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JHS Releases its New and Improved Colour Box V2 PreAmp

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Josh Scott’s newest pedal draws from the changes made to the Eurorack 500 Series variant of this essentially signal conditioner and EQ box - based on the classic studio channel-strip. The original pedal was inspired by the beautifully warm-sounding mid-1960’s analogue pro studio mixing consoles designed by Rupert Neve (80 Series). A key magic ingredient of those mixing desks were the Neve-designed audio output transformers which here are represented by the equally stellar Lundahl pro-level audio transformers. Interestingly you can still get the original Neve-designed transformers from OEM manufacturer Carnhill. I have the direct experience of Neve Transformers in my 2 Bogner Neve-collaboration pedals - the Burnley Distortion and Wessex Overdrive (Bubinga editions) I just need to complete that trifecta with the Harlow Boost - and will likely do that next year. In any case the Lundahl Transformers are currently the industry standard for pro / studio audio transformers and they bring with them that same magical warmth and extra dynamics and articulation.


The V2 Colour Box adds ’Shift’ knobs for each of the 3 EQ-Bands - essentially making all those Parametric EQs. We also get a new Hi/Lo switch witch in its Lo setting extends clean headroom right up the volume and gain curve, while the Hi setting brings on distortion much earlier in the equivalent range. Finally the new version is also able to pass on 48V Phantom Power to any Condenser Mics you might wish to attach.


For those unfamiliar with the top-row control topology - the Master volume controls the overall volume of the unit; the Pre-Vol controls the amount of gain between the two internal gain stages; and the Step control increases the gain of each preamp stage in five stages - rotating the Step knob from left-to-right will increase the gain by the following: 1st is +18 dB, 2nd is +23 dB, 3rd is +28 dB, 4th is +33 dB, 5th is +39 dB. Finally the Hi Pass Knob and toggle-switch allow you to limit the frequency pass-through between 60Hz to 800Hz with a 6dB per octave slope.


I love the idea of this box which combines signal enhancement, 3-Band Parametric EQ, Frequency Filtering and Gain-Stage Dynamics. You can use this as an always-on tone enhancer, overdrive or distortion even - it just very naturally improves the output of everything connected to it. My one peeve here really is the size of the unit - which is both long and tall in dimensions, and would not sit well within the confines of my particular rig. But I can certainly see its merits as a recording and tone-improvement utility. The price is pretty fair considering everything that’s gone into it - $400/£400 - it’s on my nice-to-have rather than essentials wishlist. I totally understand why so many celebrated artists use this - and once I get more into the recording-side of things I may well look to this as an essential tool/solution.

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
Guitar Pedal X
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