Look up Andy Fuchs in a thesaurus and you’ll find his name synonymous with tonemeister. As one of the prominent boutique sound smiths of today, he builds some of the finest sounding tube amps available (check out our review of his Tripledrive Supreme). Of course, hand-wired, boutique, made-in-the-USA, tube amps tend to cost far more than mere mortals can often afford.
For those of you whose tone budget doesn’t have a few thousand dollars to spend on another amp, Andy Fuchs can now hook you up at a fraction of the cost, but with all the great tone you’ve come to expect from gear bearing his name.
|Documentation & Support||10%|
|OVERALL RATING = 3.6, which earns them a WIHO Award!
3.6 stars or better: Outstanding, WIHO Award
3 stars or better: Worth considering
2 stars or better: Suited to specific needs
1 star or less: Not recommended
The new line of Fuchs Plush FX pedals provide boutique amp tone in a box — stomp box, that is. We had the opportunity to spend a few short weeks getting to know Andy’s assortment of drive, boost, distortion, compression, and tremolo pedals. It’s clear that Fuchs has a winning line of pedals on his hands — get ready to wait in line for these gorgeous sounding pedals.
With the Plus FX pedals, it’s easier than ever to put some legendary Fuchs tone in your rig. Our only real concern? Figuring out what to dump from our existing pedal board to make room for a few of these beauties!
Tired of “clever” boutique pedals with off-the-wall control knobs and language you never thought existed? We found the line of Fuchs Plush FX Pedals to be extremely logical in their implementation and packed with tone that will satisfy the most critical ear or tone snob.
All Fuchs Plush FX pedals are housed in rugged, cast aluminum boxes sure to withstand a good beating, like when you hit your guitar tech over the head with one because he wants to pull it off your pedal board to jam with his personal band.
Simplicity at its best – the Fuchs Plush FX pedals contain only the necessary controls, clearly labeled for what they are. On the Plush Cream and Extreme Cream overdrive units, you’ll find the basic Level, Tone and Gain controls. But on The Valve Job and the Plush Drive, the units feature an additional “Touch” control.
The Touch control allows you to dial in the desired attack in relation to pick response — a feature we’d love to have on some of our tube amps (more on this cool feature in Usability).
The Pure Gain pedal contains a single control allowing you to dial values in between Buffer and Boost. The Royal Plush (compressor) contains a Level and Bias control, and the Crème de la Trem contains simple Rate and Depth controls.
The full line-up of pedals tested includes:
- Royal Plush (compressor): Level and Bias controls.
- Pure Gain: A single control for adjusting levels from Buffered to Boost.
- The Valve Job: Touch, Level, Tone and Gain controls. One 12AX7 tube.
- Crème de la Trem: Rate and Depth controls.
- The Plush Drive: Touch, Level, Tone and Gain controls.
- Plush Cream: Level, Tone and Gain controls.
- Extreme Cream: The Extreme Cream pedal features two independent Plush Cream pedals in one box containing duplicate sets of Level, Tone and Gain controls. The pedal is also equipped with two footswitches — one for On/Off and the other for channel selection.
All On/Off controls feature Carling-style footswitches. We would have preferred metal control knobs opposed to the plastic knobs for controls, but we make it a rule to try not to stomp on our pedal knobs.
Internally, you’ll find only the best that manufacturing technology has to offer including, metal shaft controls, Neutrik connectors, premium passive components, true bypass, and mil-spec fiberglass two-sided circuit board construction for consistent, long term usability. To that end, the pedals come with a five-year warranty.
The Valve Job pedal contains a 12AX7 tube to create that smooth overdrive of a tube amplifier.
As with most effects pedals, the Fuchs Plush FX pedals can be powered by a Nine Volt battery or AC power supply.
Each pedal features a blue LED to identify the On/Off status of the pedal.
Stomp pedals have been the preference for most performers for years due to their typical ease of use and the ability to make adjustments in real time without having to navigate through the menus and programming involved with most multi-effects processors. The Fuchs line of pedals contain only the core controls for each effect making setting changes extremely simple and quick. The guess work of figuring out control functions is totally removed from the process.
The Extreme Cream pedal is the largest of all the pedals since it contains two separate Plush Cream pedals in one box. Having two sets of Level, Tone and Gain (one per channel) allows you to dial in your desired rhythm and lead settings separately. The Channel Select footswitch enables you to toggle between the two settings while the On/Off footswitch provides true bypass operation (all the pedals feature true bypass).
In addition, the pedal is equipped with two separate, blue LED lights corresponding to each channel. For ease in identifying which channel is engaged, the corresponding LED will blink repeatedly to identify which channel is currently selected. This configuration made it easy for us to select our desired sound (channel) prior to switching the pedal On.
We absolutely loved the Touch feature of The Valve Job and the Plush Drive pedals, which worked extremely well. By adjusting this knob, we were able to adjust the attack characteristics of our playing, similar to how sag affects the characteristic of overdrive. By adjusting the Touch sensitivity, our picking attack ranged from a very plush, loose feel to very definitive and accentuated.
These days, we’re all using some sort of AC power supply with our pedal boards, but in case you find yourself in the minority, you’ll need to have a screwdriver handy to perform battery replacement.
Anyone who has spent time playing a Fuchs amp (as we have) knows that Andy really knows how to dial in that tone sweet spot. The Fuchs Plush FX line of pedals carries on the fine Fuchs tone tradition, and after testing each pedal, the names Plush, Cream, Crème de la Trem, and Royal Plush really do fit the characteristics of each corresponding pedal. When it comes to boutique pedals, we all expect true bypass and quiet operation. No question about it — the Fuchs pedals provide all that. But what really wowed us was the clarity and richness of each effect.
In the Plush Drive and Cream pedals, the overdrive was extremely smooth (and yes, creamy) at any level, providing excellent coloration without diminishing the clarity and tone of the actual note itself. Fuchs couldn’t have said it better using the analogy “Robben in a box” or comparing the sound to other popular boutique amplifiers such as Dumble and Two-Rock. The Drive and Cream pedals were designed to give you comparable tone from a pedal without having to spend thousands on a boutique amp, and they do a really great job. The gain controls on each pedal responded very effectively at all level settings.
By comparison to other overdrive pedals, the Plush Drive pedal provided subtle crunch tones similar to that of a vintage Fender to aggressive crunch tones comparable to Boogie and Bogner. Even at low gain settings, the tone and effect still maintained excellent presence and clarity.
The Plush Cream pedal was definitely one of our favorites in the bunch, providing long singing sustain while capturing all the harmonic overtones we could squeeze out of the guitar. In comparison with the Plush Drive pedal, besides the amount of gain, the tone seemed more focused on the higher end of the EQ range, enabling the sound to ring out and cut through with excellent definition.
The Plush Drive pedal provided less overdrive and sustain than the Cream while enhancing the full body tone and richness of the signal. In trying to decide between the two pedals, we decided that we need to own both of them! Maybe we can talk Andy Fuchs into creating an Extreme Cream Deuce combining the Plush Cream and Plush Drive in one box.
The Pure Gain pedal was amazing as it provided that “Plexi” overdrive sound without the hiss and noise found in so many gain boosters. It really sounded like an authentic Marshall without all the hiss and hum! (Nice considering we played it through our Mesa/Boogie Lone Star.) This pedal is extremely useful especially when using a guitar configured with single coil pickups. We were able to make our strat sing as if it had humbucker pickups instead.
Unlike most Gain pedals on the market, this pedal truly delivered quiet operation. And giving us up to 25 db of gain, sky’s the limit for sending your overdrive pedal or the overdrive section of your favorite amp into the stratosphere. Also, the Pure Gain pedal allows you to use it as an active buffer, turning your high-impedance signal to low impedance. This pedal makes an excellent choice for driving large pedal board configurations or long cable runs.
Another one of our favorites was the Crème de la Trem. Extremely musical, this pedal was modeled after the Fender Brownface tremolo, providing level variation and subtle tonal shifts. As with the other pedals, it provided smooth, noise-free operation while maintaining the integrity of the notes we played. The tremolo effect provided a very three-dimensional sound comparable to that from a Leslie speaker with just a hint of chorusing effect as well.
Documentation and Product Support
The Fuchs Plush FX Pedals we received for review didn’t come with any documentation other than a brochure explaining the characteristics of each pedal. As with most music gear, we like to get some sample settings from the manufacturer to help us hear a product as they envisioned, even if the product’s tone is as infinitely usable as these particular pedals.
For most individuals purchasing a boutique pedal, though, we expect that you will immediately familiar with how to make use of these products on your pedal boards. [Editor’s Note: We’re told that the manuals will be published shortly on the Plush Pedals website.]
The Fuchs Plush FX pedals are priced very competitively with other top-of-the-line boutique pedals. Taking into account the superb construction, high-quality components, and unsurpassed tone, we found these pedals worthy of skipping those three-martini lunches for a short while.
The Fuchs Plush FX line of pedals can be found at the following retail prices:
- Plush Cream $199.00
- Extreme Cream $279.00
- The Plush Drive $229.00
- The Valve Job $259.00
- Pure Gain $179.00
- Royal Plush $199.00
- Crème de la Trem $199.00