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Author Topic:  (Looking For Boost/Preamp/Overdrive)..looks like I've got it
Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 6 Jun 2022 1:28 pm    
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I've got my big pedalboard and my small one for tight bandstands. I discovered this stompbox and I love it. It is the first thing on my board, it sits right by my picking hand and I use it to tweak the tone, to drive the amp (and other dirt pedals on the board) and the big plus is that it can do light clipping, too, at the flick of a switch. But the cleans are totally 100% clean, not just dialed down overdrive. It is crazy cheap too.





I want another one for my second board but I hate buying two of the same thing when there are so many pedals out there. So before I double this, does anyone know any other pedals that do all this --tone shaper, CLEAN boost AND clipping?
I'm actually trying my long-gathering-dust Tech21 Blonde and it sounds nice but I'm not sure.....


Last edited by Jon Light on 9 Jun 2022 3:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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John Ducsai

 

From:
New Hampshire, USA
Post  Posted 6 Jun 2022 3:37 pm    
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Brad Sarno's Earth Drive gets my vote...
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC
Post  Posted 7 Jun 2022 8:45 am    
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Well for years I used and bragged on the Voodoo Labs Sparkle drive, like 10 years. BUT a few months ago I was making a deal on a guitar sale in a local store and on the floor was a Wampler Paisley plugged into into a SF - DLX Rvb. I went out to the car and grabbed my trusty Tele with the B Bender, went back in and plugged in. I messed with it for about 5 min and then made a deal on the Wampler Pedal, trading in the ..uhhh.. Sparkle Drive !

I don't impress easily but the Wampler Dual drive Paisley pedal got my attention. Clean, ( no drive) add some Drive ( 1 ) then add more drive ( 2) , with TONE controls. Kinda does it all. My own style, my preference is Clean and/or some drive, I don't go to #2 often, but its there ready and waiting when I do !


Give it a look- Be aware though, it ain't cheap ! Laughing


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Emmons L-II , Fender Telecasters, B-Benders
Pro Tools 8 and Pro Tools 12
jobless- but not homeless- now retired 7 years

CURRENT MUSIC TRACKS AT > https://tprior2241.wixsite.com/website
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 7 Jun 2022 8:58 am    
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Thanks Tony. That is definitely in line with my list of requirements. The Sparkle Drive never quite did it for me (but mine is so old that it is from the notorious batch with bad foot switches and I've never gotten around to changing out the switch so it has not been on a board in many years). And for my purposes, the Sparkle's tone shaping falls short (but no, you are not suggesting it -- it was your way of coming around to the Wampler). I'll definitely spend some time with Youtube demos of the Wampler. Thanks.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 7 Jun 2022 9:21 am    
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But Tony, I'm seeing that (I think) you meant that "Clean" was without the pedal engaged. The thing I really like about the Spark is that it can be always on as a 100% clean boost. I am liking the result of a boosted signal, straight into the amp. And I'm liking how it enhances most everything after it in the pedal chain. The Paisley, at its cleanest, still seems to lend a tiny bit of 'amp just on the edge of breaking up'. IOW it doesn't quite do 100% clean boost. Unless I'm wrong.
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Sandy Inglis


From:
Christchurch New Zealand
Post  Posted 8 Jun 2022 12:44 am    
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I had a loan of a Maestro Boost Pedal and it was amazing!
Unfortunately I had to return it and I have yet to find one.
I currently use a Danelectro distortion pedal on a light setting and I get by.
Sandy
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 8 Jun 2022 3:29 am    
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I've recently come to appreciate clean boost. When I'm using that, I literally want NO clipping, no dirt. I really like the richness, fatness that it lends to an already good tone. The beauty of the TC Electronics pedal is that you can add a little grind with the gain knob and then a little more with the flick of the switch. But it will still come back to a pure clean preamp when you want. I have found in most guitarist demos that with low-gain ODs, there is still some distortion added at "0" gain. Good sounding distortion but for the most part a guitarists definition of "clean" is not quite as literal as a steel player's.
If I were looking for clean boosts, it would be tough to choose among the dozens of good ones. And I've already got way way too many dirt pedals. This trifecta is the tough nut. Could be that the Spark is a rare bird. I really like it. May just get a second one.
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Greg Forsyth

 

From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 8 Jun 2022 5:48 am     Xotic Effects boost pedals
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Has anyone tried any of the Xotic boost pedals? I have an EP booster that is a great pedal but isn't a clean boost - and I'm wondering about their Super Sweet booster and Super Clean buffer booster pedals?
Might be something Jon's looking for and reasonably priced.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 8 Jun 2022 6:27 am    
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You know -- I know people who LOVE Xotic pedals. I had sort of forgotten about them. You've got me looking at their line up. First thing I hit on is the BB Preamp

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BBPreampv15--xotic-bb-preamp-v-1.5-pedal





This might be a lot similar to the Spark. Except it's got a few less features and it costs $100 more. But noteworthy.

.
.
.
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Greg Forsyth

 

From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 8 Jun 2022 6:38 am    
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You really can't beat the pricing of the TC Spark. Looks like they go for around $70.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 8 Jun 2022 7:03 am    
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Greg Forsyth wrote:
You really can't beat the pricing of the TC Spark. Looks like they go for around $70.


Yep. The features alone are 'next level' for me.
Now---if someone whose ears and experience I trusted told me "if you like the Spark, you will LOVE the much more expensive 'xxxxx' -- it just sounds that much better...." then I'd have to at least consider it. It is so hard to buy a duplicate when there might be something else I want to try. But it's not so crazy to double down if it is just a good pedal.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC
Post  Posted 8 Jun 2022 12:25 pm    
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Jon Light wrote:
But Tony, I'm seeing that (I think) you meant that "Clean" was without the pedal engaged. The thing I really like about the Spark is that it can be always on as a 100% clean boost. I am liking the result of a boosted signal, straight into the amp. And I'm liking how it enhances most everything after it in the pedal chain. The Paisley, at its cleanest, still seems to lend a tiny bit of 'amp just on the edge of breaking up'. IOW it doesn't quite do 100% clean boost. Unless I'm wrong.


John you are correct , the Wampler Paisley does not have a CLEAN BOOST/gain, I don't think its supposed to . As you correctly stated, I wrote Clean,( no ped) mild OD #1 and then a bunch more with #2 .

The Sparkle Drive does allow for setting clean boost but ya gotta turn the knob to get some more gain or OD.

I did use a clean boost years back but pulled it from the pedal board, I have a few amps that I use which give me all the clean gain I desire, so the Boost ped didn't really add much for me. I do understand that there are times a clean boost is a very good thing.

tp
_________________
Emmons L-II , Fender Telecasters, B-Benders
Pro Tools 8 and Pro Tools 12
jobless- but not homeless- now retired 7 years

CURRENT MUSIC TRACKS AT > https://tprior2241.wixsite.com/website
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Tal Herbsman


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 8 Jun 2022 12:46 pm    
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What about analogman? Prince of tone or king of tone. The clean setting does clean boost and to my ears makes everything sound marvelous. Almost an always on kind of pedal. I'm not a connoisseur of clean boosts so do take with a grain of salt. King of tone takes three or four years to get off the waiting list but I think Prince of tone is readily available. Either pedal should be pretty easy to sell off without losing much if you don't like it.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 8 Jun 2022 1:02 pm    
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Tal -- that's a really good suggestion. I'm watching some demos. I never paid much heed to Analogman for exactly that lifetime waitlist thing with the KOT. I was not aware of the Prince. It's a good sounding pedal, isn't it?

edited to add --- looks like there's a trick to buying one. Not in stock, maybe you have to be there in real time when a batch drops Wed. afternoons. Meanwhile they are reselling on Reverb for way over new price. Oh well.


Last edited by Jon Light on 8 Jun 2022 1:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tal Herbsman


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 8 Jun 2022 1:07 pm    
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Jon, it is amazing I think. I have a few light distortion type pedals and I love this one the most. I find it totally transparent. Just the sound of your guitar and a little bit extra something. A little compression and a little bit of a mid boost maybe. If you watch the demos just note that it has three modes, one of them is a clean boost. The king of tone as far as I know is a couple of stacked prince of tone circuits. I have the king of tone so I can vouch for that one for sure. The king of tone has this ridiculous waiting list people then turn around and sell it for twice as much on reverb. I waited for mine. It was worth the wait.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 8 Jun 2022 1:11 pm    
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I just added to my post above.....looks like it's a jump-thru-hoops purchase ordeal. Not sure I'm up to the game.
But thanks for the review. I really like the sound of your description and I like the sound of the demos.
I wonder if the Spark is based on this?
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Stephen Abruzzo

 

From:
Philly, PA
Post  Posted 9 Jun 2022 7:15 am    
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Since you kind of nixed the Xotic EP Booster, allow me to send in a vote for the Xotic AC Plus. You can get them on Reverb.com. Absolutely, outstanding clean boost that you can dirty up if you want. 2 channels. Check out this YT vid......https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-l5FX1x9s0
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 9 Jun 2022 7:53 am    
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Oh -- nice pedal. Didn't show up on my searches but I do see it on Reverb. Thanks for this. It sounds good!
I am NOT sitting here looking to shoot down ideas. But I'm not certain that the 'clean boost' is truly 100% free of distortion. It's tough to tell when demos always want to show boost driving an amp's tube breakup. Can't tell what's the pedal, what's the amp. I'm reading some comments that refer to the boost as 'almost' clean.
This is what I like about the Spark -- clean is clean. I can play big chords with no dirt beyond maybe a bit of increase in the intermodulating distortion such as what you'd get from a Twin Reverb. Or I can increase the Spark's gain and get into light-clipped overdrive.

It is looking like another Spark is on the way. It sure feels wrong but I guess there's no law against buying a duplicate.
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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania and Gallatin, Tennessee
Post  Posted 9 Jun 2022 9:52 am    
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Your review plus looking at a few youtube demos pretty much convinces me that I should try one of these Spark pedals. At $69.99 brand new, I can't see how to go very far wrong. Running into a hyper-clean amp, tube or solid-state, sometimes I need to change the character with an OD or distortion pedal. But when I'm playing a really good tube amp that has a ton of character on its own, I usually don't want to change the basic sound, but want just a little more.

I buy duplicates pretty frequently. I have multiple boards for multiple uses. When I find something that does something just the way I want it, I usually want it on more than one, if not all, of my boards. Two examples are the Simble (Dumble-style) overdrive and the Origin Effects Slide Rig Compact Deluxe. Those are two pedal that I just miss if not present. I should just dump all my other compressors and get another one or two Slide Rigs.

I got a Prince of Tone several years ago, and I've been on the King of Tone waiting list for 2-3 years now. Maybe I'll get one before I'm too old to use it, ha! I think the POT is a good pedal, but I don't find the clean boost particularly transparent. Now I gather that there are some dip switches and a trimpot inside that I don't think I've messed with. See this thread on the gear page - https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/prince-of-tone-am-i-missing-something - so maybe I'm missing something. As I said, I think it's a good overdrive/distortion pedal, but I think it's different than this Spark. But I dunno, I haven't played both.

BTW - I have some pure "clean boost" pedals. The Pigtronix Class A Boost Micro Effects Pedal, a micro-sized pedal. It's very transparent, if all you want is a clean boost. Also one of those Supro Boost pedals, that I believe is out of production. Basic JFET clean boost with additional switch to get Bright and Dark modes. Maybe another one or two besides, I am stacked to the walls with pedals right now. I had one of those Duncan pickup boosters - was pretty nice but a friend needed it so I gave it to him. Anyway - I need to shed some of this stuff I'm not using.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 9 Jun 2022 10:30 am    
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Dave Mudgett wrote:
............... - I need to shed some of this stuff I'm not using.............

Man.....I have a wall of shelving with nothing but stomp boxes. I...just...can't....sell anything. But I'm gearing my mind up for doing just that. All of it is stuff I am just not going to use and some of it seems to have a surprising value to someone.

Anyway, just before reading this I had pressed the button and bought another Spark. Your blessings Wink make me feel more solid.
And I'm glad to read confirmation about my concerns with the POT. You point out to a guitarist the slight distortion in the 'clean' tone of a lot of boost/ODs, I believe they will just not hear it. I get it. That's just the sound of a tube amp, to most ears.
I just like having something at my fingertips as a preamp to control and sometimes fatten the tone. Finding a pedal that also has very controllable clipping added to this is just a score.
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George Macdonald

 

From:
Vancouver Island BC Canada
Post  Posted 9 Jun 2022 11:31 am     Spark boost
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I have the mini spark that has volume boost only that I have used with my lap steels when I had an under powered "45" watt Quilter amp pedal. I just tried the mini with my pedal steel and liked it, so I ordered the bigger version with tone control too, for my pedal steel, and the mini will move to my lap steel set up. Both my lap steel [on a stand], and my pedal steel go into my Fender Tonemaster Twin. The Twin has plenty of volume, but the Spark just adds something. By the way, I have two Strymon reverb pedals. The Flint for my lap steels, and The Blue Sky for my pedals steel. They are both great pedals. I have other reverb pedals too, but if I sell something I sometimes buy another one, so I have stopped selling stuff.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 9 Jun 2022 12:27 pm    
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I've got to believe that you will like the added features, George. Not only is it nice to shape the bass & treble before it hits the amp, but if you dial down the Level while dialing up the Gain (to maintain an approx. even output) you get a bit of fattening of the overall tone before you start to perceive the distortion that you are actually adding. Or you can dial back the Gain and just use the Level for a boosted signal.
Since I have this elevated right next to my fingertips, it is a really convenient and versatile way to tweak for however I am hearing myself (or wanting to hear myself) in the mix.
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George Macdonald

 

From:
Vancouver Island BC Canada
Post  Posted 9 Jun 2022 12:36 pm     Spark Boost pedal
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Thanks Jon,
I'm looking forward to the added features that the full size Spark has. I have my pedals [only reverb and delay] on a stool next to me for easy reach. The Spark will be added to mix.
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Len Amaral

 

From:
Rehoboth,MA 02769
Post  Posted 9 Jun 2022 3:18 pm    
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I have been using the TC Spark as an always on pedal on my small board. I keep the gain off as that can a a bit of hair to the sound. However, very handy to no not turn around and fiddle with your amp as you can adjust volume, bass & treble at your finger tips. The mid & fat switch are useful also to change the character of the tone.

Intermittently, I swap out the Spark for a Boss Bass compressor depending what amp I am using. It serves the same purpose but instead of bass & treble it has a single tone control.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 9 Jun 2022 3:37 pm    
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Yep. Always on. And I find that dirt pedals down the signal chain tend to sound fuller and less fizzy when this is on, either just boosting the steel or also when they are hit with an already slightly clipped signal (gain stacking).
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