The Analog Man Sun Face custom built fuzz pedal is of a higher quality than most any other fuzzface clones you will find. If you are looking for a vintage sounding fuzz pedal Analog Man Sun Face are highly regarded.
Analog Man Sun Face Red Dot NKT from 2017 uses the Red Dot NKT brand transistors. These are definitely made at the Newmarket factory. They look and sound identical to the old red dot NKT275 Analog Man used to have, but have a different part number on them after the “NKT”, probably a house number for a specific customer. The older NKT275 are gone and fetching ridiculously high prices in the used market.
From Analog Man:
Unlike a pedal like a Tube Screamer, which will always sound good if the right chip and other parts are installed correctly, a fuzzface is a very finicky circuit. The transistors used in a fuzzface make all the difference in tone, feel, and amount of fuzz/cleanliness. Germanium transistors were the first type of transistors generally available, starting in the early 1960s. They are not very stable or easy to manufacture consistently. Since silicon transistors took over from germanium in about 1970, almost nobody makes germaniums anymore, and the few that are made just don’t do the trick in a fuzzface circuit. Each transistor used in a fuzzface needs to be tested for several parameters including gain, leakage, noise, and tone to make a great sounding fuzz. These transistors are just not available in any decent quantity. For these reasons, it’s really tough for a large company to mass produce a classic germanium fuzzface that sounds good. It’s too much of a hassle so most do not even try.
We can build our SUNFACE pedal for you, or modify your existing Fuzz Face, either a Dunlop reissue or Arbiter UK reissues to make them sound GREAT, just like Clapton in Cream or early Hendrix. The sound is nice and smooth, singing bluesy tone, not harsh noisy fuzz.
These pedals are VERY SENSITIVE to your guitar volume : with germanium, if you turn down a Strat’s volume to about 7, there is very little distortion. At 9, it is a nice smooth bluesy tone, like Clapton in Cream. At 10, it is quite fuzzy, especially if you have hot pickups or humbuckers. Also, if you use another effect before the fuzz face, it can make it get a nastier distortion. You may try running a Distortion or compressor into the fuzz face, or vice versa, with varying volume settings on the guitar and/or effects. But for the purest tone, there should be no effects between the guitar and the fuzz. However, effects with true bypass that are turned OFF are OK before the fuzz (for example, an RMC wah). Vintage style wah pedals have some issues when used with a vintage style fuzz face (though Jimi did not seem to mind!).
Analog Man Sun Face are hand-built in the USA in small gold boxes, with our own USA made SUNFACE circuit board, which was made small enough to fit in almost any enclosure. As you can see in the picture down below a bit, this is a VERY high quality board of the same type used on our other pedals. It is better quality than almost any other fuzzface clone you will find, with shielding, plated through-holes, etc to meet military specs. It also has an internal CLEAN trim pot (white knob). This trim pot acts like turning down the VOLUME knob on your guitar, to clean up the fuzz. It can be used to preset the sound as with the volume knob rolled back a bit. It also allows easier control of the volume knob on your guitar when the white CLEAN trim pot is turned a bit. It can also be used to kill Radio Frequency Interference, which may be a problem on high gain pedals in some areas, by turning it down a hair. The CLEAN trimpot will also allow the sunface to work better after a vintage style wah pedal, without having to use a foxrox wah retrofit. It does not reduce the amount of fuzz that much, with humbuckers it can actually seem to have MORE fuzz by turning it a bit. like all our handmade pedals, the Sunface has true bypass, so when off they do not alter your sound at all.
Red Dot NKT275 transistors
We also had gotten more of the older-style red dot NKTs. These are not quite as clean or clear sounding as the white dot. The red dot do not get as sparkly clean when you back down the volume, but they have a longer, smoother range when backing down the volume knob so it’s easier to find just the right amount of fuzz. They have a cool smoky, bluesy tone, a little softer and darker. They definately have some MOJO in the sound. They are a little more finicky and tougher to dial in, especially at various temperatures, so the sundial has a WIDE range on these. We ran out of these again in late 2015.
Red Dot NKT transistors
In mid 2017 we got some red dot NKT transistors which are not the NKT275 model, from The Netherlands. These are definitely made at the Newmarket factory, and look and sound almost identical to the old red dot NKT275 we used to have. They all test in the same range, medium low gain. I think they came from the same manufacturing line as the NKT275, but were sorted for this narrower gain range. They have a different part number on them after the “NKT”, probably a house number for the specific customer who requested these parts (maybe a radio company in the Netherlands).