What is it?
Ibanez MF5 Modern Fusion distortion from Soundtank series. Housed in metal enclosure and made in Taiwan in 1989.
Already had the plastic one, but saw this for sale with a reasonable price tag. The switch is in perfect working condition and i believe this hasn’t been opened up before, not even once. Only bad thing about this unit is that it sounds really bad with no real value for me. That may also explain the near mint condition and working switch though. But a collector can’t help himself… Apparently these units were a failure, as the manufacturing seems to be suspended before the series got their own typefaced labels.
Get your mullet out and put your silk shirt on. As the name suggests, the year is 1989. White suit pants and PRS guitars on a sunny jazz festival stage comes to mind. And to me, that’s not too pretty sight. This thing nails the yuppie adult jazz distortion just as it is. Shoulder pads.
Board traces are modern and quite dull. The schematic is available online and it shows the design having slightly tweaked TS-like first gain stage after the Ibanez standard input buffer. That is follewed by two gyrators and semi-active tone control. Then to a JFET buffer before volume control and a standard output buffer after that. For those who are capable of coming up with your own mods, i’d recommend to tweak the hell out of those gyrators. Maybe even snip the gyrator transistor drains, so that the full frequncy contect from the clipping amp gets through. I konw. Pretty drastic. But i think you’ll have a hard time if you’re thinking this may be usable without any mods.
All in all, the frequencies tamed by the gyrators offer stability that’s not very common. From electronic point of view, the filtering is too much. Thus that’s what’s making it the Modern Fusion, the only and the most boring adult jazz distortion there is.
How does it sound?
Surprisingly bad. If i was to dig up one good thing about the adult orientated distortion sound this unit offers, that would be the consistency. The distortion is so squeaky clean that it kills all possibility of sweet harmonic overtones. Once you bend your strings around the 12th, it still remains sterile. Now that’s a feature you don’t run into too often. Treble content is clipped much louder than the bottom, so in best case scenario – playing with hot jazz neck humbucker one can get relatively useful tones. But let’s face it. This is probably the worst design in the whole series. Trumping even The Cyberdrive and the Autowah.
8 thoughts on “Ibanez MF5 Modern Fusion”
no, it’s a very good and rare effect. sounds fat proper
I’m not claiming to be authority on anything. If this effect works for you, then good. For all the distortions i’ve ever played, this one wouldn’t be my choice for anything. But then again. That’s just me.
One of the best dist pedals you can find, closer to tube dist you can’t find.
I think it’s great to have different views!
great effect, poor and simple 90’s vibes
Do you have any idea which capacitor needs to be changed and what value should it be to fix the switching issue? Thanks.
Follow the traces from the switch. Other pin is connected to grounds and the other goes to the flip-flop. From this other, there is a small 1n ceramic cap to ground. You could swap it out for a bigger value, like 2n2 or 4n7. That usually works if the mechanical switch itself is ok.
I’m not sure about the component number without digging up the pedal and opening it up. But i think it may be one of those three in lower right hand side on the photo.
Like i said, it connects from other switch pin to ground.. Hope this helps.
Surprised to see such harsh comments about this from the author, but like they said we all have different tastes and opinions and like the old adage goes, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. In my opinion the MODERNFUSION is one of the best offerings out of the entire Soundtank series and a pedal that I almost never remove from my board anymore.
I’m guessing this and the CrunchyRhythm didn’t sell too well since they seemed to have very limited production (CR-5 didn’t even get ported over to the plastic enclosure lineup) which is a shame as the MODERNFUSION is a fantastic pedal! This and the Echomachine are absolute homeruns in my opinion!
A side note: I’ve noticed with many of the Soundtank pedals the finicky footswitch that often won’t activate until you’ve made a few attempts can be remedied (at least in my experience) by tapping not on the indented dots near the lower part of the foot switch you’d think you’re supposed to step on but instead stepping (or using your fingers if your board is elevated on a studio desk) higher up on the footswitch, where the IBANEZ logo is. Ever since I discovered that trick I’ve not had any footswitch issues/glitches/problems at all. Give it a shot!