Eric Barbour, the head honcho at Metasonix, makes some very interesting tube effects pedals - his colourful language and frankly x-rated press releases are always a joy to read - assuming you're not easily offended that is.
On show at the Sweet Noise stand along with the Buchla 200E and Bob Williams Modular System were Erics latest, the coyly titled Butt Probe. Made entirely of vaccum tubes, Eric has sourced some unusual valves not originally intended for audio use and combined them into the TX-2 (the Butt Probe's more publishable name).
Instability is inherent in a circuit with this much gain and the TX-2 adds yet more unpleasantness by adding a valve to modulate the distortion - he discribes it as "a very bad bandpass filter", the frequency can is modulated via a built-in LFO which can be disabled by turning down the SCREW (depth) knob, or inserting a 1/4 jack into the CV in. You can then tune the Filter Freq with the SCREW knob, which lelts you tune the filter manually.
Would you buy a used tube from this man?
We enjoyed a few moments tweaking the FIST, REAM and SCREW controls while Eric watched. We are not alone, apparently Eric has administered the same to Metalica, Nine Inch Nails and many more.
The Butt Probe is available from April 2005 at $499