The Fuzz-Wah plug-in emulates classic wah wah effects often used with a clavinet, and it adds compression and fuzz distortion effects as well. The name wah wah comes from the sound it produces. It has been a popular effect—usually a pedal effect—with electric guitarists since the days of Jimi Hendrix. The pedal controls the cutoff frequency of a bandpass, lowpass, or—less commonly—highpass filter.

Getting to Know the Fuzz-Wah Interface

The Fuzz-Wah interface is broken down into the following sections.

Figure. Fuzz-Wah window.
  • Effect Order buttons: Select whether the wah wah effect precedes the fuzz effect in the signal chain—Wah-Fuzz—or vice versa—Fuzz-Wah. See Effect Order Buttons.
  • Wah parameters: Provide control over the type and tone of the wah wah effect. See Wah Parameters.
  • Auto Wah parameters: Set the depth and envelope times for the automatic wah wah effect. See Auto Wah Parameters.
  • Fuzz parameters: Set the compression ratio, and control the tone and level of the integrated distortion circuit. See Fuzz Parameters.

Effect Order Buttons

These buttons determine the signal flow of the Fuzz-Wah effect. Click Wah-Fuzz or Fuzz-Wah to choose the desired flow.

Figure. Effect Order buttons.

Note that the Fuzz-Wah plug-in features an integrated compression circuit. The compressor always precedes the fuzz effect. When Wah-Fuzz is selected, the compressor is positioned between the wah wah and the fuzz effect. When Fuzz-Wah is selected, however, the compressor is placed first in the signal chain.

Wah Parameters

This group of parameters controls the tone and behavior of the wah wah effect.

Figure. Wah parameters
  • Auto Gain button: The wah wah effect can cause wide variations in the output level. Turning Auto Gain on compensates for this behavior, and limits the output signal dynamics (see Setting the Wah Wah Level with Auto Gain).
  • Wah Level knob: Sets the amount of the wah-filtered signal.
  • Relative Q slider: Adjusts the main filter peak, relative to the model setting, thereby obtaining a sharper or softer wah wah sweep. When set to a value of 0, the original peak level setting of the model is active.
  • Pedal Range slider: Sets the sweep range of the Wah Wah filter—when controlled with a MIDI foot pedal. This parameter is designed to compensate for the differences in mechanical range between a MIDI foot pedal and a classic Wah Wah pedal (see Setting the Pedal Range).

Auto Wah Parameters

In addition to using MIDI foot pedals, you can control the Wah Wah effect with the Auto Wah feature, which continually performs a filter sweep across the entire range. See Using the Fuzz-Wah.

Figure. Auto Wah parameters.
  • Depth knob: Sets the depth of the Auto Wah effect. When set to zero the automatic Wah Wah function is disabled.
  • Attack knob: Sets the time it takes for the Wah Wah filter to fully open.
  • Release knob: Sets the time it takes for the Wah Wah filter to close.

Fuzz Parameters

These parameters control the integrated distortion and compression circuits. The compressor always precedes the Fuzz effect.

Figure. Fuzz parameters.
  • Comp (Compression) Ratio knob: Sets the compression ratio.
  • Fuzz Gain knob: Sets the level of the Fuzz, or distortion, effect.
  • Fuzz Tone knob: Adjusts the tonal color of the fuzz effect. Low settings tend to be warmer, and high settings are brighter and harsher.

Using the Fuzz-Wah

The following section provides practical tips for the Fuzz-Wah parameters.

Setting the Wah Wah Level with Auto Gain

The Wah Wah effect can cause the output level to vary widely. Turning Auto Gain on compensates for this tendency and keeps the output signal within a more stable range.

To hear the difference Auto Gain can make
  1. Switch Auto Gain to on.

  2. Raise the effect level to a value just below the mixer’s clipping limit.

  3. Make a sweep with a high relative Q setting.

  4. Switch Auto Gain to off, and repeat the sweep.

    Important: Make sure to set a conservative master output level for your host application before trying this. Failure to do so may result in damage to your hearing or speakers.

Setting the Pedal Range

Common MIDI foot pedals have a much larger mechanical range than most classic Wah Wah pedals.

The sweep range of the Wah Wah filter is set with the Pedal Range parameters. The highest and lowest possible values reached by a MIDI foot pedal are graphically represented by a gray bracket around the Pedal Position slider (the slider represents the current position of the Wah Wah pedal).

You can set the upper and lower limits of the range independently by dragging the left and right handles of the slider bracket. You can move the entire range by dragging the center section of the slider bracket.