Electro-Harmonix is looking to bridge the gap between analog and digital music creation with its Big Muff Pi Hardware Plugin, which is a mashup of an effect pedal and audio interface. The $329 unit is said to work like a standard digital audio workstation (DAW) plugin, though you can route your guitar tracks through the genuine actual analog circuitry of the Big Muff Pi harmonic distortion-sustainer. It's the real deal, rather than a software-emulated version of the classic pedal.
The device uses the circuit design of the 1973 Violet Ram’s Head Big Muff, albeit with some tweaks to deliver true stereo audio. Electro-Harmonix says the unit, which is available now, has Tone Wicker and Tone Bypass, along with 10 footswitch-accessible presets.
The company claims the device, which can be used as a standalone pedal too, should integrate with DAWs including Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Cubase, GarageBand and Logic Pro X without a hitch. The unit can operate as a 2-in/2-out USB audio recording interface, so you can record tracks without having the Big Muff effect active.
The Big Muff is one of the most important effects pedals in music history. Artists including Smashing Pumpkins, Dinosaur Jr., Pink Floyd, Carlos Santana, Mudhoney and Sonic Youth have used it to hone their sounds. Being able to harness those genuine Big Muff tones in a digital environment could help more musicians create more bombastic-sounding songs.