I’ve featured BYOC’s Crown Jewel Multidrive on this site several times previously but only superficially really. It is the kind of Swiss Army Knife of drive pedals that will put some off by virtue of its sheer range and versatility (so many dials and switches) - so I’ve tried to break things down here in a more manageable fashion, while providing everything you need to get the most out of this pedal. I am generally a huge fan of Keith Vonderhulls - Mr BYOC himself - and if and when I go down the DIY pedal-building route - his site will be my first main and major resource.
The version pictured up top is my own edition of this pedal - as supplied by Ernie Anastasios of The Gear Gas Store (Reverb.com) a Sonic Blue enclosure with white standard BYOC knobs - in my favourite standard colourway (sort of Tiffany box really which befits its jewel moniker). I had posted previously that I wanted a glitter enclosure version of this, but when I saw Ernie’s Sonic Blue build with Dry Blend circuit and choice of Boost Module I had to snap it up. The Dry Blend Dial sits on the right edge of the enclosure and I’ve left it out of the visuals as the default pedals don’t typically have this, and it’s not utilised in any of the reference settings quoted in any case.
In terms of control layout, the Crown Jewel has the following controls:
When you acquire a Crown Jewel, apart from colour, the first decision you are going to need to make is which Boost Module/s you go for. I initially selected the Germanium Treble Booster as I really tend to like those - and they can give me some of those Brian May and Tony Iommi treble-boosted tones - but it’s not necessarily the most versatile of the boosts and does significantly colour the tone - so I additionally acquired the LPB (Linear Power Boost) and Electra Overdrive modules - both those offer more conventional boosting capabilities. I may acquire most of these eventually, with the Fuzz module possibly next on the list (although I would have to assemble that myself q.v.) - the full list of currently available Boost Modules is as follows:
Note that only a subset of the above are available as pre-built modules, as indicated by the asterisk - *
Keith has made 3 different reference videos for the Crown Jewel, which some critique for their sound quality - which is not quite up to the level of some of the more refined YouTubers - say That Pedal Show for instance, but you do get a very clear understanding of what this pedal is capable of - and obviously depending on the particulars of your guitar, rig / setup may need to tweak slightly from the reference settings given below. The important factor really is to know how to apply the different clipping toggle-switches - you can then adjust the various tonal-controls to taste.
I deliberated for a long time how I should break down and order the different degrees of saturation - in the end I decided to just follow the order set in the videos. I will be making a PDF available of the key settings at some stage too - featuring my visuals. It’s still fairly early days for me tweaking around with this pedal, and I’ve got a long way to go to get a fully representative overview of everything this pedal is capable off - but with the mix of modules and vast array of controls - there are very few if any pedals that approach this degree of versatility - which can obviously be a curse for some, and mean that overall this pedal is probably a touch too complex to be ever featured on a That Pedal Show episode. This pedal does require plenty of your time to get the most out of it, and I know that some will be put off by all the options - but those are what make this pedal so special for me!
As this is largely a DIY style pedal, it precludes having a much needed digital control layer - which could have given you presets and other helpful control resources. This is entirely a set it and see type of pedal - and you need to have a pen and paper handy to record all the settings once you hit upon yet another delightful confection!
Here follow the references:
The settings really aren't clear in the video - so I have relied on other transcribed sources from the Internet which seem to be about right! This is the best place to start with your Crown Jewel!
Note that you will need to adjust to taste based on your guitar/amp/rig - as long as the main clipping switches are set correctly and your dials are in approximately the right place you should be within the ballpark of the tone you seek.
There's a huge degree of flexibility here - and much like with Boss's equally loved and hated Metal Zone - there is plenty of room here for cacophony if you don't set things up correctly - this is generally a side effect of all pedals which feature an extended range of tone-sculpting controls!
The 10 famous pedals cover here are:
A couple of these have been given dual voicings:
Using the Crown Jewel as a Klon-style Boost:
Crown Jewel as a Klon-style Overdrive:
The Crown Jewel as a sort of Swedish Death Metal Monster - note that there is a separate setting for 'Scandinavian Death Metal' below which has quite different values - most likely making accommodation for the often included Tube-Screamer-like pre-boost:
The classic mid-hump overdrive obviously requires a bump to the mids and a soft-clipping silicon diode:
The rather splendidly crunchy OCD overdrive has long been one of my favourites:
I've had mixed experiences with the DS-1 in the past - particularly as I did not initially know that it wouldn't work into a clean amp:
I'm a huge fan of Dumble ODS style tones, but often find the Zendrive a little anaemic - I would tend to add a little more flavour to the below core settings - while the 'Presence' control here is said to function much like the Zendrive's Voice dial:
DOD's perennially popular 250 PreAmp style drive is still many players' favourite drive pedal:
I have several fantastic Blues Breaker inspired pedals - The King of Tone, Pantheon and BlackBox 2 - so it's a flavour I really like - this adds another neat variation into the mix:
Yet another classic overdrive - this time with 2-band Baxandall EQ and 3-way clipping / toggle-switch:
The Timmy pedal has a 3-way clipping toggle switch - Up is normal compression and asymmetrical clipping; middle and down are symmetrical, while down is more compressed. Most prefer to sit the switch in the middle / open symmetrical position. This second take on the Timmy is a slightly richer and gainier version than the first:
The Rat is possibly my favourite style of fuzz pedal - I have nearly 10 of its ilk in the collection - and the Crown Jewel delivers a suitably full-throated variant of that type:
The second collection as named is largely at the lighter and bluesier end of the spectrum with key tones across the first four Rock 'n' Roll decades - not necessarily entirely my kind of thing - but still great for the variety:
Possibly needs some Filtertron pickup action here too, but sounds suitably jangly!
Not a Blues Breaker per say - but early British Blues tone:
Not entirely sure exactly what this is supposed to be - I'm assuming some sort of Marshall Plexi:
A little more fuzzy than I recall personally - although I'm sure you can get where you want to by adjusting the Fuzz Boost and Presence:
Pretty much spot on for that bluesy Texas twang:
An evenly balanced modern overdrive with plenty of headroom:
I tend to operate more at this level really - rather than the cleaner overdrive and bluesier end of the spectrum. I obviously love all types of crunch and most types of distortion. The kind of jangly indie rock tones of Garage Rock are not exactly my bag though, other than that these flavours are pretty much all winners - there's a fair amount of Marshall here, some Mesa and some heavy metal pedal action:
I'm assuming this is circa late Marshall JTM45 sort of territory, possibly early Plexi - that 60's Marshall Crunch is an unmistakable classic evergreen rock tone:
You've got to love that raunchy Marshall Super Lead Rock tone - this is definitely core tone territory for me:
Nowadays when I think of Hot Modded Marshall I first tend to think of Friedman (Dirty Shirley in this case) while pretty much every amp and pedal-maker has a version of a modified Plexi somewhere in their history - totally iconic tones:
For 80's Rectified Metal I'm think definitely MESA/Boogie territory - something along the lines of a Mark IIC+ which funnily still remains core to John Petrucci's sound today - albeit in a very slightly modified fashion. Not everyone loves that darker edge of rectified tone, while it is one of the flavours that appeals to me - and something I have the Wampler Triple Wreck for typically:
As I've stated previously this sort of slightly jangly, not quite grungy indie rock tone has never particularly been to my liking - I've always felt it needed a bit more definition, and that 'Garage Rock' typically represented poor quality sound because of cheap/poor equipment and poor frequency layer regulation:
When I hear talk of 90's Heavy Seattle I cannot escape thinking of Kurt Cobain and that core Nirvana Grunge sound - a different kind of raunchy rock - and much more my type of rough and ready rock:
I find it slightly odd that Keith has seen fit to give us settings both for the Boss HM-2 which is the core pedal for Death Metal, and this Scandinavian / Swedish Death Metal - superficially it sounds like a degree of duplication, but then again the first profile is simply just the pedal - while Swedish Death Metal typically has a Tube Screamer in front. Strange that neither setting requires additional Boost. The clipping switches are the same, while this Death Metal profile has a little more sizzle, and a little less Mids and Bass:
So I've given you the 25 reference flavours from BYOC - I'm currently working out a couple of more Treble-Boosted flavours - a sort of Brian May and then a Tony Iommi tone - and will share those profiles with you when I'm 100% alongside a few more possibly.
This is the kind of pedal that you can get totally lost in - and you need to take a while to acclimatise yourself to the different clippings and how they interact with each other and with the different Boost Modules - the Sky's the limit here really - particularly if you are a pedal DIY type an can fashion your own Boost modules and modifications.
I feel this pedal is screaming out for say a 3-way Boost Module option - i.e. 3 onboard Modules, or possible a more Elta Console style side-slot where you can more easily plug and play each module.
I feel also if you got Joel Korte on the case with one of these - you could enable presets and some sort of digital control layer to make the setting and switching part easier.
As I use it right now it's kind of a single flavour pedal - particularly with the Treble Booster which adds a lot of colour to the core tone, and needs to be tempered with judicious amounts of Mids and Bass - meaning that the non-boosted mode would be rather too dark. So again some sort of further fine-tuning and digital control would be handy.
Other than those teeny tiny niggles this is just an amazing pedal - and has to be the most versatile of this type - particularly when you consider all those different Boos Modules. I still think Keith can go further with the clipping switches and introduce further cascaded gain stages for instance - there would certainly be a very fine balance between versatility and usability.
My Crown Jewel is currently occupying the slot where the King of Tone usually sits, but I find the latter actually more versatile in that you can play both channels independently and stacked, while the Crown Jewel is a Drive + Boost, and depending on how you set it may only have the one core tone active - which of course is fine for Brian May and Tony Iommi - but not necessarily others.
I will probably be doing a PDF of the above settings profiles - 6 to a page - 4 pages, while omitting my current least favourite profile - the Garage Rock one - as a single Profile on a page looks odd.
As I add further profiles - I've not decided if I will keep adding to this post or do another - I will do further revisions to the PDF. If anyone wants a copy of the PDS - please let me know in the comments below. If any of you have some fantastic settings profiles of your own to share - please let me know and I can add those too.
In the meantime - happy ToneQuesting!