It's the beginning of the rainy season in Japan, it's raining, and yours truly is under typically "Asian" downpours (for those who know the region). Only one solution, take refuge at a local retailer! Pure coincidence, there is one less than 3 mins away! :) So here I am in front of a showcase well supplied with effects, with obscure "golden" pedals that I don't know. Not even a mark on it?! A height! It doesn't take much to arouse my curiosity! Small discussion with the staff... It's the story of a guy, who knows a guy, who makes pedals for a guy... Finally you see the picture! Quick test on site... Packed and weighed in less than 5 mins, I buy the OD and the Distortion for me, without even knowing who makes what and where! Being relational, I get in touch with H.Yagi who manufactures these superb pedals and we decide to offer you the possibility of acquiring what is for us a real favorite as we will see later.
Aesthetically, nothing to fall out of your chair, it couldn't be more basic! So we have the classic Volume, Gain (Dist) and Tone controls. And also two toggle switches, the left one activating a bass boost and the right one a bright. Everything exudes quality.
Connected to a Two-Rock Crystal with a Gibson 59 VOS we attack on an ultra clean base with the gain at 11:00 and the rest at 12:00. The first thing you notice is the extremely dense and organic side of the drive obtained. Indeed, it's warm, very rich in the low and high mids, the latter being highlighted. The voicing is clearly Vintage and British. The attack is very clear, detailed, and we immediately notice the extremely natural way in which the pedal is grafted onto the clean channel of the amp.
By pushing the gain fully, the drive becomes even richer and more fluid. There is gain in reserve, but it remains soft, nuanced and above all it is not "straight" or "dry" like many pedals on the market. At this time, the Fine DS already puts a hell of a slap! But, the activation of the two toggle switches literally propels us to another planet! There, it is simply HUGE!
We start with the Bright, which as its name suggests boosts the top of the spectrum, but not only. Indeed, this one also brings a slight surplus of gain and especially an extreme complexity in the high mids. It slices, it's precise without being aggressive, the presence is increased, each note is perfectly audible and detached, even on open or complex chords. With this level of gain and microphones that already send the ball, it's extremely rare! Coupled with the EQ which is simply at the top (be careful, it responds to the thousandth of a turn!!), the organic side of the pedal is increased tenfold.
The turn of the Bass Boost... And there... BAM! That's enough to finish us off! Indeed, the bass boost makes it possible to obtain ultra dense and fuzzy bass, but without losing clarity and dynamics! We are propelled into the best of the 60-70-80's with an added touch of modernity! Similarly, the top of the spectrum remains as it was while retaining all its precision. Fan of Bonamassa, Philip Sayce, Jack White and others... This pedal is made for you!
And it's not over! Indeed, the clean pedal very, very well with the volume knob (lowered to 90%, the dynamics and the grain are still there!). This allows for impressive versatility, the Fine DS can then deliver everything you need, whether you play Blues, Rock, Hard-Rock or just about anything except Metal. All without ever touching a single knob... Your fingers, your attack and the volume/tone controls on your guitar will do the rest! The range of use is just enormous. In fact, and this is rather rare, the Fine DS does not sound "pedal" at all. And that's what makes all the difference!
To conclude, we can say that the Fine DS from Human Gear is a rare pedal in every sense of the word! We were stunned by its "touch sensitive" side, its extreme musicality, its great versatility, and especially this totally unique vintage / ultra organic drive. The Fine DS is a real extra channel, which will disprove those who think that a stompbox cannot replace the drive of an amp. A player pedal, which will reveal its full potential to experienced guitarists. A must of its kind!
Important note: The Special version is manufactured with selected components, at the lowest tolerance thresholds. It benefits from increased dynamics and a more complex top of the spectrum.