Boss FA-1 and clones (JHS Clover, Retrosonic Boost FA1 etc)


We all know the Boss FA-1 is a key part of The Edge's tone and internet samples certainly sound great. Unfortunately I've never gotten to try one.

After years of messing with boosts I own a Soul Food, Zvex SHO clone and TC Spark Boost. So far th Spark Boost has stayed on my board and really does the trick of doing everything from adding some sauce to a clean tone all the way to making my Strat sound much beefier than the CS69 pickups would naturally.

Before I go down the rabbithole of FA-1 clones like the JHS Clover or a variant would any folks with experience tell me if I am getting anything that's is that much different than what I already have on hand? Was the FA-1 worth it for your rig?


Silver Supporting Member
I am enjoying the Valeton FP-10. It can be had (very) inexpensively on eBay frequently. I would like to try the Retrosonic at some point.


I built an Fa1 clone from BYOC and can compare, somewhat to all of your listed pedals except the Spark - never played one.

The thing about the FA1 circuit is that it is loud and clean and clear. It does not want to distort more does is color the tone. Also, the baxandall tone circuit allows for a large varieties of eq’ing options.

compared to the SHO, it’s cleaner and much more flexible tone wise. You don’t get the ever-present sparkling response, unless you want it.

Compared to the Soul Food there’s no mid hump, unless you want it, and no clipping. Also, if the Soul Food is voices like other Klon-style circuits, it will give you the low-mid punch that the FA1 doesn’t.

I really like the FA1. I have it sitting in a rack feeding my amps input jack, and it’s always on.

I went through a bunch of boosts,
including the TC Spark.

This FA-1 inspired pedal, was a real winner.
( and not expensive)

Hard to put my finger on it,
but it made my Tele sound more "full",
and my amp sound more like it was "cooking" :)


Silver Supporting Member
Like the poster above, I built the BYOC version too. It's very simple. It's a very clean, clear boost. The EQ is handy too.
I've wondered if there really was anything special from a tonal point of view that drove him to use that old Boss FA-1, or if he was simply putting a buffer really close to the guitar before, and we make too big of a deal out of it now.


Silver Supporting Member
I have the Clover, and find the mid control very handy. The Clover is great for in front of and overdrive or tube amp, as you can really dial in some nice tones. It is terrific in front of a Morning Glory.


The Clover has become an always on pedal for me. I kind of use it like a super basic EQ pedal in front of the amp.


Well that depends. I bought a Clover and immediately had to send it back. I could'nt get any nice clean tone with bridge humbuckers from it, instead a nasty clipping noise, no matter where I placed it in my pedalboard effects chain.

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