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Boost and Overdrive

6 Cool Recent Medium Enclosure Plexi Pedals

BoostBoost and OverdriveCarl MartinCusack MusicDistortionDriveDryBell EffectsMarshall Style DistortionNabla Custom ElectronicsOverdrivePedalPalFXSkreddy Pedals+-
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I’ve been meaning to do this roundup for a while - where I touch on the most recent Plexi pedal additions. I could have done a larger exercise and included the Borgner La Grange and Seymour Duncan Diamondhead among others - but chose rather to keep things simple with just the latest 6 in consideration.


Those that read my blog regularly will likely know that I already pretty much have a favourite in mind here, but it’s important to do the due diligence and analysis - in order to come to the right conclusions. These sorts of exercises always help sharpen the mind, and help to identify which features and characteristics are key to your own sensibilities and preferences.


I for instance usually have a bias toward the most compact edition possible - which means I will almost always favour a vertical BB-enclosure over an horizontal one. While I do say that if there are 2 footswitches or more, then the horizontal format is certainly an acceptable execution of that feature/functionality - while if at all possible I will always lean toward the one with the most practical profile.


All 6 here sound great. Two contain an extended RangeMaster Boost component, two have a more conventional sort of boost mode, and 2 have no boost. Pricing varies quite considerably - from around $200/£200 to $326/£299. All of these can be considered to be extended feature set, while obviously some have a little more in that department versus the others.


Pedals are listed alphabetically by brand as usual :

Carl Martin PlexiRanger - $229/£149


This is a natural evolution and extension to Carl Martin's excellent PlexiTone circuit. Combining that with a 3-knob RangeMaster style boost. On the Plexi side of this pedal we have Gain, Tone and Level controls, on the Ranger side we have Boost, Frequency and Range controls. With a universal 0/1/2 incrementing Lo-Cut switch.


Obviously conceptually similar to DryBell's The Engine - but with fewer controls.


I actually really like this - and I much prefer its vertical form-factor as far as that goes - also it has a very fair price point. I feel a lot of players would get on very well with this as it does deliver some really great tones in a relatively simple fashion.

Cusack Music Meta Plexi - $195


This was actually announced back in March of last year, but does not seem to have resonated particularly and thus operates as something of a dark horse.


This is essentially a 3-Band EQ version of Plexi - with Vintage and Modern modes, and 3 levels of Lead Boost as such - activated by second / left-hand footswitch. This has generally been very well received - but has still largely ended up being under the radar, and even considered for discontinuation - which would be a real shame.


This is another great Cusack Music release and well worth a consideration.

DryBell The Engine Foundation Preamp - $326/£299


And so to my obvious front-runner here, and one that has been featured quite a few times on this blog. As mentioned previously - I would have preferred this as a vertical format edition, but all those extended control quite justify the use of the horizontal here.


The Plexi-side of the pedal has Level, Gain, Tone and Shape (Countour / Mid-Shift) controls; while the RangeMaster-side has Range (Frequency Focus), Level, Low and High Frequency controls. There is also of course a central Channel Order switch for - A/B | B/A.


This is just a fantastic extended-range execution, and it seems like Zvonko Suhodolcan has considered every eventuality here. This is really fantastic attention to detail and is surely the finest example of its type currently available. One of these will be min soon enough!

Nabla 1987 V2 Hot Rod Dual Channel Plexi - €180


This Italian-made variety has popped up on the radar a few times, but is still somewhat in the shadows for most of the mainstream. Actually not that conceptually different to the Cusack Meta Plexi - albeit with quite different controls.


The 1987 V2 has Drive, Tone, Level and Eleven (Boost/2nd Channel) knobs, with toggle switches for Tight and Mids. And the second footswitch is indeed '11' which is controlled by that Eleven knob! That whole part is very similar to the Meta Plexi's Lead element - in both cases I see those as sort of equivalent to a boost element.


This is another great sounding and very compelling mid-size Plexi - possibly a little harder to get hold of than most - but very much worth a punt as such if you can track one down.

PedalPalFX Pal 800 V3 Gold Overdrive - $225


Phillip McKnight first introduced me to PedalPalFX pedals - probably one of the world's most foremost shops for MIAB style pedals and with a number of classics already in the roster. I've long wanted at least one of the PedalPals,and the 800 V3 Gold is the most likely candidate for that. While I'm always amazed that these are still made and shipped from Venezuela.


We have in effect 4-Band EQ here including Presence, then a switch for the Slash #34 Mod, and a Classic / Modern voicing switch. We also have a I/II second footswitch channel selector - which delivers two levels of gain, via an interior trim-pot control too as fas as I gather. So operating in some similar way to the Meta Plexi and 1987 V2 also in this selection.


Like I have said before - I have long since determined that I want one of the Pedal Pal types - and this is surely the one to get for me.

Skreddy Pedals Super 100 Distortion - $239


It is well known that I'm a significant fan of Marc Ahlfs and his Skreddy Pedals output. I've said many times before that we buy into a pedal-builder's Ears essentially - and their preferred take and calibration of a particular genre. So if you like a number of pedals from one imprint, then you are likely to enjoy most of them.


This is a slightly different take on a Super Lead Plexi - with that fairly typical 3-Band EQ - while Marc always does something special to his mid-range band, and we have a 6th Sag control which is a little rarer in these circumstances.


It's quite evident that this selection makes for a few difficult choices. I think each of these pedals will find happy homes though. Each solution here definitely has merit and is worthy of your consideration.

Final Thoughts

So after completing the overview review once more - I now very much have two frontrunners. The DryBell The Engine, and the PedalPalFX Pal 800 V3 Gold.


I know I pretty much want each of those - I then need to decide on the priority and see if I can justify owning both.


Are there any here that are part of your own deliberations - or do you already have one of these that you love?

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
Guitar Pedal X
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