first Big Muff just prior to recording Animals and it’s pretty much been his main distortion, or fuzz, unit ever since. Including on the recent Rattle That Lock tour.

    In the mid 90s, his setup featured a (Civil War) Big Muff made by Russian company Sovtek, after EHX founder Mike Matthews moved production to Russia for a brief period. The pedal was a huge part of David’s PULSE tones and it was once again featured on the Rattle That Lock tour.

    So what about the Triangle? David did use one during the summer months of the extended On an Island tour in 2006. Including the filming of the Royal Albert Hall shows that got a DVD release. It is seen laying on top of the Pete Cornish pedal board in loop with a TRex Replica delay. Possibly used for Echoes and the organ/guitar duet jam.

    Read more about David Gilmour and his Big Muffs here.

    A few months back EHX released Green Russian. A faithful reissue of the early 90s green Sovtek tank. To be very honest I was surprised over how good it sounded and it’s been one of my favourite Big Muffs ever since. Read my review of the Green Russian Big Muff here.

    The Triangle is housed in that same Nano-sized chassis, with a grey finish and letters paying tribute to the original pedal. Like all classic Big Muffs, it features controls for gain, tone and level and the pedal runs on either 9V battery or adapter.

    This is a loud pedal. In fact, it’s one of the loudest Big Muffs I’ve ever played. I started with all the controls at noon, with the Reeves Custom 50 amp fairly loud, and it felt like a wild horse trying to run me down!

    I’ve had the chance to play a couple of original Triangles and they all sounded different. Some of the clones I’ve been using sound more like a Sovtek – very dark and tamed. I’m guessing EHX didn’t try to reverse engineer a specific pedal for this one but rather capture the essence of those early Big Muffs. Perhaps leaning towards a Ram’s Head.

    Compared to the Green Russian, the Triangle has a much more scooped mid range. There’s a lot more gain on tap and noticeably more low end. Did I mention that it’s loud?

    The volume control seem to produce unity level around 11 o’clock and at that setting, you get all of those fuzz-like harmonics. Turn the volume up higher and the pedal starts to drive the front end of your amp. It sounds more compressed and the pedal soon get that familiar violin-like smooth sustain.

    The low end and gain can be hard to control on certain amps and you might find it a bit too aggressive with hotter pickups but you can easily roll back the gain below noon and still get a nicely saturated tone, with lots of sustain and character.

    The only thing I could put my finger on is that it sounds slightly gated with the gain setting set high. Perhaps it’s a result of how it interacted with the amp settings I used but chords sounded a bit choked. Hard to hear but more a sense I got when I was playing.

    Personally I prefer using Big Muffs with less gain and low end for recording as they’re easier to tame and record without too much hiss and rumble but I’m sure EHX didn’t have my studio setup in mind when they designed this beast.

    So, the big question is – is the Triangle capable of replicating David Gilmour’s tones? I plugged into my old Deluxe Electric Mistress (yes, David used the ’76 model) and to my ears at least, it got me very close to those early 80s Wall tones.

    That low end rumble and the throaty, almost hollow sounding tone just came pouring out of the speakers and I love how you really need to work with the pedal to control the feedback and make that a part of your tone.

    The Triangle might be a challenge on the more mids scooped amps, especially if you’re trying to replicate David Gilmour’s tones (read more about choosing the right pedals for your amp) but regardless of how close this actually is to the original Triangle, this one should appeal to every Muff and Gilmour fan.

    I’m not going to start a debate over clones here but EHX offer some serious competition with this new line of Big Muff reissues and it’s about time. A huge applause to EHX for finally embracing their Big Muff heritage! Now, we can only hope for a Ram’s Head…

    Visit ehx.com for more.

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62 Responsesso far.

  1. Toni says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    My beloved amp is a Victory V50, it’s a two channel head, 50/15 watts with valves: 4 x 12AX7, 1 x 12AT7, 2 x EL34. I love the amp, the one and only snag is that I don’t know which muff would fit with it. I tried a Jam Pedals Red Muck, but it got lost in the mix within the context of rehearsal though I tried to push the mids and give an extra punch with several boosters and/or overdrives. I guess it’s just the sort of amp as you have already explained in an other one of your entries but unfortunately I haven’t got a clue where fits my amp in your explanation and what muff would suit him well.

    Big thanks!

    • Bjorn says:

      The amp should provide a nice platform for your Big Muffs but the pedals doesn’t have a lot of compression and mid range, so unless you boost it further, you will probably drown in the mix. You can obviously compensate on the amp, by boosting the mids, or add an EQ. David boosts after the Muff, to get a bit of compression and mid range character and not so much gain or volume. It’s just the nature of Big Muffs so if nothing seem to work, then you might want to check out pedals like a Rat or OCD.

  2. Chris chaney says:

    Which is your favorite bjorn, the triangle or the green Russian muff. What are the differences.

    • Bjorn says:

      I like both but I guess the green is my favourite. It has a bit less gain, more mids and an overall more controlled character.

  3. Brad Roller says:

    I actually think it sounded best set up like a fuzz face. It was actually very very convincing. Not many muffs ive tried are able to get all the harmonics like a FF. listening to Animals closely, and live recordings from that time, it sounds almost as if David set his muff up similar to his Fuzz Face. I guess that makes sense considering it was a new beast to him. Seeing as how similar they sounded I always wondered why he gave up his FF and ability to control with the guitar volume. Don’t get me wrong, I know a muff has some things a fuzz doesn’t but when you listen to those animals bootlegs, it sounds VERY close to his dark side tones from the previous tours.

    • Bjorn says:

      I’ve been using the Triangle a lot lately and it’s really grown on me. Always hard to pin down the exact tones on a recording but I’m very happy with what I hear when I crank everything in my studio :) David’s Animals board did feature a DA FF so he might have used it for some stuff. Hard to tell. They did play Money as an encore at least. Hard to tell why he decided on using the Muff instead but I would assume that he probably found them more reliable both in how the performed and sounded. This was also a period when new pedals emerged all the time and Floyd were all about experimenting and trying new things. If you listen closely to the Animals tour in particular, he must have had the tone control on the Muff set pretty high. Probably around noon or maybe even higher, which adds to the Fuzz Face character.

      • Brad Roller says:

        The triangle muff is the only model I don’t have. Im gonna have to get one. As for him setting the tone control high, ive found this to get me the best animals tour tone on my rams head muff from byoc. It seems that later on into the wall he started toning it down some and pushing the master a bit more to get a bit smoother tone. Another reason for dropping the fuzz could be as simple as “holy shit something new” and just using it because he was tired of using the same thing all the damn time lol we are spoiled in all the endless possibilities of pedals and models but for him it must have bee exciting

  4. Rob says:

    you still play with Tortex Pitch Black Jazz 1mm, Bjorn? haven’t got a new favorite since?

  5. Chris chaney says:

    Just one more thing your site is great, i got into david the same as you i was about sixteen or so when delicate sound of thunder came out and i love that era of floyd and david. I have emg dg 20 pickups in my strat and to me the songs like yet another movie those deep cuts but, the solos are unreal and i think his best on that dvd/cd.

  6. Chris chaney says:

    Yes, it is as close as you can get i am about to get a blues driver next maybe that will cover the shine on type tones i saw david with pink floyd in birmingham alabama sunday may 1st 1994 on the division bell tour will never forget it.

  7. Lucas Maciel says:

    Hi Bjorn! Try to make a review of a pedal! Deep Trip Muffasaur! It’s from Brazil! They make superb fuzzes here in my country! Thanks!!!

  8. Troy says:

    Hey guys, let’s not have a civil war about it! ;D

  9. Chris chaney says:

    I believe that a civil war version is coming soon that would complete the circle somewhat

  10. Chris chaney says:

    Will this pedal work well with my new marshall dsl 40cr i have the new green russian and it does well. I find the new dsl 40 cr takes pedals better than the old dsl because of some changes they made what is your opinion

    • Bjorn says:

      The DSL series is great! A bit of classic and modern Marshall in one amp and they can handle pedals very well. I haven’t spent enough time with it to say that the Triangle works well with it but in general, I would say that Muffs often sound too aggressive with Marshall due to the amp’s boosted mids, compression and less headroom. But, as always, it depends on the amp setting and your pickups.

  11. Ken says:

    Great post Bjorn! Would you consider doing a Youtube segment on tones from David’s deep cuts such as No More Lonely Nights or rare tracks from About Face/David Gilmour albums? Keep up the great work my friend.

  12. Silvio says:

    Hello. I wanted to ask you, considering the broad mid-range, how sound is similar to the vick sound 73 ram’s head or are they very different? Greetings

    • Bjorn says:

      I don’t thin the Triangle has much mid range but it has a lot of gain and output. The Vick has a mid range booster that allow a bit more mids.

  13. Armin says:

    Hi Bjorn! Great review as always!

    How would you say this pedal compares to the BYOC Big Muff triangle version?

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks! They’re definitely in that same tone family but the Triangle is much more aggressive sounding I think. More gain and output. The BYOC is warmer and more balanced I guess.

  14. louisnd says:

    Thanks for the review! I think I’ll stick with the Russian for now – and wait for the “Ram’s Head” if there is ever one made. I previously owned the nano and switch to the Russian – less agressive pedal I think.
    But I think its really cool that EHX finally decided to reissue the (almost) whole line of classic Muff.
    Cheers!

  15. Scott S. says:

    Hello Bjørn,

    Very informative review as always, sounds terrific. Frankly, you make everything sound fantastic. I noticed you just hang your e906 down in front of the speaker. I’m curious when your are recording, this video for instance how loud are you running you amp?

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks! Yes, it’s hanging there for conveniance :) Makes it easy to just turn everthing on and recording without having to worry about placement each time. I play at about band level I guess. Quite loud but the mic can handle it. Ideally I think that Muffs and heavier fuzz and distortion often sound better if you allow them to breathe a bit so whenever I record for albums, I use a SM57 about 4″ off the cab.

  16. Keith M. says:

    Sounds great Bjorn! I’ve been using the Royal Beaver and the DG1 for years, are these re-issues worth the up-grade? as always thank you for all you do for us and best of luck with your new project!

    • Bjorn says:

      Well, I can’t reallt answer that. It’s all about taste and my taste might be very different to yours :) I love the BYOC and RB but the Triangle does sound quite different from what you get from those pedals. Much more gain, grit and output. It’s a much more aggressive and perhaps vintage sounding pedal.

      • Keith M. says:

        Well Bjorn i kinda expected that answer… while i’ve gotten used to those pedals with my rig i guess it’s time to go for it and try something different! with you recommendation i’m sure i cant go wrong! Thanks again your always one i can count on!

  17. Arya Boustani says:

    Thanks Bjorn. I was counting days for your review to come out. Using Reeves Custom 50, which one do you think is going to give THAT sound for Gilmour tones (if I have to choose between two)? I’m playing on 90s Fender with ’69 neck and and SSL5 bridge pickups. Also do you know when they recreate the old pedal, does it mean they stick to the circuitry values or also they try to find vintage capacitors, etc. I think some of those vintage components are not perfect and end up have more complex tone as a result.

    • Bjorn says:

      For the Reeves, or Hiwatts, I would say that the Triangle is pretty dead on the Animals, DG78, Wall, Final Cut era while the Green Russian is close to the Pulse tones. You can use each for each era though…
      I’m no expert on the technical stuff or how they created it but from what I understand, EXH has studied a couple of original circuits and picked the best features from each. It’s by no means reverse engineered but more an attempt to capture the essence of the early Muff.

      • Arya Boustani says:

        Thanks a lot Bjorn. I definitely have a better idea now.
        ???
        Which Big Muff while close to David’s tone has more of that older circuit mojo. I’m ok if it doesn’t sound as ironed out as triangle. To my ears, Triangle (I have BYOC Triangle and I thing it’s sort of the same kind of clean and smooth distortion) is almost too sterile compared to Gilmour tones, unless there are other contributors like amp, speakers, additional processing that adds to the complexity of the tone. What do you think about coupling EHX Triangle or Green Russian with Tube Driver on low overdrive setting to add to the tone complexity and also boosting the low end in case of Green Russian?
        Thanks again ??

        • Bjorn says:

          To my ears the new Traingle has all the mojo and character of those old units. The BYOC, although one of my favourites, sound much more polished. You can’t really compare my review with what you hear on those old live recordings from the 70s. Nor the albums. There’s so much going on and when you hear my reviews, you hear a fairy small and modest setup, dry recording and not a lot of tweaking. I warmly recommend the Triangle but as always it comes down to taste.

  18. Liung Yit says:

    in addiction:
    about BIG MUFF TRIANGLE………

    QUESTION:

    0. The triangle would seem to be the most powerful big muff that has ever been made.It’s correct ?

    1. Which product would you choose between VICK AUDIO mod. V.1 TRIANGLE, ELECTRO HARMONIX mod.
    BIG MUFF TRIANGLE (xo ultimate edition) and B.Y.O.C. mod. LARGE BEAVER TRIANGLE ?

    Bye.

    • Bjorn says:

      Well, that depens on what you mean by “powerful”. Yes, it’s loud and it has lots of gain but it all depends on what amp you’re using. It doesn’t have much mid range, so on scooped amps I would probably go for a Green Russian.
      I like all of them so it comes down to what features you need and what sort of Muff tones you prefer.
      As I’ve tried to stress throughout this site – it all depends on the amp. Some amps doesn’t go well with Muffs at all.

      • Liung Yit says:

        Yes, I agree with you, in fact all the new production ELECTRO HARMONIX does not sound like the products of the years ’69 -’70: they have a few harmonics.
        The BIG MUFF of the past, they were devastating

  19. Frank says:

    Hi Bjorn!
    I have the possibility to buy a used 1977 Big muff and would like to know if you have ever tried one of them. Do you think it’s close to the triangle?

    • Bjorn says:

      Hard to tell as those 70s models often don’t age that well and, even within each model, they tended to sound very different from one another due to different parts etc. I would say that the Triangle is very close to those early circuits but it can easily match up to a Violet Ram’s Head and even the OP Amp model too.

  20. Scott says:

    So if you can only buy one muff for Gilmour tones is it the triangle or the Green Russian?

    • Bjorn says:

      I can’t answer that. Depends on what tones I need and what amp I use. The Triangle is perhaps best for David’s Animals/Wall tones while the GR is closer to his 90s tones.

  21. Julius says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    thanks for the great review and fantastic playing! For reaching David Gilmour The Wall tones do you think
    the triangle muff is as good as the pig hoof or the vick audio 73 rams head?
    Kind regards,
    Julius.

    • Bjorn says:

      Hm… they all offer something unique I guess. The Vick is probably the most versatile of the three, with the mid range booster, but I like them all. The Pig Hoof and Triangle is somewhat similar but for me, the Pig Hoof will always be special.

  22. David Dyte says:

    Agreed about EHX and these Big Muff re-releases. It’s such a gift to have them for a good price, sounding amazing, and with the extra mojo of being from the original company.

  23. Les Helgeson says:

    Bjorn, thank you for another great review! I’ve been thinking of adding this new pedal to my board since the price is certainly reasonable. I was about to sell my Fender Deluxe Reverb a while back when I took advantage of a sale price for a Buffalo Carrera overdrive. I had intended to purchase a TDX to use with another amp (L5 Studio) so took a gamble thinking added mid-range would be good. So far it seems to be a marriage made in heaven! I am also using a YellowSquash compressor per your advice and it also mates very well with this particular setup. Guitar is a modified Strat with Seymour Duncan P-Rails. What do you think about stacking the Triangle with the Carrera for additional fuzz tone options?

    Cheers,
    Les

    • Bjorn says:

      Yes, the Carrera is a very good match with the Lionheart! I haven’t tried it with the Triangle but I would imagine that it might be a bit too much. The Triangle has a lot of output and gain and it might be hard to tame that combo… but again, I haven’t tried it.

  24. Liung Yit says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    definely , what do you think about TRIANGLE (xo ultimate edition) ….it has many harmonic frequencies and mediosity, or it is knackered as BIG MUFF PI (2000 edition) ?
    ….better to consider others model, for example LITTLE BIG MUFF (xo), BIG MUFF TONE WICKER (xo), BASS BIG MUFF (xo) or GREEN RUSSIAN (xo)?
    Which of these would you recommend?

    Bye.

    • Bjorn says:

      Depends on what sort of Muff tones you’re looking for. I think EHX has managed to capture the essence of the early Muff circuit but it does sound very different from the other Muff models. I don’t care much for the Lille BM, Tone Wicker and all of the spin-offs but it’s about taste, isn’t it? The Bass Muff and Green Russian are very similar but very different to the Triangle.

  25. Trav Huey says:

    Great review, Bjorn. I love this pedal. In the 1990s, I used a Sovtek Big Muff (which I also loved), but found that it was difficult to keep from sounding muddy or blurry. Comparatively, the Triangle Big Muff seems much easier to dial in and control; it takes a lot to get it to sound muddy. With such clarity (to my ears), it suits where I’m trying to take my lead tone. I love your page and your YouTube channel, keep up the great work.

  26. Michael McGinnis says:

    Thank you for the review. I’ve been waiting for it ever since I found out about this pedal. How do you think it would sound on my Laney Cub 12? I have D. Allen Echoes in my guitar.

  27. Troy says:

    Hi Bjorn

    Thanks for your review. I’ve been looking at these & the BYOC version of the Triangle. I believe that you also have the latter.

    The BYOC guy has a clip where he A/B compares his clone against an original & apart from much less noise on the clone they soind identical in every position. I believe that it uses original transistors.

    Have you any info on how the BYOC Triangle compares in terms of mid scoop (same or less? I know that on the BYOC you can boost mids but how does this EH compared to the BYOC’s stock scooped setting?), gating (hopefully not), output level & gain?

    BYOC also do versions of the Ram’s Head & 90’s Russian Muffs. I think that you have the former but am not sure if you have the latter. It would be interesting to your current thoughts on how well their Ram’s Head does for 70’s/80’s DG Muff tones & if you have heard their take on the classic Russian Muff how it compares with the new EH take on that.

    The BYOC’s are obviously more versatile with the three way switch to go between the stock tone & two different levels of mid-boost & recently they all have a tone control bypass switch added to all versions. Basic stock sounds compared to EH’s new takes on these & to DG tones is what interests me.

    As an aside: I know that it is to save costs in terms of tooling but it is a shame that EH didn’t go all out & reproduce the pedal casing of the originals (with possibly modern concessions to having a Boss standard power jack & an activation LED). Like how Wren & Cuff did for their take on the Ram’s Head with the Caprid. Also: Rear mounted jacks would have been more welcome than side jacks for may of us. They should do this across their range as that was a part of classic EH design & works so well on modern pedalboards. BYOC have started doing this. I might get both theirs & EH’s but some comparative insight from yourself would be welcome.

    Many thanks!

    – Troy

    • Bjorn says:

      I think EHX’s goal was to reissue the original Muff and in the same price point as their Nano line. Obviously, they also want to reclaim the Muff market and be a serious competitor to the many clones out there. I think they have succeeded but it’s always a matter of taste. There are lots of clones out there that both look amazing and that feature all sorts of tweaks and features but I don’t think that was what EHX was trying to do.

      They’ve reissued a version of the Triangle that’s based on several different circuits and the result capture the essence of those early models but it does sound very different from the BYOC. That doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. It just means that you have more options :)

      • Troy says:

        Thanks for the response Bjorn.

        At least both BYOC’s & EH’s takes on these classic Muffs are nicely priced enough to get both. :D

  28. Rob M. says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I currently use a Green Russian reissue and a BYOC Large Beaver in my rig and I love both of them. How does the the new Triangle reissue compare to the Large Beaver? Are they pretty similar when the Large Beaver is set to Triangle mode or is the new reissue worth an additional investment?

    • Bjorn says:

      The BYOC has been one of my favourite Big Muffs for years. The Triangle has a lot more gain and output compared to the BYOC, wich is considerably darker sounding, with less gain. Two different types of early Muff I would say.

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