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In Defence of the more Complex PreAmp Pedals

Blues Breaker Style OverdriveBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionBuild Your Own CloneBYOCCustom TonesDistortionDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveFuzzGermanium FuzzKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOrigin EffectsOverdrivePreAmpSilicon FuzzSinvertekTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style Distortion+-
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I am somewhat exasperated to still be seeing several ill-informed nonsense critiques of these more fully featured pedals - where certain factions are denouncing them as sort of jacks-of-all-trade with insufficient core tonal qualities that mean they cannot hack it with just the basic 3 - Volume, Gain and Tone knobs!

 

I refer below to one of the classic Two Rock Amps - specifically the Silver Sterling Signature - which has 17 exceptionally useful controls - including those 6 mode toggle-...

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End of June Pedal-Chain Update - Episode V - A Disturbance in the Force!

Ambient EffectsAnasoundsBig Muff Style FuzzBixonicBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBuffalo FXChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCooper FXDigital ReverbDistortionDr ScientistDriveEarthQuaker DevicesElectro-HarmonixEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFlangerFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGFI SystemGlitchGranular DelayJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveKuro Custom AudioMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneModulationModulation WorkstationOctave FuzzOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePlate ReverbPreAmpRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReuss EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSuper-Fuzz StyleThorpyFXTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style DistortionVS Audio+-
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June hasn’t been a particularly kind month to me - in fact it’s been something of a difficult period - I was going to call this piece ’The Darkness Lingers’ but didn’t really want that particular NLP on this blog - which I try to keep as positive as is practically possible.

 

A number of ventures and collaborations I was working on this month came a cropper when the other collaborating parties somewhat inexplicably and suddenly ended their involvement - ...

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Mikey Demus's Pedalboard Dynamics and Essential Tone Components

BoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionCaroline Guitar CompanyDelayDigital DelayDigiTechDistortionDouble TrackingDown-TunerDriveDunlop EffectsEchoverbFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionHarmonizerKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayLoop-SwitcherMetal DistortionMikey DemusMXRNoise GateOctave FuzzOctaverOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePitchPitch-ShiftingRedbeard EffectsStrymonTape DelayThorpyFXToneQuestTunersUtilityWah and Fixed Wah+-
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Readers of this blog should be well aware by now of Skindred’s Lead Guitarist and Redbeard Effects Head Honcho Mikey Demus. And while I had been very familiar with his band Skindred for a number of years - my focus didn’t shift fully to Mikey himself until he got into partnership with Adrian Thorpe and started producing his own range of signature pedals.

 

The first release was an exceptional take on Mikey’s core signature Orange Rockerverb 100 Amp sound - the Red Mist ...

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Celebrating The King of Klone, Master of Organic Tone - Guillem Vilademunt of Decibelics, Barcelona

BoostBoost and OverdriveDecibelicsEffects Pedal MakersKlone and Transparent OverdriveOverdrive+-
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I received the full set of Decibelics gut shots a little late for inclusion in my recent piece on ’Interior Pedal and Circuit Design / Art’. So I then had the option of appending these as an addendum to that article, or evolving them into more of a solo feature. And as there are some other significant specifics I wish to convey in relation to this particular trio of pedals - I decided upon the latter.

 

More fortuitously still - Guillem has within the week released an ...

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The Kuro Custom Audio P.h.A. Boost/Overdrive/PreAmp is a rare High Adaptability Gain Modifier and Tone Transformer

Blues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveDriveKlone and Transparent OverdriveKuro Custom AudioMulti-DriveOverdriveTubescreamer Style Overdrive+-
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I must confess that when I first came across the Kuro P.h.A. I kind of rather dismissed it as yet another of those myriad just a tiny bit different overdrives. I think I was to a large degree misled by a number of the earlier fairly uninspiring and unrepresentative demos. I can’t overstate the importance of a good demo towards portraying a just and accurate account of a pedal’s range and capabilities. Mediocre and underwhelming demos can ever undermine and taint the reputations of ...

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Walrus Audio Unveils Ages Five-State Multi-Clip Dry-Blend Overdrive

BoostBoost and OverdriveDriveKlone and Transparent OverdriveMulti-DriveOverdriveWalrus Audio+-
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I am ever intrigued by new entries into the overdrive pantheon - an already hugely overcrowded sector. And as JHS’s Josh Scott keeps telling us - there are only a few circuits really at the root of everything dirt-wise - yet a myriad of possible outcomes.

 

I always approach new overdrives from circa 4 key points of perspective - what is the circuit based on / nearest match, how does its core tonality / frequency profile sound, what is the pedal’s range and versatility, and ...

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End of May Pedal-Chain Update - Episode IV - A New Hope!

Ambient EffectsAnasoundsBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCooper FXDigital ReverbDistortionDr ScientistDriveEarthQuaker DevicesElectro-HarmonixEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGFI SystemGlitchJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveKuro Custom AudioMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMetal DistortionMI EffectsModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOctave FuzzOddball ModulationOverdrivePhaserRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationSilicon FuzzSpacey ReverbSuper-Fuzz StyleThorpyFXToneQuestTremoloVox Style DistortionVS Audio+-
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May was the month that several things finally slotted into place - all my missing / presumed lost USA orders finally landed as did a few other pedals which had been somewhat lingering in the wild - so May delivered a pretty decent pedal yield overall in the end. I also got to be involved in a couple of exciting up-and-coming brands - Kuro Custom Audio of Italy and MidValleyFX of USA. I’ve already published a feature on the excellent Kuro Akuma Fiery Fuzz as featured on slot #5, and hope ...

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The Menatone Flagship Pedals Trifecta Has Landed!

Blues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveDistortionDriveDual-DriveEffects Pedal MakersKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneOverdriveVox Style Distortion+-
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Readers of this blog will know that I’ve been waiting for my trio of Menatone vertical dual-footswitch pedals to arrive for quite some time now. For a considerable period these were presumed lost, as they dropped off the tracking radar for nearly six weeks. In any case - good things come to those who wait - and this has all been well worth waiting for.

 

It all started back on January 24th when I got in touch with Brian about his then very recent Vertical Fish Factory release. I ...

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9 of the Best Mythos Pedals

Blues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveEffects Pedal MakersFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzKlone and Transparent OverdriveMythos PedalsOctave FuzzOctaverOverdrivePitchSilicon FuzzTubescreamer Style Overdrive+-
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It turns out that I’m quite the fan of Zach Broyles and his many circuit confections. And despite having only been officially properly in business for a handful of years now, Zach’s output is really rather prolific and a number of his classic circuits are already discontinued. Most of you will know his story of how he started dabbling with pedals while working at celebrated guitar hangout Carter Vintage. He got to a stage where he had established enough contacts with clients and ...

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6 of the Best All-Rounder Relatively Compact Dual-Channel / Multi-Voice / Multi-Drive Pedals

Big Muff Style FuzzBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioDistortionDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionKeeley EngineeringKlone and Transparent OverdriveLovepedalMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOverdriveStrymonTubescreamer Style OverdriveWampler+-
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This article was triggered by a question from Ryan C who wanted my take on the Boss OD-200 vs the Strymon Sunset - and why the latter was a more permanent part of my own pedal-chain versus the seemingly more capable and full-featured OD-200 - which I will endeavour to answer here as best I can.

 

I decided to widen the selection as far as possible and get in a few more alternatives for sake of comparison - while that task proved a lot tricker than I had foreseen. The key criteria were to...

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