Benson Preamp Hype/Reality Thread

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by JokeSmuggler, May 18, 2018.

  1. JJackson

    JJackson Member

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    I've had this pedal now for about 3 months and here are my feelings about it at this point and how I am utilizing it...

    My main rig is a Fryette GP/DI into Fryette PS-2 and Fane A60 1x12. With this setup I never use the Benson Preamp because the Fryette's overdrive tones are already so glorious.

    Where I've found the Benson Preamp to be super useful and great sounding is when I need to run direct. In those situations, I am using the Benson Preamp as my "amp" running into a Neunaber Iconoclast for my "cabinet" with time based effects sitting in between the Benson and the Neunaber.

    Hearing this setup fed back to me through a floor monitor or in-ears, I honestly cannot tell the difference (in a mix) between this and a mic'd up amp.

    The Benson Pre is very responsive to volume knob changes just like a real amp would be and along with the compression added by the Neunaber makes the whole thing feel very much like a real amp.

    So whereas I don't use it in the typical fashion as an OD pedal, I am extremely happy about the way it sounds in my mini-direct rig.
     
  2. JokeSmuggler

    JokeSmuggler Supporting Member

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    They sound pretty close. I don't think they are exactly the same, and you can dial the EQ to make it more different. So you can use it as a second channel, or a clean boost, or a dirty boost, or a mid-boost without too much effort and without it drastically changing the sound. I really like that about it! I don't think it's too much of the same thing because of how I'm using it (slightly dirty slightly mid-boosted).

    I set my Monarch on edge-of-breakup so it still has some clean room if I need it. It's very dynamic.
     
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  3. Gallery

    Gallery Supporting Member

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    Thanks!
     
  4. dhdfoster

    dhdfoster Silver Supporting Member

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    I was going to ask about using the Benson this way. Thanks!
     
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  5. ajoep

    ajoep Member

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    Is the Benson a real preamp or just an OD ?
     
  6. JJackson

    JJackson Member

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    I think it's been said that the Benson is modeled after the preamp section of the Chimera but voiced to run into an amp. I'm not sure if that answer the question exactly, but it seems to me to be a bit of a mutant. I've had great success using it as a preamp. Others love it as a flavor of OD.
     
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  7. Breaker of Strings

    Breaker of Strings Member

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  8. UrbanHymns

    UrbanHymns Supporting Member

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    The Preamp pairs wonderfully with the Monarch. Technically, the Preamp is based on the Chimera, which is 30w (the Monarch is 15w). But that's splitting hairs.

    I run my Monarch with just a slight amount of hair. This is volume setting 6 with my Telecaster, which has low output single coils. So mostly clean. Then I click on the Preamp when I want more of an edge-of-breakup or low gain tone. So the Gain knob on the Preamp is around 10 o'clock, and the volume knob is set for unity (around Noon).

    To my ears, the Preamp is just more of the Monarch. So to some people, that would seem to be "too much of the same thing". But what's the point of spending $2500 on the Monarch and then using more colored overdrive pedals to make your overdriven tone sound different, at least for lower gain stuff? I play some venues where I can't run the volume knob past 2 or 3, which is super clean. So the Preamp comes in super handy then.

    Word of caution: I didn't like the Preamp at first. It took me about a month to really dial in a sound I liked. I run both EQ knobs at 9 or 10 o'clock, so I am dialing out some frequencies to get a more mid-rangey tone.
     
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  9. Gallery

    Gallery Supporting Member

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    Thanks. By 'too much of the same thing' my concern was stacking the same tone stack which might overly accentuate certain frequencies that are tamed when not stacking, versus using a transparent OD that would allow the EQ curve of the amp to shine through unaffected. I wasn't really sure what doubling up the preamp would do to the EQ. Certainly using a Benson amp with a Benson OD would be fitting if it maintained the Benson tone.
     
  10. UrbanHymns

    UrbanHymns Supporting Member

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    Oh it for sure maintains the Benson tone. It's really the only preamp / clean boost / low gain drive that actually sounds like my Benson Monarch, with more umph. Which is funny considering that I have tried many other "transparent" pedals with the Monarch that really aren't transparent at all. They all take away from the core Monarch tone. The Preamp doesn't do that. It's Benson + more.
     
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  11. Gallery

    Gallery Supporting Member

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    Thanks, this is good to know!
     
  12. nicolasmasset

    nicolasmasset Member

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    Do you still have your benson? What cornish pedals did you compare it to? I've got a CC1. Care to share more detailed observations?
     
  13. ItJustRocks

    ItJustRocks Gold Supporting Member

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    I still have my Benson. I compared it to the CC1, SS3, and G2. I cleared those cornish pedals only because I needed funds. Those Cornish pedals are all really different and stack up against the benson differently. The CC1 is a beautiful light gain boost/ eq adjust and I regret selling and will order another shortly. I did not do a lot of A-B ing between those two. The benson definitely can get more gain and can take over your sound more. YOu can dial the CC1 to be almost undetectable or make up frequencies or add a nice gain boost to the sound. Plus the CC1 has a mids control that makes a world of difference with the tonal options. I would think they would play well together.

    I thought the Benson was a lot smoother than the SS3. The SS3 has a fuzzy texture that I don't like so I greatly preferred the Benson over it. The benson does get a bit fuzzy if you dime the gain but overall its a very full sound across the gain range.

    The G2 cuts some bass, ups the mids, and has a marshally sweet spot when you get it with the right amp that is a great sound. I love it. However, in my experience I dial in that sound and that's all I get from that pedal. With the Benson I can get a lot more usable and great sounding options, plus move the bass to exactly where I want it.

    I think the Benson is more flexible than any one Cornish. The CC1 and G2 though are awesome in their own right.
     
  14. nicolasmasset

    nicolasmasset Member

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    Thank! Does it have that Cornish polish though? That quality stamp all over it. You know what I mean?
    Oftentimes I don't find my CC1 to be the fastest of pedals, it compresses quite a lot. But man, what a compression right? Just this incredibly juicy thick sweet syrup. I want a drive pedal that has that cornish polish but is faster on the attack. Into my lazy J 5e3 that is...
     
  15. ItJustRocks

    ItJustRocks Gold Supporting Member

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    I would have to do a direct A-B now instead of trying to go off of memory. Speaking from memory I would say there is nothing quite like that Cornish refinement to the sound. But the Benson is a solid pedal and has a great range of all four knobs while retaining its sound. It does that better than most pedals I've tried.
     

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