Monday, 5 September 2011

Boost Pedals

OK, so having been on a seemingly eternal quest to find some good boost pedals to stick after my Fulldrive 2 and VS Open Sound, here are some of my conclusions to help anyone asking these 2 questions:

1. What about a decent boost pedal to overdrive my amp more - or give a fuller sound?
2. What about a clean boost pedal to mainly raise volume to cut through the mix?

So here are just a few suggestions and ideas! I've put links, but these are not affiliation links (don't you just hate them!) Instead, they're the direct manufacturer links!

Barber Electronics Direct Drive - crystal sounding pedal and very highly respected. Comes with a high price but you have an excellent pedal that can be used for boost and more, and a guy who cares about his products. Another Guitar Player award winning pedal with an Editors pick. £129 UK price.

BBE Boosta Grande - this one is a constant recommendation. No colouration of tone, 20db of boost which is transparent and clean. Very highly recommended. Award from Guitar Player, Editors pick. One control. £85 UK price.

Boost Switch Pedals - do a number of boost pedals including a Clean Boost, Rangemaster type boosts and other overdrive / Germaniun pedals, starting at £39.95 UK depending on the pedal. These pedals are hand made and high quality.

Carl Martin Hydra Boost - another clean boost of 15db with one control. This one won an award by Guitarist Magazine as the most efficient clean boost they'd used. It is a very clean pedal with apparently a slight top end 'airy' boost. c£70 UK price.

Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 - This is the cheapest boost on the market, but universal agreement is that this is not a transparent / clean boost. Instead, it has a slightly bass-heavy end and overdrives your amp further. Perfect if this is what you're looking for. c£30 UK price.

MXR Micro Amp - this pedal has a lot of love as it doesn't affect your tone. Instead, it is a very transparent sounding boost pedal which retails for around £69. Music Radar have this in their Top 10 stompboxes they can't do without, a pre-amp in a solid box.

Toadworks MEAT Jr Deluxe Boost - another great boost pedal, with one volume button but also a 'fat' switch to give it some 'phatness' and the clean will just be a clean linear boost in signal, although seen at least one review which suggests there may be a little compression in the clean boost. True bypass. £60 UK.

Visual Sound Truetone Boost - Visual sound are another great company with a very highly regarded and extremely clean and quiet boost in its unique frame. Two knobs for boost and tone and an internal voltage boost so you truly do get a 15db boost, even with a 9v power supply. £99 UK.

ZVEX Super Duper (two ZVEX SHO pedals in one) - an unusual pedal (sometimes with a crackle as the internal pots rebias themselves). Very expensive as an original but check ebay for quality clones. This gives you effectively 4 levels of guitar volume - without pedal / channel 1 with just a gain knob / channel 2 with gain and master / channel 1 cascaded into channel 2. £225 UK. Can get very loud so don't crank it, if you value your amp.

Xotic EP Booster - comes in a mini frame but produces 20db boost from its tiny and classy frame. Also very highly recommended boost, with an internal DIP switch to provide bass boost or not, and bright or not. £120 UK.

For a bit more cash, get the Xotic RC Booster which comes with a 20db clean boost and a 15db 2 band EQ. True bypass. Around £169 UK.

Fulltone OCD - Ok so this isn't a boost pedal (it does boost and a lot more besides!!), but if you take the drive down to zero and crank the volume, you can use as a clean boost. Works well alongside the Fulldrive 2.

Clones -

BYOC kits do a confidence booster kit in the UK. If you want a bit more from your boost, the Tri-Boost at £68 is the way to go, with a germanium boost (Dallas Rangemaster), an EHX LPB-1 type boost and a MosFET type boost. do a clean boost for £45. has a Saltbooster with a boost, based on the EHX LPB-1 but modified so there is no tone loss / change common with the LPB-1. Be aware build time is 4-6 weeks. This is £40. He also has the Saltbooster + which has a tone knob added to the single knob on the regular booster - £45 from

Ebay - You can also find various other clean boosts on ebay. Plus it's a great place to look for clones of some of these classic pedals, with and without adaptations. The clones are just as good most of the time and come at a fraction of the price. Find a respected pedal builder, check the feedback and ratings etc (for a while back) and then buy in confidence, although many won't do returns. If not, and you have a problem, get online ( for example) and get problem solving!

So after all that, which one did I go for? Good question... I'll let you know when I've decided! It won't be the EHX LPB-1. I do love EHX but have often found their other pedals a little too 'digital' sounding and soundclips of the LPB-1 don't inspire - so won't be an LPB-1 clone either. Most likely I'll get an OCD clone, a Salbooster + or build one :)

June 2018 - the boost pedal I went for in the end was a compressor pedal, the Fender Microcompressor. Works fairly well as a boost. I realise others will compress all the time and have a boost, but for me it's not quite so important. Works fairly well and gives an extra 'boost' to volume, although of course it changes the overdrive sound. Have it first in the chain on the pedalboard.

No comments:

Post a Comment

No abuse or swearing or spam to other blogs cheers...