To say there are a lot of ‘Big M’ circuits out there would be an understatement. But despite over 50 years of revisions and reissues, the basic circuit has always stayed pretty much the same (with the notable exception of op-amp alternatives like our Siva). The reason why certain versions sound different is almost entirely down to the different parts used, and what flavour they add to the mix.
That’s where the inspiration for the American Geek came from. We’ve taken the bones of the legend and reanimated them with multiple clipping options and precise control over the EQ, giving you the flexibility and freedom to dial in ‘your’ version of the classic.
EQ is the secret sauce that elevates these types of pedals from good to great. So just like our op-amp version, the Siva, the American Geek comes loaded with two extra Shift controls that alter the capacitance of the tone stack. That’s just a fancy way of saying they affect the filter sweep and cut-off, giving you more control and creativity, along with sounds that this circuit normally can’t reach.
The American Geek also features our signature diode rotary switch, which lets you choose between eight clipping types for added versatility:
- Germanium: Smooth, sweet, and classically ‘amp-like’.
- Silicon: Louder, brighter, and a little bit brittle.
- LED: Louder again, with less saturation and more punch.
- Asymmetrical germanium: A more aggressive version of germanium.
- Asymmetrical silicon: A more aggressive version of silicon.
- Asymmetrical LED: A more aggressive version of LED.
- Transistor/MOSFET: Similar to silicon, but sweeter and crunchier.
- No diodes: Loads of output and much less gain.
And for those times where there’s no such thing as ‘too much gain’, the American Geek’s Blast footswitch turns the drive all the way up, and activates a second volume control for seamless transitions between low and high-gain sounds.
There are seven controls that you’ll use to tame the American Geek:
- Gain: Gain control
- Tone: EQ for the output signal
- Shift 1: Tone shift high pass
- Shift 2: Tone shift low pass
- Level: Output volume
- Blast: Output volume (in Blast mode)
- Rotary: Clipping diode selector
It also has two footswitches:
- Engage: Turn it on and off
- Blast: Activate Blast mode
The American Geek features both momentary and latching switching, which means you can hold down one of the footswitches to temporarily engage an effect and then release it to return to normality.
Not to mention:
- Top-mounted in/out jacks
- Power requirements: 9V DC (center-negative) supply
- Current draw: 126 mA
- (W)67 mm x (L)122 mm x (H)60 mm
Please don’t try to power this pedal with anything other than a 9V DC supply. If you do, your shiny new pedal might stop working, and nobody wants that.