I love this newest collection of JHS pedals - being a huge fan of smart compact pedals, and in particular dual-footswitch ones. The Signature Andy Timmons @ has been on my wishlist for a while - so I’m delighted that I held out to be able to benefit from the additional boost functionality - simply just an extra footswitch and boost level dial.
Josh Scott has then compacted 3 of his most popular time-based pedals - all with tap-tempo and with all the features in tact from their predecessors but shrunk down to roughly one third - Emperor Chorus V2, Panther Cub Delay V2 and Unicorn Uni-Vibe V2. All these are excellent pedals and a great feat of engineering - I’m so glad everyone’s coming around to Joel Korte’s way of thinking. The V3’s could be even better if they had stereo ins and outs. I already have my Boss, Chase Bliss and Empress pedals to provide me all the modulation, delay and reverb I could possibly use, and I’m considering adding the new Empress Zoia too - so alas this trio will not find a home on in my chain - but they all do seem to be quite excellent.
The standout pedal here and one for the higher reaches of my wishlist - is the new Bonsai Overdrive pedal which takes the Muffaletta concept to the Tube Screamer format, but instead of the Muffuletta’s 6 voices we get an amazing 9 flavours - all analog signal paths ans switches (digital control only) with choice transistors, resistors, capacitors and buffers too match both the original circuits as well as their actual quirks and idiosyncrasies.
I love my Muffuletta pedal, even though I swap it out of the chain fairly regularly for different types of fuzz, even just a more tweakable version of one of those Big Muffs already onboard. I think the same will be the case with the Bonsai - I already have my perfect sounding mainstay Tube Screamer in the form of Foxpedal’s The City - which has a second boost footswitch and plenty of tone-sharping dials and voicing toggles. Yet what the Bonsai gives you is unique - Josh has meticulously sound-engineered each of his 9 flavours to give an authentic and faithful representation of the originals. I will most likely alternate this regularly with The City.
The Bonsai recreates the following key Tube Screamer flavours, starting with the Boss OD-1 which was supposedly the inspiration for the whole Tube Screamer category. The truly odd one out here is the Polish-made Exar OD-1 which was modelled and evolved from that original Boss - everything else is classic Ibanez - in stock, and Keeley and JHS modded variations, as follows and per chronological order, which also happens to be order on control dial:
Check out the details in the following 4 excellent overview and interview videos from Sweetwater, Reverb.com and Livingroom Gear Demos: