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Review: Diamond Blaze

Introduction:

That pedal builder from Canada, Diamond Effects is known for providing quality built and reliable effects worldwide. They bring you a pedal that at first glance of the description sounds very interesting. Especially if you're a fan of fuzz and Diamond effects. These guys are mostly known for their delay pedals, which are highly regarded by many. But there is an undercurrent slowly building for Diamond grit boxes. The Diamond Blaze is based on their previously created Fireburst fuzz. Instead using a pair of germanium transistors over the silicon trannies. Having previous enjoyable experiences using the Fireburst, I was quite interested in checking this thing out.

Before I get into anything else, I must make a disclaimer: I love fuzz, it is my favorite form of grit out there, only thing coming close for me is tube distortion or overdrive. I'm usually one of the first to notice when a new fuzz pedal has arrived at Rogue Guitar Shop. I will however as well approach this from the direction of a person who isn't much of a fan of fuzz. This way you'll get where I'm coming from with my opinions regardless of yours!

Controls and features:

The control set consists of just four easily understandable knobs to tweak. Volume, which obviously contols the overall volume. Gain, which is essentially the fuzz knobby. Treble and Bass make up the EQ section of the pedal. You read that right, a fuzz with an EQ section. While not the only instance of this, it is not a common fuzz feature. What's truly interesting though is the implementation of the EQ system. It is of the Baxandal variety, if you cut any one of the frequencies below 12:00 you're effectively boosting the mids. So you can REALLY boost the mids if you turn both before 12:00 and effectively scoop the mids by having both after noon.

The Baxandal is perhaps my personal favorite form of EQ, it provides massive flexibility while being very simple to dial in. Generally a three band isn't much more flexable, save from the fact that you can boost all three bands at once. But generally creates a more muddy sound.

Sounds/Applications:

Being a fuzz lover and all of that jazz, of course I was excited to get this thing plugged in. Before even doing so, I had the memory of using a Fireburst in my head. Which was based on a 1980's type fuzz sound, on a highly modified 60's style fuzz platform. The Blaze however with it's germanium transistors and slightly warmer voicing fill in the 1990's and actually the 1960's this time! I was expecting sort of their take on the ultimate germanium Fuzz Face. Truth be told, that's not far from the results. Though the guts are a fair bit more complex than any Fuzz Face I've seen, so I view it as totally it's own thing. I knew Diamond had something interesting up their collective sleeves, when it comes to dialing this thing in. My suspicions were not incorrect, this isn't the typical “dime the gain, crank the volume” type of fuzz.

Opinions:

There are no suggested settings in the instructions, in this case I find that a very good thing. With control names as ubiquitous as these. I plugged it into a just barely breaking up amp, put all knobs aside from Gain at noon. When I turned it on, I quickly adjusted the volume as to slightly boost my amp. Then I strummed a few chords, even with the Gain all the way down you still get a nice level of grit. Very mildly fuzzy tones, close to that of a nice overdrive pedal. But this is a fuzz pedal, those sounds are not why you buy a fuzz, am I right? So I didn't waste any time to crank the Gain to noon. I was presented with a nice warm fuzz tone, with a very flat eq signature. No flubbiness or piercing highs to be found here. Turning the Gain to about 1:30, I got it right where I wanted it. Sweet sustaining fuzz with guitar volume control clean-up. The Bass control has dominion over the low end of the spectrum, how low you ask? <150Hz! Overall I was very pleased with the expected versatility of this eq. Turning the Gain all the way up knocks this thing into Tone Bender-ish territory, albiet a little less gain. What we have here is a unique fuzz face killer that's incredibly versatile. I don't see how anyone could not find a way to dial this in to fit their rig.

Final Verdict:

While it didn't blow me away, it is a great utilitarian piece that could have a place in nearly anyone's rig. It's just a very easy to dial in and sweet sounding fuzz with no frills.

Rating: 8/10

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