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Help with "crackling static" on AC15 + Muff'N

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Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 25
Topic starter  

The Set-up:
I'm playing through a Vox AC15CC that I picked up in August as my apartment-bound practice amp (so I never get to crank it.) The amp was a floor-model at Sam Ash but looked like it had only been out on the floor for a short time.
For Christmas I was given an Elecktro Harmonix English Muff'n Tube-based over-drive pedal.
I play a Epiphone Les Paul or a Charvel San Dimas.
My ‘dream tone' lays somewhere between Jack White's snarl and Cream's over-driven British Blues.

The Problem:
The English Muff'n sounds great when run into the AC15 except that as soon as I nudge the gain on the pedal up past 8 or 9 o'clock I get a fizzy crackle or static along with the pleasant distortion. Things get worse the more gain I add from the pedal, or the more treble I dial in on the amp, the pedal's EQ of the tone-knob of my guitar. This ‘static' sounds a bit like a nice Fuzz pedal, but it tends to decay quickly and suddenly which really makes it sound bad, which is frustrating because I love the tone I'm getting “behind” the static (if that makes sense) and I could at least USE the fuzziness of the static if it was consistent, but they way it fizzles out suddenly just ruins it for me.

I've only had a couple of practice sessions to sit town and play with settings, but I've mostly tried to run the Muff'n into the amp set for a clean-tone. I've tried running the Muff'n into my Pocket POD and didn't experience the same level of ‘fizzle static' that I get with the AC15, but there may have still been some (it was early in my trouble-shooting process and I don't recall the results as well I should…)

Is there anything I can do here?
Does it sound like there is something faulty in the gear, or is the Muff'n just a bad-match for the AC15?
Any thoughts or suggestions?

-I've cross posted this to the Elecktro Harmonix forum as well... Hope that doesn't ruffle any feathers.-

Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 25
Topic starter  

Following up:
I Sat down last night with the intention of getting to the bottom of the static issue with the English Muff'n + AC15CC. Unfortunately ended my little trouble-shooting session somewhat frustrated.

I first swapped all cables in the chain, and tried the set-up again, this time with my Charvel. I expected the hotter Seymour Duncan pick-ups to exasperate the problem, but to my surprise the static/crackly/fizz seemed to be lessened when I used the Charvel, although it was still present at a level that I found unacceptable.

After much research yesterday I fully anticipated to find microphonic tubes in the AC15, but before breaking out the tools to try the “tap test” on the tubes I took a step back and plugged the Muff'n into my Line6 PocketPOD and which I monitored with headphones. To my frustration the static was still present! And only increasing my annoyance was that the underlying tone was unreal.

So I guess that the problem does not lay with the AC15 after all… I “tap-tested” the tubes in the Muff'n and couldn't hear any microphonic feedback. Just to make sure, I cranked the AC15 and hit a few wall-rattling chords. Damn did that sound sweet. Now I'm asking myself , “is this is a bug or a feature?”

Possibly a bad pedal? Or is this static-y overtone just part of the English Muff'n's unique sound that I can't year in any samples I listen to?

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5582

I am not familiar with your particular pedal, but I owned an Electro Harmonix "muff fuzz" many years ago. This was way back in the early 70's. Back then we called it a "fuzz box" :D

Anyway, they were really noisy pedals when you cranked the gain. You would think they would be better now.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis