Collision Devices TARS Fuzz & Filter Effect Pedal Review
The Collision Devices TARS
“Tout ce que tu lis n'est pas vrai”. In English, that means “You’re gonna love this pedal”. Trust me. What isn’t to love? In the constantly evolving world of pedals, the Collision Devices TARS (which stands for “This Audio Reached Singularity”) is a great example of innovation running headfirst into meticulous craftsmanship. Made in France, this pedal blends classic analog circuitry and modern features, and showcases Collision Devices’ commitment to pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the world of tone manipulation.
The Signal Path to Happiness:
What makes this pedal unique is its carefully orchestrated signal path, beginning with a JFET transistor input stage that sets the stage for what's to come. The Gain control, strategically placed after this input stage, allows you to shape your core tone with accuracy, and it’s followed by silicon gain and clipping stages, which deliver a harmonically rich overdrive that can range from subtle grit to searing saturation.
Control Freaks, Rejoice:
The TARS offers an impressive degree of tonal sculpting ability with its CutOff control. This fader dictates the cutoff frequency, spanning a vast frequency range from 15Hz to a staggering 44kHz (higher than human hearing). This feature enables you to sculpt your tone with surgical precision and is part of what makes TARS such a unique piece. Whether you desire smooth, vintage-style filtering or aggressive sweeps, the CutOff control has you covered. 
Resonance is where the TARS truly comes alive though, allowing you to intensify the signal around the cutoff frequency. Dial it back for subtle warmth or crank it up for a resonant, almost vocal-like quality. The LPF VOL control, acting as a VCA, also lets you adjust the filter's output volume, making sure it works with the rest of your rig.
The 2p/4p toggle switch is a sneaky, but important feature, providing the option to select between attenuation curves. Opt for the -12dB/octave slope (2p) for a gentler roll-off, or engage the -24dB/octave slope (4p) for a more aggressive sound. 
The Add Fuzz toggle switch introduces an extra unfiltered fuzz signal into the mix, resulting in increased volume and a captivating frequency boost or cut, depending on your cutoff position.
The S/P toggle switch opens up new sonic dimensions by allowing you to route the fuzz and filter effects in serial or parallel configurations. This versatility is a boon for those seeking unconventional textures.
The Expression/CV control, linked to the cutoff fader, adds a dynamic element to your options. It sets the lowest value the EXP pedal can reach, enabling expressive, real-time control over your filter's cutoff frequency. As this pedal is incredibly versatile, how you use it is up to you. We recommend trying some of these settings:
Searing Synth Vibes-
  • Cutoff Fader: Expression Pedal
  • Resonance Fader: 70%
  • Gain: 3 o’clock
  • Master: 3 o’clock
  • Serial Toggle: S
  • LPF Vol: Noon
  • Add Fuzz Toggle: Off
  • Attenuation Toggle: 2P

Pop this beauty before a reverb, delay or both (might we recommend the Earthquaker Devices Ledges or Universal Audio Orion) and sweep through the frequency cutoff fader with an expression pedal for a synth-like, trippy effect that will leave people wondering where you’re hiding the MS-20. 

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea:

  • Cutoff Fader: 30%
  • Resonance Fader: 80%
  • Gain: 2 o’clock
  • Master: 3 o’clock
  • Serial Toggle: S
  • LPF Vol: 10 o’clock
  • Add Fuzz Toggle: Off
  • Attenuation Toggle: 2P

    As tempting as it might be to dunk your microphone into a bucket of water like Eric Valentine to get that perfect underwater guitar sound, there’s no need to when you have a pedal that’s capable of producing a tone that’s oddly similar. Not only is this a great live pedal, but also a studio one. 

    Ripping Fuzz Riffs:

    • Cutoff Fader: 100%
    • Resonance Fader: 20%
    • Gain: 5 o’clock
    • Master: 5 o’clock
    • Serial Toggle: S
    • LPF Vol: 2 o’clock
    • Add Fuzz Toggle: ON
    • Attenuation Toggle: 4P

      This setting is the most similar sounding to another gem by CD, the Black Hole Symmetry Fuzz. Keeping the filter essentially off while flipping the Add Gain Toggle to the on position allows for a little more of your traditional fuzz setting, which never gets old when it sounds as good as TARS does. 
      Final Thoughts:
      The Collision Devices TARS is a remarkable pedal that combines technical excellence with boundless creative potential. Its meticulously crafted circuitry and thoughtfully designed controls allow the user to shape their tone with accuracy, and whether you're chasing vintage warmth, experimental soundscapes, or anything in between, the TARS is your ticket.
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