Sovtek Bubble Font Russian Big Muff (1995)

A pedal that I recently fixed and a legend in the stoner/doom scene: ladies and gentlemen, here is the almighty Russian Sovtek Big Muff!

Sovtek Big Muff Bubble Font

This lady is already more than 20 year old. Not as old as the 50 years old Maestro Fuzztone that I fixed before, but still!

This one was in great shape, not even a missing battery cover (which is very common). The only problem was a disconnected battery clip, a quite easy fix. Of course, I tested it against my version of the Russian Big Muff, the Coda Effects Dolmen Fuzz:

Sovtek Big Muff Bubble Font Coda Effects Dolmen Fuzz

I am very proud because they actually sound very similar! Lots of bass and huge sound for both of them!

It is really big! It is really heavy, in a full metallic enclosure. Legends say that it was made old tank parts... And actually, there was a Soviet tank called the BMP. But this is completely a legend...(sorry to disapoint you)

Sovtek Big Muff Bubble Font

It was delivered in a wooden crate with the "made in Russia" tag. The Russian incription at the top just mean "Sovtek, electromusical device"

Sovtek Big Muff Bubble Font crate

Here is the monster in the box :)

Sovtek Big Muff Bubble Font wooden box

Seriously, I think the wooden box just makes it mystic! It is quite rare to find it with the wooden crate.

History of the Big Muff Russian

The Big Muff was originally released in 1970 by Electro Harmonix. However, the company declared bankrupcy in the 80s. In the late 80s, Mike Matthews decided to buy an old Russian military factory ExpoPul located in Saratov, Russia, to produce vaccuum tubes under the name of New Sensors. EHX was back on track!

Mike Matthews met in the 90s two Russian colonels (True story!) running a factory making military training equipment, integrated electronics equipment quite close to guitar pedals. Meanwhile, many people asked for a return of the EHX Big Muff. The production then began in the Sovtek factory!

The first pedals that got out of the factory were the Red Army Overdrivre (ultra rare) and the "Civil War" version of the Big Muff. This is why there is a star logo with a bird on the side of the pedal, which is the Sovtek logo:

Sovtek Big Muff Bubble Font

This is the "Bubble Font" version. Indeed the logo of the Russian Big Muff was declined in two version. A "Tall Font" version and a "Bubble Font" version like this one. Basically, it is just the lettering that is different, under the hood they are very, very similar.

Sovtek Big Muff Bubble Font

The paint of the Tall Font version was also very fragile and they usually have a beaten-up look, whereas Bubble Font Big Muff are usually better looking. This one is looking good, except a few scratches and dents there and there. 

The original knobs are still there, as well as the gigantic switch! I tried to find these switches, but they are impossible to find nowadays.

Circuit of the Big Muff "Bubble Font"

Here is the circuit of this Sovtek Big Muff. It is populated with ceramic capacitors, carbon-comp resistors and of course 4 transistors like every Big Muff. The PCB is huge, even compared to the Tonebender Mk3 I had on my bench before.
Sovtek Big Muff Bubble Font circuit gutshot

Here is a close view of one of the transistors. They are unmarked, except for the white and green varnish dots on it. I did a bit of research and they are KT3102EM transistors. They are simple npn transistors with a hfe between 400 and 1000. A modern equivalent are the 2n5088 transistors.

Sovtek Big Muff Bubble Font transistors

This Big Muff is known for its massive sound with a lot of bass.Actually, the tone circuit let quite a lot of bass go through it, and coupling caps have higher value than traditional Big Muff versions.

It is really a hell of a pedal. There is a massive sound going out of this box, it is very impressive! I am quite happy to finally test it myself! I did unfortunately did not have the time to record a video... I will try to do it soon!

Here it is! I hope that you enjoyed this blog post.
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5 Comment

Did you take time to reverse-engineer it ? How do the cap value compare with your Dolmen Fuzz ?


Hello! Yep, I looked quickly and it is exactly similar to the schematic posted on the Big Muff Page... It is almost a disapointment, this website is so rich that it is impossible to add more than what is already written in it!



"СОВТЕК Устройство электромузыкальное" simply means "Sovtek, electromusical device".

>It is populated with film capacitors

Nope, these are ceramic caps.


Thank you!
That´s right, will correct the post!


My pleasure. Nice blog you have here. Keep it up.