Hot Silicon2 is based on the legendary Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face. Specifically, the version that was produced by Dallas Music Industries, Inc between 1986 and 1990. DMI, Inc also manufactured Crest Audio power amplifiers and Kelsey Mixing boards. These Fuzz Faces came to be referred to as "Crest Reissues" because they were built in the same factory as the Crest amps. In fall of 1986, a young Dave Fox (founder of Foxrox), while working for DMI, Inc, brought the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face back from extinction. These Fuzz Faces were based on the silicon version from the 1970's but they also had a tone all their own. Read Dave's account of those early days below.
FUZZ: Typical setting: All the way up, or backed off a little. You can dial in a massive range of great sounds just by playing around with the GRIT control, the FUZZ control, and your guitar’s volume and tone controls. A 1K reverse-log taper pot is used for spreading the range out evenly.
GRIT: Typical setting: 12:00. Grit allows you to fine-tune the bias of the transistors. Recreate the sound of miss-matched transistors or a dying battery. Tones range from smooth to gated when fully clockwise.
VOLUME: Typical setting: Adjust to match guitar volume or set to maximum for overdriving amp.
POWER: On/off switch for saving battery life when the pedal is not in use. This is a convenience feature for those who use a pedal board and prefer to use a battery. There is no need to unplug the input jack when not in use. The Power On/Off switch shuts off external power as well. Power is automatically disconnected when there is nothing plugged into the input jack.
INPUT PAD: This switch adds some resistance at the input of the fuzz. It's similar to turning your guitar volume knob down a small amount. This decreases the loading at the input, resulting in a clearer sound from the guitar. Input pad can also be useful for interfacing the fuzz circuit with various other pedals.
EXTERNAL POWER: Hot Silicon2 can be daisy chained with other effects, but this may produce noise. Isolated power is recommenced.. Most pedal board power supplies and wall-wart power adaptors have isolated grounds, but check owner's manuals to be sure.
INTERFACING, PEDAL ORDER AND MORE
The Fuzz circuit has a low impedance input and sounds best with your guitar plugged directly into the input. Other pedals inserted between guitar and Fuzz can cause undesirable interaction, especially pedals with buffered-bypass. If any pedals are inserted, they should have true-bypass. Hot Silicon2 has a PAD switch that can be used to raise the input impedance, which can solve problems due to interaction.
Like the Crest Fuzz Faces, Hot Silicon2 uses a pair of BC109C silicon transistors. Other silicon transistors, such as BC183L, BC109, and BC108, can be substituted upon request.
The sound of Hot Silicon2 has a rich high end and there is no shortage of gain and sustain at normal playing levels. At high gain settings, it can get unruly, breaking into oscillation and noise. Under certain conditions, it can even pick up radio broadcasts, although measures have been taken to avoid this. It can also oscillate when fed by a wah wah pedal. While these might seem like bad things, they are part of what it takes to recreate certain classic sounds, including many of the live Hendrix recordings from 1969/1970, such as Woodstock, Band of Gypsies and Isle of White. With the right settings, this fuzz can be tamed, but the out-of-control aspect is what makes it unique. If you would prefer that your wah pedal does not interact with the fuzz, check out the Foxrox Wah Retrofit.