Blackstone Mosfet first thoughts

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by DylanGuitar, Nov 3, 2005.


  1. DylanGuitar

    DylanGuitar Member

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    Hi all. Just bought the Blackstone OD and I must admit to being a little underwhelmed. Let me preface this by saying that I'm held up in a hotel room without a screwdriver, so I haven't been able to crack it open and adjust the treble (not to mention the capacitors).
    However, I have been able to stack it up against a H&K Tubefactor and an RC Booster running through a Roland Jazz Chorus (not an ideal OD amp, I know....)
    Out of the box I think it sounds kind of mirky and lacks presence. ..kinda fuzzy....but with no real sparkle. Kind of hard to describe. The tubefactor sound nice and open, rich with harmonic content but a little bit shrill in the midrange (a little 2kish). I swapped out the stock 12ax7 with a 12au7 which made this pedal come alive. The RC booster sounds a little mellower in the midrange, perhaps a bit more compressed, but still a nice sounding overdrive.
    Out of the box the Blackstone doesn't stack up to these 2 pedals..at least to my ears. Are there any others on this board who have this pedal who can chime in?
    Like a said, I'm writing this without having opened up the thing, but out of the box, I would think I should be able to hit at least in the ballpark.....especially after reading stellar review after review.

    Thanks!

    Dylan

    PS Playing through a strat...... Pickup configuration is JB Junior in the Bridge, Lil 59 in the middle and I forget in the neck (single coil)(
     
  2. YZDanno

    YZDanno Member

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    I had the same experience with the Blackstone. Sounded more like a fuzz pedal to me rather than an OD/Dist. It's been a while since I bought/returned it, but I seem to remember it sounding rather thin. I only had it for about a week though, so perhaps I didn't spend enough time with it.
     
  3. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    What version do you have(listed under the battery) as supposedly version 3 has had some tweaks done to the master eq. section....I just got a hold of version 2 which had an eq. mod. done to it..it basically takes the shared eq. and makes it only avaliable to the Red Channel where IMO it is most needed...I leave that all the way CW...or at its flattest setting and have found no reason to move it...

    I liked the pedal right from the first power chord and after my first go around with it that was what it excelled at...tight harmonically rich power chords which cleaned up better with the guitars volumn control ( really rich sparkly BF clean sounds) better than any pedal I've ever had...apparently I am in the minority as I actually liked both channels and could get them to sound similar with some tweaking...most people like the orange or brown channel and not the red...

    Having said that in the beginning I didn't so much care for the solo tones with my rig...that is until I read about how the pedal works...you can do a search here and over at the Music Toyz forum and get some really in depth valuable tweaking info...after tweaking the gain and presence/treble more to my liking the solo tones are now very usable as well...

    Anyway I wasn't really looking for another solo tone but rather a pedal that would turn my Fargen Dual Classic into a rock crunch machine... that way I wouldn't have to go buy another amp for another project I maybe getting involved with...if I get the gig then this pedal will have probably saved me thousands...what I am also liking is running a Klon or Lockhart Tone Wizard after the Blackstone although with the Klon it can get a bit hissy...

    if you have version 3 and are contemplating dumping it please send me an email(profile) I might know someone who is interested in it;)

    Chow,
    Seegs
     
  4. DylanGuitar

    DylanGuitar Member

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    Thanks for the info. I'll check musictoyz for the tweeks. I'm going to spend at least a couple of days with it to see, but If I'm not digging it, I'll let you know. The version is 25v3

    Thanks again,

    Dylan
     
  5. DylanGuitar

    DylanGuitar Member

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    I see from one of your other posts that you have/had a Timmy. How would you compare that to the Blackstone?

    Thanks,

    Dylan
     
  6. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    The Timmy is just a great pedal for low/med gain stuff...it doesn't really impart it's own distortion or od texture on your sound but rather gives you your amp plus more...it has a rather flat eq. unlike the Blackstone which is really mid. heavy...plus the eq. controls are cut so at full CW the treble and bass are full and at full CC they are at full cut...the bass is pre gain so you can dial the bass back before you add gain...this way the bass doesn't woof out...the treble is after the distortion so when you add gain you can tailor the amout of treble you want based on the amount of gain you dial in...

    it doesn't really doesn't clean up with guitar vol. control reduction but as a lower gain box that is not really needed IMO...

    the Blackstone into the Timmy is a really nice combo as when you lower your guitars volumn the Blackstone cleans up and fades out and then you have the Timmy and vice versa...

    Chow,
    Seegs
     
  7. slacker

    slacker Senior Member

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    I've had mine since Feb. I cannot comment on what it's like with a ss amp but I've used it with various tube amps and liked it.

    The pedal is so tweakable that you cannot really judge it without spending some time with it.

    SKip this if you know it already, the gain controls work in a very weird way. 12 o clock is min. Turning the gain counterclockwise the gain increases and the manual states that this side is for humbuckers. Turning the gain clockwise from 12 o clock the gain increases and this is for single coils. Ignoring this terminology what you have is two different types of gain (four if you count both channels). THe bucker side has less gain and the single side has more mids. You can pull down some of the mids from the tone control.

    I bought mine to use with my Les Paul. I intened to never use it with the Strat and the odd times I did I want impressed. However a couple of times I've had the board set up with the Blackstone as the sole od and I couldnt be bothered to change pedals over. It just takes longer to get good sounds from a Strat with this pedal. I prefer the brown channel with min gain for the Strat and red channel max bucker side gain for the LP.

    IMHO you need to spend some time with the pedal, adjust the internal trimmers and then decide what to do with it.
     
  8. ES330

    ES330 Supporting Member

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    I have had two. One is the most awesome pedal I own. THe other was pure shrill. The eq knob in the middle, turn it all the
    way for single coil, turn fully back the other way for humbuckers. I forget which pickups go full clockwise or go full counter clockwise at the moment.

    This pedal only sounds good when the drive is about 9.5.

    Good Luck
     
  9. threm

    threm Member

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    I`ve been interested in the Blackstone and bookmarked a few posts.

    tedzepplin wrote a couple of months ago;

    "I'm getting the type of sound you described with my single coil guitar and my Blackstone overdrive. www.blackstoneappliances.com
    You really need to experiment with the different settings inside the pedal though. When I first bought it, I loved it right out of the box but now I'm using a different guitar and different amp and I didn't like the pedal anymore (I thought I was losing the low end through the pedal) - I then tried a bunch of pedals - including Timmy - which is my favorite booster. a hotplate attenuator (so i could drive the tubes without a pedal) --- a few pedals later, I went back to the Blackstone Mosfet Overdrive Model 2Sv3 and tried different settings with the gain and treble dials inside the pedal. I found that if I turn the gain up almost all the way on the inside and on the outside of the pedal I turn the Brown channel gain all the way down, I get all my low end back. It now sounds perfectly transparent for me but with the best overdrive I've been able to get with any pedal. the outside tone control can be set flat or turned to increase bass and treble while cutting mids - that works great with my guitar and amp.

    The Timmy is great for transparent boosting and adding overdrive but I now like the Blackstone's overdrive better."
    http://thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?threadid=100233&perpage=15&pagenumber=2


    A Blackstone thread -

    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?threadid=99261&highlight=blackstone
     
  10. threm

    threm Member

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    Al, what`s the difference between the two??
    Two different versions?

    Thanks!
     
  11. ES330

    ES330 Supporting Member

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    They were both the same version, the latest one.
    I never messed with the internals on either, should've but didn't

    I tell you this, if you like your Blackstone, you won't believe
    what it sounds like followed by a Honey Bee !! I really liked
    the Blackstone followed by the TIM, but the Honey Bee worked
    with the Blackstone even better !
     
  12. DylanGuitar

    DylanGuitar Member

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    Thanks everyone for such great posts. I'll be hitting radio shack today to get some different capacitors and spend some time tweeking. I'll let you know how I make out.

    Thanks again!

    Dylan
     
  13. threm

    threm Member

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    Thanks!

    After trying my friends Honey Bee I`m afraid to say that it`s on my list of `must have` pedals.
     
  14. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    Al could you share your settings on the Blackstone and HB as I just happen to have both of those pedals laying around here;)

    Chow,
    Seegs
     
  15. ES330

    ES330 Supporting Member

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    Sure, but you'll have to remind me again for the in-laws are staying here right now so no amplication for awhile.

    I do already know on the Blackstone the eq is set full clockwise or counter clockwise depending on whether you're using humbuckers or single coils. I turn the drive all the way up then roll it back just little. 10 is too much, 9 is too low. You have to
    adjust that for taste.

    I'll have to get back to you on the HB.

    OH YEAH, get the blackstone out of reactive mode.
     
  16. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    Ok I'll remind you...I'd be happy to get the BS out of reactive mode if I knew what reactive mode was...is it on a dipswitch;)

    Chow,
    Seegs
     
  17. sstweed

    sstweed Supporting Member

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    I have had two different Blackstones through the years (since 2000). It is easily my longest running board inhabitant. The first was a version 2 (#004) and the current one is a 3.1. It is a great pedal but not like anything else out there that I have seen. It is extremely tweekable. Disceptively so in fact. There in lies the danger IMO. The pedal can be tweeked to sound absolutely aweful with any given rig, or absolutely amazing. I had a love hate relationship with it for much of the time I owned it, until one night I had several hours of quality time to devote to it. Then and only then (and I had owned it for years at this point - I have three kids, it takes me a while to get around to things) did I really love the pedal. I immediately fell in love with the dynamics of the pedal. Only a real tube amp and a germanium fuzz clean up better than a Blackstone (in reactive mode) to my knowledge. The V3.1 allows this to be turned off, but the ability to clean up is what attracted me to the pedal in the first place. Just a brilliant concept really. But two things throw people off out of the gate. One the Blackstone is very textured, much like an older tube amp. Not smooth and violin-like at all. Raspy almost fuzzy. Think of the way the early Marshalls or Tweeds break up. The bass doesnn't stay real tight. This wasn't a problem for me, I like that. I like that a lot. The other problem some have is that out of the box the Blackstone can be voiced somewhat boxey in some rigs (including Fenders). After much tweeking in my "quality time" evening I discovered eccentricities that I learned to play to my advantage. One quirk I found odd was that the ouside gain control adds a LOT of midrange as you crank it up. Don't do that. Roll the outside gain control back until the TONE is right to your ears, then up the internal gain to compensate for the gain you lost backing off the upper gain control. While you are in there, adjust the treble now to suit your ears. To me the Blackstone has harmonics that lend it a darker flavor. Don't shy away from that, because the pedal shines at the darker thing, but you can get a little of the sparkle back with the internal treble. The last thing I did was experiment with a bunch of cap values in the feedback position. It comes with a 330pf, and I think I ended up around 250pf. That all but elliminated any boxiness through my amps. The brown and the red channel sound good (and you can now roll the outside gain on the red channel up quite a bit higher than the browns without the boxey midrange returning). This pedal doesn't like being forced into something it isn't. You will learn to love what the Blackstone does or you will hate it and sell it and wonder what all the fuss is about. As tweekable as it is, you still can't get that inherant Blackstone texture out of it. So if you have fusiony Dumble violin smooth, or crunchy tight bassed eighties big stack sounds in your head, your not going to get any satisfaction here IMO. As far as stacking with the Timmy, I say yes to that one all the time. I have turned a couple of people here on to this combo (I don't usually like pedals stacked). I haven't tried the Honey Bee, and since I can't really afford one right now I don't want too. But the Blackstone - Timmy combo is very cool indeed. Thick and textured, again nothing smooth here. Think raunchy tweed. Saxophone, not violin. Another cool thing. The Blackstone cleans up real wellas I mentioned, but for the most part the Timmy doesn't. So with the Blackstone first in the combo, you are sort of blending the Blackstone in and out of the distortion mix with your guitars volume. Neither pedal is set with its gain too high mind you. A mild to medium gain, at most, from both, or it is too much. The Timmy has its diodes turned off. The two just seem to compliment one another, at least through my amps. Long story short, stick with the Blackstone long enough to tweek it nine ways to sunday. I don't gaurantee that you will love it, but at least see what it will do. If you get what it does you will be well rewarded. If you don't get it, they have great resale value.
     
  18. ES330

    ES330 Supporting Member

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    Yeah, there is an internal dipswitch. Definitely get it OUT of reactive mode. The instructions used to be on the website, but I just checked and they're nowhere to be found. I think the reactive mode might also be called buffered mode.

    The pedal will breathe alot more.

    I think the pedal ships in reactive/buffered mode.
     
  19. threm

    threm Member

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    Thanks for the great post, Maple!
     
  20. sstweed

    sstweed Supporting Member

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    It used to ship in non-buffered mode. It isn't a buffered switch like on a lot of pedals. It is a buffer on the input signal(Blackstone is always true bypass). In one mode it is very "reactive" (unbuffered) to your guitars volume and in another mode it isn't. The pedal was partly designed around its ability to clean up well with the guitars volume and the ability to switch that off is a fairly recent addition. The only downside is that in non-buffered mode the Blackstone really likes to be first in the chain like a fuzz pedal. Anything else driving the Blackstone negates the cleanup effect. Switch the buffer on and you can put the Blackstone anywhere in the signal flow, but you loose the ability to cleanup so well. If yours doesn't say version 3.1 you don't have the ability to turn it on or off (for example 3.0). If you do have 3.1, it is a little internal slide switch that you can reach with a paper clip.
     

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