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Electro-Harmonix adds analog warmth to the digital domain with innovative Big Muff Pi Hardware Plugin

Electro-Harmonix has debuted its innovative Big Muff Pi Hardware Plugin, which seeks to blur the boundary between analog and digital equipment by delivering genuine Big Muff fuzz pedal tones direct to a DAW.

Though the terms “hardware” and “plugin” seem to contradict one another, the Big Muff Pi Hardware Plugin is actually quite straightforward – thanks to a newly developed Big Muff Pi unit, the tones of a 100 percent analog circuit can be transferred to your DAW of choice via the corresponding software.

Simply put, it’s a standard plugin, but your electric guitar tracks travel through the actual analog circuitry of the Big Muff Pi Hardware Plugin pedal, which itself is a true stereo version of the 1973 Violet Ram’s Head Big Muff.

Not only that, the Big Muff Pi Hardware Plugin harmonic distortion-sustainer can also be used as a standalone pedal, and can integrate with your existing pedalboard for live settings. 

In studio settings, though, is where the magic of the new Big Muff really happens. Compatible with most digital audio workstations, the Big Muff can be opened via the plugin window of a new track, and delivers the sound of real clipping diodes and overdriving transistors rather than software emulations.

As for controls, a classic Muff configuration presents itself, comprising Volume, Tone and Sustain parameters. These are joined by a wealth of new controls, including Tone Wicker and Tone Bypass buttons for further tone tweaking powers. 

The bypass option is pretty self explanatory, but the wicker mode opens up the pedal’s bandwidth to allow more high frequencies through, leading to a brighter and clearer top end.

A footswitch for flicking between the 10 storable presets – which can be tweaked using the digital plugin – is also present, as is a standard bypass footswitch.

When connected to a laptop or computer via the USB port, the Big Muff Pi Plugin also offers the versatility of a two-in/two-out USB audio interface, which can operate with or without the Muff engaged.

As such, there is also a gain control for dialing in the right amount of signal level going into the DAW, as well as a Direct Monitor button, headphone jack and level control.

The Big Muff Pi Hardware Plugin is available now for $329.

Head over to Electro-Harmonix (opens in new tab) to find out more.

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Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.