Who: Wren and Cuff
What: Box of War
Price (MSRP/PAID): $225/$199
Power Supply: Yes 9V Center Neg (Boss Style)
Size: 6″ x 3.6″ x 3″ (Approx: including jacks and knobs)
Available from: Direct / Dealers
Review Date: 1/16/2012
O.K. I lied….
If you follow the forums etc. you may know that I had said the Tall Font Russian would be the last Wren and Cuff Big Muff vintage recreation.
Well after a long time spent trying to make it happen, I was finally able to get a custom box (enclosure) made that I’d been trying to make happen for a long time…
Believe it or not, it’s very difficult to get a custom metal box made!
What is it? Well many of my fellow Big Muff geeks have already figured it out.
The “Box of War” is a true recreation of the EH “Civil War” Sov***’s. I say “true recreation” because we pride ourselves on truly digging into the vintage units we recreate and go to great lengths to duplicate all aspects of the original circuits to the best of our ability.
The tone is in the details I like to say…
Rest assured we have spared nothing in researching this rare, much-loved, but cheaply made BM pi.
This box is HEAVY DUTY! Not at all one of the thin aluminum type enclosures you see on many cheap pedals. When you hold this pedal, it is heavy. The idea behind this was to make an enclosure as heavy duty as the old Russians but with a smaller footprint and of course super high quality everything.
It can also double as a weapon if you get in a scrape after a show. A nice thump on the head with your BOW should fend off any potential threats.
Reportedly favored by David Gilmour, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), and many others this is your chance to own a vintage recreation that is made to be beat-up.
Very closely related to the Tall Font BM’s, the Civil War’s have a bit darker and a bit fuzzier tone. Like the Tall Fonts, they’ve got less output and are less fuzzy than most other muffs but are cherished for their woody sustain and presence. These beasts became a secret weapon for many but usually required two or three back-up pedals due to the poor quality components to be sure a pro-level player could make it through a tour using one on their board.
Since my first exposure to Wren and Cuff in 2009, I’ve kept on an eye on developments there with a keen eye. I’m a rabid muff fan to be sure, but I’d like to think I’ve gotten a little jaded over the years! When I heard they we doing a Civil War clone, in a cool custom box no less, I decided that was a train I wasn’t going to miss. Over the last six months I’ve fooled around with it at band practice, recorded with it for songwriting demos, and compared it against the origional Civil War Muff that I have. I can honestly say that it is every bit of the origional on the sonic front, lacking only a little of the total volume of the particular one that I have. It features significantly more dynamics than many of it’s muff-y brethren, and can even push out little sub-bursts when the tone control is rolled all the way down. Like many muffs, the significant mid scoop will mean that standing out in a band context will prove mighty difficult, especially in situations with multiple crunchy guitars.
The custom enclosure is attractive, and extremely solid. I do think that an opportunity was missed to include a battery compartment of some kind, since the enclosure is much larger than required by the circuit. This means that the only means of access is the four screw method. It’s not a huge deal, but make sure you change that battery before you leave for practice! I also noticed while I was in there that the numbers of the transistors have been scratched off. This doesn’t really bother me, but circuit obfuscation is always one of those things that confuses me, especially when the pedals in questions are actually clones of existing pedals.
Bottom Line: Mojo aside, this nails the civil war muff sound, is smaller, and less likely to break down.
Photo Gallery and Video:
Video is a little different than my normal, but I think it pretty much covers it.
As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment or let me know Note: A rating of 5 = acceptable and should be considered a ‘good’ basic score
|Sound Description: Big Muff… only bigger|