Okay, now that I've had 24 hours to mull things over and get some more playing time on a few different amps in...
Overall, Stoke has a mad old school vibe to it, which fits perfectly into the late '60s psychedelic rock project I JUST started up. Artwork is darn cool, and simplicity reigns with just two knobs and the octave switch. Seems simple enough... but there's plenty hiding under the hood. The Octave switch makes me approach it in a MUCH different manner from the Crystal Dagger as well; this one's rawer and more off-the-chain, and it's really nice as it allows me to sit back and just focus on the FUZZ. I WILL preface by saying that I don't own a Crystal Dagger, but I do have significant exposure and usage with one as a buddy of mine owns one.
I've given Stoke a go with two guitars and four amps. For the guitars, I used a telecaster with two P90s and a Les Paul with DiMarzios (PAF 36th in the neck, Gravity Storm in the bridge). Amps were two combos (recent Fender Blues Deluxe and a mid '80s Marshal Fifty Split Channel, which is the solid state JCM800) and two heads (recent Vox AC100 and a drip edge '68 Bassman, both through a Kustom 4x12 closed back loaded with Celestion Seventy-80s).
In all scenarios, Stoke has a bright and shimmery quality but lots of meat on the low end to it as well. At first I thought it was just the character of my AC100, but I got the same Vox-style crunch out of all of my amps and guitars, which I found very curious but certainly welcome. The filter knob shines here; all the way counter-clockwise and there's a very bright and raspy cutting fuzz, and all the way clockwise and there's a surprisingly clean crunch with a massive low end. I treat the filter knob more like a blend between the two sounds as I find appropriate, rather than thinking about it as an active filter. Level should be self explanatory. Stoke doesn't clean up when you roll back the volume knob. This isn't your daddy's fuzz face. There is only one dynamic to Stoke, and that is loud and ballsy. Luckily the level control allows me to play out without irritating the neighbors, but there's plenty of volume on tap if I want to.
What I find the most useful facet of the pedal, though, is that the octave footswitch (as opposed to the flip switch on Crystal Dagger) totally changed my approach to playing with Stoke vs Crystal Dagger. With Crystal Dagger, I was much more set-and-forget, I was willing to just hit the fuzz button whenever I wanted a sound. With the Octave now as a footswitch, I find myself playing with Stoke on for longer periods of time, and using the Octave button to push harder and cut in lead-type lines, or when I want things to sound like they're going crazy. Big Kevin Shields-type vibe with this box in that respect; the noise this is capable of is so satisfying. But it still sounds refined and smooth enough to get hairy at the same time. Bends and difference tones create some really interesting beating harmonics up and down the neck. Actually, the Octave switch sounds like it adds the slightest gain boost as well; this provides particularly useful in making the octave sound distinct from the non-octaved sound. But going back; it's really nice not having the modulation side of Crystal Dagger present, as I treat this like less of a texture and more like a pure fuzz, which is exactly what I wanted out of it. That being said, I could see myself having loads of fun pairing this up with a Whetstone, but the nice thing about that is I'd treat them like different effects, rather than the all-in-one approach of the Crystal Dagger.
I haven't felt this inspired by a fuzz since I played (and stupidly sold) the SS/BS Year 4545. Stoke sounds unlike any other fuzz I've used. It's got the crushing low end that I find satisfying in fuzz, plus octave up; but it's still much smoother than, say, a Scrambler or Fender Blender or Octavia. This one isn't piercing, but sits just where I want it to. Couldn't be happier, this one's here to stay for a LONG time.