Effectrode Helios Vaccum Tube Fuzz Pedal

Effectrode is now selling the new Helios Fuzz pedal, featuring tube gain stages followed by a crystal diode circuit.

Effectrode Helios Fuzz pedal

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Described as “Sunshine in a box”, this stompbox is designed to provide versatile fuzz tones that retain tube driven clarity.

Helios Fuzz is built around hand-selected space-grade pencil tubes, which are then paired to N.O.S. point-contact crystal diodes. This allows the pedal to combine tube gain stages with a crystal diode asymmetric clipping circuit. The resulting is described as “incredibly warm and rich fuzzed guitar tone whilst preserving clarity and string-to-string definition.”

The Pencil tubes, also called Subminiature tubes, were designed to control missiles during World War II. They had to be extra-ordinarily tough and manufactured to meet stringent inspections for reliability and safety. Since the tubes were built to survive severe shock, vibration, high altitude and high temperature – Effectrode knew that it could endure the typical punishment received by pedals.

Effectrode further elaborates: “The Subminiature tubes represent the pinnacle of tube technology and offer more consistent musical performance than the early NOS germanium transistors. Effectrode is now utilizing these little tubes for peaceful purposes – to create extremely compact and tough little effects pedals!”

To give its tube circuit the power it requires, the pedal utilizes 100% analog vacuum tube audio path, operating with amplifier plate voltages. This means that it requires more electricity than the typical pedal, which is the reason why it comes with a special power adapter.

In contrast to the pedals many features, this stompbox have two basic knobs for controlling the output volume and fuzz level. A Fire switch is provided to reduce the plate voltage of the second tube stage, effectively starving the circuit to generate coarser and spluttery fuzz tones.

Effectrode describes the pedal’s tone as follows: “At full throttle this little pedal can generate outrageous ‘blocking-distortion’ which sounds like a tube amp being pushed beyond it’s limits. Rolling back the ‘Fuzz’ control creates an immense, bold fuzz tone with endless amounts of smooth liquid sustain that stretches notes into infinity. At lower fuzz and guitar volume settings it cleans up to produce some beautiful and natural sounding (real!) tube overdrive and distortion sounds.”

Check out how the Helios sounds like:

Incidentally, the new Helios pedal have the same name as Bogner’s recently released amp, but I’m not sure if there is a connection. The Helios Fuzz pedal is now retailing online for $309. For more details, visit Effectrode.

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