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 :
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.