Upon first glance at the Imperial MKII, you might be intrigued by its charmingly retro appearance. Inspired by the JEN Jumbo fuzz, which is one of our personal favorite vintage fuzzes, the Imperial MKII’s four sliders, textured black paint and bold red graphics shows you can immediately tell that this pedal means business.
If a ripping, royally raucous fuzz, with impeccable manners, is what you seek in your tone conquest or whether you are chasing those soaring Gilmour-esque leads that propel you to the far side of the moon, then look no further than the Imperial MKII.
So, what is the JEN Jumbo Fuzz and what makes it so awesome? JEN Elettronica was an Italian manufacturer who made pedals for Vox, Dallas Arbiter and Sound City (among others), in addition to making equipment under their own brand. The Jumbo Fuzz was their spin on the venerable EHX Big Muff® that swapped the knobs out for sliders and added a nifty germanium noise gate. In terms of sound, the tuning of the Jumbo Fuzz lies somewhere in the Ram’s Head camp - not overly scooped or woofy, with a nice gain range - just a great sounding pedal!
While the Jumbo’s noise gate is a great feature and gives this BMP variant a unique attack with practically zero noise, vintage units vary greatly from one unit to another, with some gating too much and others not at all. Capturing the Jumbo Fuzz’s vibe and redesigning the gate was essential to our Imperial redesign. Let’s dive in…
True to the original SGFX Imperial, the MKII retains our high impedance JFET preamp, giving the low noise floor detail and definition you would expect from any SolidGoldFx pedal. Bass, guitar or synth, stick it anywhere in your effects chain and feel free to ride your volume knob for clean-up - the Imperial’s preamp will respond. While the tone stack is carried over from the original design, a new Contour slider replaces the mids switch, which changes the frequency of the high-pass filter in the tone stack. This allows you to boost or scoop your mids, with every shade in between.
About that noise gate, this is where the Imperial MKII really shines. We’ve swapped out the Jumbo Fuzz’s germanium transistor design with silicon devices and given it an improved envelope generator, to ensure consistency and response throughout. Having fine-tuned the attack and release, not only does the noise gate allow for virtually zero noise, but it also gives the pedal a unique, sharp attack with no loss of sustain at higher fuzz settings. Align this to a nice, dry attack at low settings, and Imperial MKII will pair great with other dirt boxes too. The noise gate will even allow you to add fuzz to a hollow-body, while controlling the howl and feedback should you choose.
Finally, the Imperial MKII package is completed with dual LED indicators (one for bypass and the other indicating the gate status), top jacks, true bypass switching and, of course, our retro sliders and vintage inspired artwork."
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