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Arbitrator Fuzz

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I was so thrilled to see the Arbitrator fuzz appear in the new group of pedals from the recent update, and so disappointed in the result!!! It sounds HORRIBLE!!!!!! The Fuzzface is one of the most inconsistent devices ever made due to the ever drifting Germanium transistors. They were phased out of audio electronics decades ago due to their instability. In laments terms, they drift at an incredible rate. The most noticeable symptom of a Fuzzface that has seen better days is when it begins gating. At that point you can try swaping positions of the 2 transistors in the unit. If that doesn't help, you either have to replace the transistors, or the pedal altogether. So, if your going to take the time to add a Fuzzface to the Helix, FOR GOD'S SAKE FIND A GOOD ONE TO CLONE!!!!!!! The "Arbitrator Fuzz" is a perfect example of the worst sounding fuzz face you can find. It gates HORRIFICALLY!!! No matter how you adjust the two parameters, the effect gates making it completely USELESS!!!! Please find a good unit to clone and replace the current one, as it is a waste of space in the Helix!!  

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1. Make sure the Input block's gate isn't on.

2. Place the Arbitrator Fuzz the first thing in the chain and set Global Settings > Ins/Outs > Guitar In Impedance to "Auto." The Fuzz Face had a much lower impedance than most other pedals, and you want it loading your guitar in the same way.

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I'm using a USA Variax with the VDI cable. Input set to Variax, input gate is off. I just tried it again in the very first position in the block and It sounds exactly like a Fuzzface. Just not like a good Fuzzface. Mike Fuller (Fulltone Pedals) has a pretty good grasp on matching the transistors and placing them in the correct order in his '69 Pedal. If memory serves, the ideal arrangement is to have the second transistor 10% stronger than the first. I've had several Fuzzfaces over the past 30 years. The ones that were magical were only that way until the transistors drifted far enough out of the sweet range. After that, they sound just like the one in the Helix. This is fixable. You just have to be a bit more selective about the one you use to make your model. Big clue, if it's a vintage unit that was used a bunch, it probably won't sound good until/unless the transistors are replaced, preferably by someone who understands how to match/stagger them. 

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After doing the 201 update, I was randomly cruising through some factory presets again, and if memory serves, #2 is an Essex with an Arbitrator. The Essex itself is cool, but I simply can't believe anyone thought that fuzz, with gain on 10 no less!, was a good way to show off Helix. It's just ridiculously overdriven, even with gain on 0, and on 10, well sheesh, nothankyou. Who on earth would use that for anything ever?

 

I put EQs before and after it, dropped the level of the pre- one like 18 db, then tailored both EQs to my liking, and got something I actually dig pretty much out of it. Zero resemblance to what it sounds like out of the box.

 

Poorly conceived fuzz, even worse factory preset, weird that either one made is past a basic sniff test.

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After doing the 201 update, I was randomly cruising through some factory presets again, and if memory serves, #2 is an Essex with an Arbitrator. The Essex itself is cool, but I simply can't believe anyone thought that fuzz, with gain on 10 no less!, was a good way to show off Helix. It's just ridiculously overdriven, even with gain on 0, and on 10, well sheesh, nothankyou. Who on earth would use that for anything ever?

 

I put EQs before and after it, dropped the level of the pre- one like 18 db, then tailored both EQs to my liking, and got something I actually dig pretty much out of it. Zero resemblance to what it sounds like out of the box.

 

Poorly conceived fuzz, even worse factory preset, weird that either one made is past a basic sniff test.

Couldn't agree more.

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The issue with presets is that they are all subjective. Preset creators maybe even used earphones or old speakers....who knows.

 

I think it's a random bag in the presets and I agree that a lot of them are dreadful and in fact work against the Helix...especially when you have people showing them on YouTube for example.

 

Any device you buy has mostly crap presets tbh. Most Roland gear has awful premade patches. Yamaha is just as bad!!

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But really fuzz face is bad ..... It can not be compared to a silicon or diode fuzz face in real life.. i tried hard to adjust it, it just can not get there.

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I don't remember the original from back in the day well enough to say anything real, (yeah, I'm that old...), but I remember liking it, and I'm very very sure it didn't sound like the Helix version. Subjectivity aside, that preset and that stomp are seriously pretty bad.

 

arislaf, try what I did, put EQs both before and after, and drop the gain of the one before the fuzz by something like 18db, then do whatever you want with the actual EQ curves. I ended up w something pretty cool, actually. I wasn't trying to imitate the original, or anything else specific, just looking for something interesting, and got happy. I think. Need to check it in the light of a new day this evening...

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i'm mainly using it with the vol on guitar rolled back to 5-7 for a slightly gritty clean sound.. it works ok for that. even if there is a bit of hiss going on..

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I don't remember the original from back in the day well enough to say anything real, (yeah, I'm that old...), but I remember liking it, and I'm very very sure it didn't sound like the Helix version. Subjectivity aside, that preset and that stomp are seriously pretty bad.

 

arislaf, try what I did, put EQs both before and after, and drop the gain of the one before the fuzz by something like 18db, then do whatever you want with the actual EQ curves. I ended up w something pretty cool, actually. I wasn't trying to imitate the original, or anything else specific, just looking for something interesting, and got happy. I think. Need to check it in the light of a new day this evening...

Thanks i will give it a shot man!

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I wasn't trying to imitate the original, or anything else specific, just looking for something interesting, and got happy. I think. Need to check it in the light of a new day this evening...

I've checked, really seriously dig what I came up with. Unexpectedly great tones from something that's so borked out of the box.

 

Actually, I've been having pretty serious trouble getting to some organizational and learning stuff I want to do on Helix, and other things, because every time I go down to the studio, I pull up the last patch I was working with, and just end up playing guitar. For hours.

 

Not doing the snapshot investigations I want to get to. Not checking out patches for some specific songs I need to handle. Not checking out IRs, or Sean Halley's patches. Not doing the ARC 2 thing on my FRFRs, or my studio monitors. Not going to bed. Just playing.

 

It's a bad problem. Big fun though!

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I've checked, really seriously dig what I came up with. Unexpectedly great tones from something that's so borked out of the box.

 

Actually, I've been having pretty serious trouble getting to some organizational and learning stuff I want to do on Helix, and other things, because every time I go down to the studio, I pull up the last patch I was working with, and just end up playing guitar. For hours.

 

Not doing the snapshot investigations I want to get to. Not checking out patches for some specific songs I need to handle. Not checking out IRs, or Sean Halley's patches. Not doing the ARC 2 thing on my FRFRs, or my studio monitors. Not going to bed. Just playing.

 

It's a bad problem. Big fun though!

 

I would argue that that's a good problem to have. A modeler where you can just forget about it all and enjoy playing? That's kind of the goal, I'd say.

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More to the point of this topic, I think it will be very difficult (if not downright impossible) for the Helix (or any other processor) to truly emulate a classic Fuzz Face or Fuzz Factory or other picky fuzz. The problem is that these fuzzes require a direct connection to the guitar in order to sound good. They don't play nice with active guitars, they don't play nice with buffers or other pedals in front of them. They need to become part of the guitar circuit. How is that even going to be possible with a digital model?

 

Having said that, there is also a Big Muff model on there and I feel like that also needs some work. But if you've really gotta have that Fuzz Face/Factory tone, then you're probably just gonna have to bring a pedal with. At least until they find some other way to model it.

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More to the point of this topic, I think it will be very difficult (if not downright impossible) for the Helix (or any other processor) to truly emulate a classic Fuzz Face or Fuzz Factory or other picky fuzz. The problem is that these fuzzes require a direct connection to the guitar in order to sound good. They don't play nice with active guitars, they don't play nice with buffers or other pedals in front of them. They need to become part of the guitar circuit. How is that even going to be possible with a digital model?

 

Having said that, there is also a Big Muff model on there and I feel like that also needs some work. But if you've really gotta have that Fuzz Face/Factory tone, then you're probably just gonna have to bring a pedal with. At least until they find some other way to model it.

I don't know but this comment reminded me those guys in 1500 that said ppl never gonna fly...

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I would argue that that's a good problem to have. A modeler where you can just forget about it all and enjoy playing? That's kind of the goal, I'd say.

Absolutely! That was was I was getting at, maybe was a bit too obfuscated. Point was, I'm having a blast w Helix!

 

Now about that other stuff I need to do, like get enough sleep for starters...

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I don't know but this comment reminded me those guys in 1500 that said ppl never gonna fly...

 

I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's probably going to require a whole lot more doing than has been done. It may even require you to enter in the values of the components of your guitar to really work correctly. A pedal like the Fuzz Factory changes completely by rolling the volume or tone knobs down. Not just in gain or in volume, but you can alter the frequency of the oscillation that way, too.

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