Fuchs Extreme Cream
The Fuchs Audio Technologies Extreme Cream is a dual channel overdrive pedal based on their single channel Plush Cream model. It is made right here in the U.S.A. along with all the other Fuchs products. This unit is of the highest quality and carries a 5-year warranty. Now let’s get down to business and have some fun with this pedal!
On the Bench: All Fuchs products are known for their build quality and the Extreme Cream is no exception. The housing is made of powder coated cast aluminum and sports 3 knobs per channel with heavy duty foot switches. It is a neat and clean package that measures approximately 4-3/4″ x 5-1/2″ and 2″ high so as not to take up too much real estate on the ol’ pedalboard. There is a 9v jack for use with a power supply or you can use the 9v battery and the pedal is true bypass.
The two channels of the Extreme Cream are called Warm and Hot. The Hot channel is identical to the single channel Plush Cream while the Warm channel has a slightly different voice and clipping structure. Each channel has controls for Gain, Tone and Level. Nice and simple. A very cool feature of this pedal is the LED annunciation. When you are in either channel a corresponding LED is lit to let you know which channel you are using. Now here is the cool part. When you hit the on/off switch and are not using the pedal the LED of the channel that you were using blinks! This is very useful because you may go back to use the pedal later in the set and forget which channel you were in. Some dual channel overdrive pedals annunciating LEDs just turn off and it’s anybody’s guess which channel you were using. Very cool Andy!
Under the hood the workmanship is top-notch and all the high grade components are very neatly mounted and meticulously wired. The Switchcraft jacks will last nearly forever as will the other components.
In the Shop: This test was done with two very different guitars. My Tele-Gib project guitar with full size Lollar Imperial Humbuckers and Lentz S-type model with true single coil pickups, light weight ash body and maple neck through my 5F6-A Bassman clone using Mercury Magnetics transformers, Sozo caps, carbon comp resistors, a Larry Rodgers tweed covered pine cabinet and 4- Weber VST, 10A125 speakers. Current production Sovtek 12AX7LPS’s and Tung Sol 5881’s were used and the GZ34 was an N.O.S. General Electric. The amp was hand built by me here at 300Guitars. I set up the amp with the Volume at about 12 o’clock, Treble 2 o’clock, Bass 9 o’clock, Middle 2 o’clock and Presence at 2 o’clock.
Starting with the Tele-Gib plugged into the Bright channel of the amp I set the Warm channel with the Level set at 2 o’clock, Tone at 10 o’clock and the Gain at 10 o’clock. I was able to get a nice crunchy rock type rhythm sound that was very responsive. The sound cleaned up nicely as I rolled back the volume control. Each note within a chord had nice separation and there was no mud whatsoever. It felt and sounded like I was playing through an amp, not a pedal. Switching over to the Hot channel with the Level set at 2 o’clock, Tone at 10 o’clock, and the Gain at 1 o’clock I got a searing lead tone that jumped out of the amp and was perfect for single note lines and long sustaining chords. This channel is very dynamic and responds to your picking technique like a tube amp. Each note was juicy, and as the name implies “creamy”. The sound reminded me of a luxurious, refined TS type of overdrive but with more gain and dynamics. Oh yeah and very, very smooth. Again this channel responded very well to the guitars volume control. By rolling the Tele-Gibs tone control back I could get an even fatter serving of Extreme Cream and this sound worked well for Clapton-esque and Santana sounds. It’s all there in a pedal!
Moving over to my Lentz S-type was a whole different ball game. With the Warm channel set with the Level at 2 o’clock, Tone at 11 o’clock and the Gain at 11 o’clock the slightly dirty sound of a Strat was all there ready to rock. I could chug out some Texas blues style rhythms and throw in some hot sounding single note lines. Ron Wood anyone? Switching to the Hot channel with the Level at 3 o’clock, Tone at 10 o’clock and the Gain at 2 o’clock that searing lead tone was back. The neck pickup reminded me of the SRV Voodoo Chile tone and also a “brick in the wall era” Gilmour sound. Notes felt as though they were jumping out of the amp.
In both channels the Extreme Cream was quiet and there was no pop or noise while switching channels or on and off.
On the Gig: This is a great pedal for gigs because of the versatility of the two channels. I used the Lentz S-type and 4×10 Bassman clone for the gig. I had absolutely no problem getting the overdrive sounds I needed for the entire preformance. In the Warm channel, chords chunked along and never, ever got muddled staying clear and articulate everywhere on the neck. This channel worked great for blues soloing and single notes sang without effort. But just because it is clear and articulate doesn’t mean it is thin sounding because it’s not.
Notes seemed to jump out of my guitar while in the Hot channel and the pedal seemed to meet me half way while playing solos. I noticed I was not working as hard and it took much less effort to get notes to sing and sustain. Long sustained notes trailed of into harmonic feedback that was controllable but not contained.
The LED annunciation already described is very effective in a live situation. One thing worth mentioning is that the knobs do not have a very pronounced line or pointer. On a dim stage it may be hard to see where each knob is pointing. I spoke with Andy about this and he is looking into a “field friendly”knob for future production. You can easily replace the knobs yourself if this is an issue or draw a line with a Sharpie on the top of the knob. Problem solved.
Final Analysis: Two channels of great sounding and completely useable overdrive in one box. Because of the build quality I would expect that this pedal will have a long maintenance free life. The Extreme Cream is simple and it is very easy to dial up a sound in either channel. No need for lengthy tweaking or fussing to start rockin’. This pedal will save you room on your board and add versatility. Excellent for players that like the TS sound but wish that a TS would go just a little further in all areas. Great pedal from a great company.
For more information visit Fuchs Audio Technology.