It took two years of intensive development to see the birth of the new range of effects from the very serious Japanese brand. The Integrated series, is entirely designed and manufactured by the Custom Shop, based in Yokohama. The Fire Mist FM-1V is a very high-end pedal equipped with the best and most reliable components on the market. Here, production was not taken into account with a cost price in mind, but with a need for a goal to be achieved.
The Free The Tone Fire Mist adopts a new case specific to the Integrated range. Extremely well finished, painted in the cabin, with an irreproachable finish and ultra easy access to the battery. Appreciable thing, it will be noted that the food was placed on the top. The pedal has a sober and classy aesthetic. And believe us, it's as pretty on the outside as it is on the inside! Very high-end PCB, sorted components, perfect welds... It's beautiful, a real exercise in style. In terms of controls, very classic. Level, Tone, Drive and that's it!
The Fire Mist is a rather high gain OD/distortion (without going to extremes) and primarily designed to work in conjunction with humbuckers (although it works well on single coil as well). We stack that on a Two-Rock Studio Pro 35. To get all the quintessence of the Fire Mist, you need a suitable amp. Namely, a clean channel with plenty of headroom, because the pedal will exploit this reserve of "complexity" at 100%. With the Integrated series, Free The Tone simply wants to recreate the naturalness, dynamics and compression of a real tube amp. The goal is to replace a second channel. On a clean channel, your lead channel is the Fire Mist! Pedal engaged, the first thing you notice is the ultra transparency of the FM-1V. Gain at 10:00, tone at 12:00 and Level at 11:00, you have a big ACDC-style crunch with a thick drive and bite (the Tone knob being ultra-responsive and bringing presence but also a little gain and extra edge when pushed). The pedal is reminiscent of old Plexi sounds and Late 70's / Early 80's sounds.
By slightly lowering the Level, with the Tone at 2:00 p.m. and the Drive at 2:00 p.m., you get a drive that symbolizes the very concept of the Fire Mist, namely, a distortion à la Van Halen, Gary Moore. Very rich in harmonics, complex, which can be both dark and sharper (thanks again to the superb Tone equalization) and with a tone of sustain. It's really stunning, the dynamics are enormous, the pedal reacts very subtly to the slightest change in attack and it can be totally controlled via the guitar's volume knob as it thins out to perfection. Pushed to the limit, we get a fluid distortion, with a loaded lower midrange and an extremely detailed and rich upper end of the spectrum. The pedal compresses a little more but never excessively. At no time do you feel like you're playing a pedal, but a real amp channel. It's simple, there are amp channels that don't have the same dynamics and quick response. A good Les Paul in hand, and you get the epitome of Fire Mist and the best Marshall-like sounds.
What to say? The Free The Tone Fire Mist is a big slap in the face of the competition. The pedal is ultra well made, sounds wonderful, with an impressive signal to noise ratio. If you like double microphones, and you are a fan of the artists mentioned above, the FM-1V will be a must. The Free The Tone Fire Mist is, of course, at an equally high-end price, but it deserves every penny spent!