Review: NoiseKick FX Custom Pedals

Any stomp you can dream up   03-Sep-12

    MP4 15:47 mins    

If you don’t know who Noisekick FX are, then all is not lost. Listen up and this will be a smooth ride.
It’s basically one very dedicated American and his workshop; hailing from Maryland, Matt Zuckerman not only builds the Noisekick stock stomps, but will also work with you to deliver something to your specifications.
From the moment Matt got in contact with Sonic Amped it was clear that he had mad passion for pedals, which is lucky because the guys who usually order custom builds from Noisekick are just as passionate, and sometimes a little mad too. Most guitarists are.

Earlier in the year I interviewed Matt for Amped, and he said that he enjoyed working with people to come up with their dream pedals:

“The process usually starts with me and the customer brainstorming,” he said. “I'm completely open to customer input. Noisekick is all about customization.

“You can choose almost any aesthetic option and make it your own; down to the LED colour, knobs, even the orientation and positioning of the input/output jacks.”

After having various conversations about dream pedals rigs and talking a lot about fuzz, I decided I knew what I wanted my dream pedal to be. The surprise bit was that the prices Matt was offering were pretty competitive, which is either a very good sign or a very bad sign.

I decided I wanted two boosts, one mosfet and one op amp, then I wanted a really gnarly destructive fuzz, and a classic crunch.

This was all a bit much for one pedal, so we split it over two casings and had the boosts on the left with the fuzz and crunch on the right.

Then I had a continuous design spread across both pedals to signify that they were all part of the same beast - a half moon on each.

So essentially what I ended up with was two custom built pedals, nothing too adventurous, just all of my distortions and boosts in one place.

But what do I think of my new hand built pedals? Well the boost section is great, a boost is a boost at the end of the day and they work how I wanted them to. The mosfet is warmer and adds a nice crunchy punch in the mid range, and the op amp gives a clean boost and makes my Gibson BR9 amp sound somehow even more vintage.

The fuzz stage is electrifying, with a tone, volume, fuzz, and madness control, I have a good little selection of things to mess up my sound. The fuzz is thick and when it is whacked up on full and used in conjunction with the madness control, it sounds great.

The madness control affects a noise gate and does some contouring, basically the higher it goes it tends to have a bitcrushing sort of effect on the sound, going from Jack White style to Muse style and everything in between.

The crunch section sounds pretty golden when I use it with my Egnater Rebel 20, it doesn’t add too much of its own signature to my amp but just pushes the gain and volume a little bit harder with an emphasis on the mid range.

Overall the brethren pedals are everything I currently need in terms of distortion, especially considering that I usually always play with a little bit of break-up on my amp anyway.

When you then take into account that a fuzz pedal, a crunch pedal, and a couple of separate boosts, encased in two compartments with a custom design would cost you £199/$299, you’ve got be pretty happy with that.

There is also free shipping in America - not bad. I would say that the pedals are little more delicate than those such as my Foxx Electronics Tone Machine, which would survive a firefight, but as long as you velcro everything down on your pedal board then there won’t be a problem. The stomp switches are solid but the knobs on my particular pedals are a little small and dainty.

I try and look after my stuff though, and I’m really happy with what I’ve got, they’ve become a staple part of my rig and I just couldn’t live without the fuzz. I asked for something ridiculous and Matt gave it to me.