Black Math - Mask Audio Electronics

Oct 21 2021
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mask audio electronics black math

The Black Math by Mask Audio Electronics is my favorite Big Muff style pedal of all the ones I've tried.

I'm a huge Jack White fan and I was always intrigued by a certain part of his live sound (particularly White Stripes era). His heavily distorted guitar sounds not only massive, it also feels like the speaker is just on the brink of ripping apart. And there's this gated, velcro-ish thing going on.

This is one of my favorite White Stripes performances and you can clearly hear what I mean (also: you're welcome):

Turns out, having a linear boost (Jack famously used the MXR Micro Amp*) slamming the front of the Big Muff, and the Big Muff going into his cranked Silvertone Amp, does that.

Somehow, Alec from MAE managed to capture this beautifully brutal sound in one pedal. There is a built in boost that hits the front-end of the Big Muff circuit internally.

Besides being a massive sounding fuzz box, the Black Math sounds really good at low gain settings. That's practically unheard of for Big Muff style pedals.

Additionally, there is a blowout switch that lets you bypass the LEDs of the first clipping stage. If that's too technical for you, just know that you'll understand the name "blowout" when you flip the switch to the down position and listen.

If there is one gripe I could have with this pedal, it's that there is a mid control hidden as an internal knob. If you want to access that, you have to open up the pedal. I understand this might mess up the design, but please gimme that control as an accessible knob on the outside. Truth be told, the Black Math sounds just fine with the factory setting. After playing around with it a bit, I concluded that the factory setting sounds best and closed the pedal again.

I truly love this pedal. I paid the full price for it and would do so again.

Signal Chain

  • Epiphone SG Special with Lollar Firebird pickups (bridge pickup)
  • Black Math
  • Strymon Iridium (Chime)
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
  • Garageband


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