Category: EFFECTS

OINK!

Been extensively playing with the #Pigtronix #ClassA Boost #pedal since last week.

What a great pedal! Possibly the cleanest, most transparent boost I’ve heard.
No tone coloring, no dirt or distortion with gain increase, just straight up clean volume (or decibel level) increase. Perfect for boosting the clean setting on the Normal channel of my Vox AC30. Now i can have volume unity with the crazy sweet TopBoost channel! The only other pedal ive played to do this is the Radial Bigshot PB1 Class-A Power Booster.

Thanks musiciansfriend.com! your stupid deal of the day just got way more ludicrous!

EHX English Muff’n: Revisited, Revised, Revolutionized!

I reviewed the ElectroHarmonix English Muff’n awhile back, eschewing it’s great versatility and hot overdrive tone, how quiet it is with the dual 12AX7 tubes i put in. But after acquiring the AC30, it took on a much different role: It’s become a CLEAN boost pedal for the Normal channel!

In my quest to create a working SWITCHABLE channels for the AC30. The Normal Channel is BLENDABLE with the Top Boost Channel, but not switchable between them. A major flaw, in my opinion. The answer was to use the Radial BigShot ABY pedal, though i may make my own dedicated A/B switch (it’s simple)- the Y switch keeps getting in the way. This also posed another issue: when the overdriven Top Boost is set to an ideal volume level, the clean level of the Normal Channel sounds weak. To even it up, the Normal Channel starts to break up.

Enter the English Muff’n. I swapped the 2 12AX7 tubes with the lowest gain dual triode preamp tube, 12AU7.  The overdrive became so weak that with the pedal plugged in to the dimed out Normal Channel, the Volume on the pedal maxed out JUST gives the AC30 a clean signal (the Gain knob set all the way down).  The level though is still not the same as the overdriven Top Boost Channel. There is still a noticeable difference between the two.

That said, it was a start- using the English Muff’n this way provides the Normal Channel a much needed set of TONE CONTROLS to shape the sound of that channel. The 1 Volume knob and Brilliance switch is quite limited.

Another thing to know is that the English Muff’n is, in all actuality, a true tube PREAMP.  Reading the schematics of the English Muff’n, it’s almost the same as what you’d find in a Marshall amp. That gave me an idea- i can circuit bend this thing! I can increase or decrease the gain not only thru tube rolling, but thru resistor and cap changes.

Fire up that iron!
Examining the schematics, i traced and planned out what components to modify, and struck while the iron is hot! After a day of resistor swapping, plugging in and testing the sound, i found a suitable sounding set of changes that boosted the volume level a bit, while getting the right blend of sweetness. I also found out how some changes make the tone sound brittle, or soft, or muffled, or spike-y. Handy in future amp mods.

The levels are a bit boosted now, though A/B’ing with the TB channel, it still hs a bit of a noticeable difference. Not Done Yet! I didn’t have a couple of cap values, it will have to wait for now.

ELECTRO-HARMONIX ENGLISH MUFF’N – it speaks ENGLISH!

ehxmuffn2This tank of a pedal comes in a hefty case with the two 12AX7’s protruding halfway up but protected by a tubular grill, a nifty way to not only expose and showcase the tube glow, but also to dissipate the heat it normally exudes. And this thing is HOT – figuratively and literally!
The double-barreled twin tubes produce more than enough high-voltage tone that will easily make fun, humiliate, and expose most weak wanna-be poseur fraud distortion pedals. It doesn’t eat batteries since it doesn’t NEED batteries – it hails its power straight from the AC mains thru a power converter, which allows it to heat up the tubes and pass true high voltages thru it to produce its silky tone.

At moderate settings the British sound can easily be culled from this beast, but tweak a little more, and you CAN get sounds other than what its name alludes to. Whether you want to jam on classic rock, or want to thrash it up with a chunky riff, or just want to have an overdriven amp for that three-chord punk song, this pedal can kill em all! And like any EHX pedal, tweak it a bit more (or a LOT MORE!) and you get hellacious sounds that breathe fire from the its beastial belly, a lava storm of intense and brutal redhot 30-ft-wave wallop to the senses, guts, and groin. watch out you dont obliterate yourself to oblivion when you hit that power chord!

The one great part about this pedal (as if it can’t get any better)? At those extreme settings, the pedal is SUPERQUIET! As in hardly a hiss or buzz coming thru the amp. With most other transistor pedals, just go halfway ’round the volume or level knob and you get the dreaded noisy hiss. Forget it if you dime them up – its just a wash of white noise destroying the mojo of a clean barrage of pure sound. This pedal makes noise when YOU want to make noise, and never own its own. AH-MAZING!

You say you want tone? Then you owe it to yourself to try this American-made, British-inspired pedal. Just make sure you bring your playing passport when you do!

UPDATE! February 8, 2014
Talk about versatility, in the spirit of adventure and using something for what it’s NOT intended to do, i now have this as a CLEAN BOOST pedal in front of the Normal channel of my AC30 CC2X.
To make things short, i’m using the AC30’s Normal channel for Clean, and the Top Boost for Dirt. Problem is the level between the two channels- using an ABY to switch between them, the Normal channel sounds weak once the Top Boost is set for a great saturated tone. And vice versa- the top boost can’t get dirty at the same dB level as a strong clean sound from the Normal channel.
Enter the Boost Pedal! There are quite a few of them out there (and i’ve found one i may try later), but it occurred to me that the Muff’n may just do the trick. Replaced the existing 12AX7 tubes that provide it the muscle power to spew hot lava all over your ears, and put in a pair of old stock cleartop 12AY7 tubes.
The result is a much tamer drive, but with a noticeable cleaner dB boost, with the Volume knob dimed and the gain set just before it breaks up (set at 9 o’clock). As the Normal channel only has a Volume and a Brilliance switch, the natural straight tone is simply ‘ok’, but with the Muff’n engaged, it provides a MUCH better tone. With the 3 EQ knobs, there’s more definition to the clean sound, less of a mid hump, and brings back that AC30 clean chime it’s known for.
I may still try out a true clean boost pedal that gives more dB for the clean tones, but for now, let’s rock!!!