Polaris Distortion/Sustainer - Human Gear Animato PCB

Polaris - Human Gear Animato Guitar Pedal PCB



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Project overview

The Polaris Distortion/Sustainer is adapted from the Human Gear Animato, a mysterious and very expensive distortion pedal from Japan which gained attention by being used by Chris Wolstenholme, the bassist of Muse.

Originally released in 2007, the Animato was finally traced in 2014 and it was revealed that it was essentially just a Big Muff with a Rangemaster added to the front. Nevertheless, it’s a great-sounding Big Muff variant and certainly a unique take on the circuit.

The Rangemaster portion of the circuit uses something called a Sziklai pair for the transistors with both NPN and PNP transistors in a piggyback arrangement, allowing the Rangemaster circuit (normally positive ground) to be run in a negative-ground scenario.

One final note: while the Animato claims to work well for bass, most bassists find that the Rangemaster input cuts too many of the low frequencies. As a result, many people using the Animato for bass (including Chris Wolstenholme) will opt to use a clean-blend pedal such as the Boss LS-2 to blend the unaffected bass signal back in and restore the low frequencies.