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Hamstead Soundworks Finally Unveils Zenith Clean Boost + EQ + Compressor

BoostBoost and OverdriveCompressorEQHamstead SoundworksUtility+-
2020GPXHamsteadZenith700.jpg

This is one of the more clandestine pedals from the recent NAMM Show where Hamstead weirdly kept this secret for an extended duration - I could sort of pick out the name from a couple of NAMM footage videos, and there was a teaser image which revealed all but the first knob. Several people guessed it would be a compressor, and they were partially right.

 

In fact it’s functionally really more of an advanced 3-Band EQ with sort of Parametric Mids via 3-way frequency-selector toggle and 3-way Q bandwidth frequency selector - my favourite types of EQ settings actually. The pedal supposedly took several years to develop as Hamstead worked very hard to keep the signal as clean as possible - and not have the EQ parameters add to the gain staging of the pedal. In fact Hamstead refer to this themselves as a Clean Boost + EQ + Compressor!

 

So via control topology it’s most significantly an advanced EQ, followed by simple compressor with default fast attack - controlled simply by a Comp degree knob and Blend knob which gives you parallel compression - the Level knob enables the high-headroom Clean Boost.

 

8 Controls :

  • Compression = Degree of VCA compression, attack is default fast, switch on rear of pedal allows you to select order Comp > Boost or Boost > Comp.
  • Blend = Compression to Dry Signal - allows for parallel compression
  • Level = Degree of High Headroom Clean Boost
  • Bass = Active Low Frequency Control
  • Middle = Active Mid Frequency Control
  • Treble = Active High Frequency Control
  • Q-Bandwidth = Set width frequency focus cluster
  • 500 - 800 - 1.2K = Middle Focus Frequency for Mids

The pedal very much recalls my Jackson Audio Bloom which covers largely the same functional areas, but has more Compression options, yet lacks the Parametric Mids and Q Bandwidth Control. Each of these has some distinct advantages - and I think I prefer overall how the Jackson Audio’s 2 footswitches allow you to independently control each of the 3 functional areas. The Zenith has its own footswitch tricks too - using GigRig OptoKick technology and allow you to switch on and off everything or flip-flop between Compressor and Boost + EQ. This is achieved by pressing and holding the footswitch to change mode.

 

Each of the Zenith and Jackson Audio Bloom will appeal to different players likely - as I just mentioned I slightly prefer the fact that I can control each of the elements separately on the Bloom, but would love to have access to the additional frequency control enabled by the additional toggle switches on the Zenith - so swings and roundabouts really. I think this will find a happy home with many players.

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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