Holy Fire pedal in da house!

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Frankenstrat2, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Frankenstrat2

    Frankenstrat2 Member

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    I almost walked right past these babies at the Amp Show in May. One of my good buddies from Premier Guitar pointed me back into their room and insisted I check it out, even though my pedal needs were completely filled.
    I gotta say, I was mightily impressed at the demo. Impressed enough to shell out the few Franklins I had tucked away for a preorder and a promised delivery of my Holy Fire Pedal #04 in July.
    Today was July 1st, and much to my delight (and surprise) the UPS man brought me a small box from Creation Audio Labs in Nashville. July delivery it was!
    I just spent about 90 minutes with the Holy Fire, bouncing back and forth between the two amps I intend to use it for- a modded vintage Marshall PA20, and my stealth combo loaded with a Crate Power Block and a Celestion Lead 80.
    Huzzah!
    Its even better than I remembered. Even if you're not a P&W guy (I'm certainly not) its hard to miss the connection between 'Creation' Audio Labs, Holy Fire pedal and the controls Gain, Overdrive, and Distortion which spell _ _ _.
    Nice red glowing LED that turns colors as you play.
    However, these guys really do have something happening because playing this pedal is certainly uplifting.
    This pedal does some very cool things that few others accomplish, in my experience. First off, it can be a totally clean, transparent boost, just by using the gain control to slam the front end of your amp. It can give a mild tweak, or a really powerful boost. Whichever, it is totally colorless, just more of whatever you are sending in.
    But the Holy Fire actually seperates Overdrive and Distortion into two distinct effects controls, allowing you to choose one or the other, or BLEND them together according to taste, need, and application. Finally, there is a 'Cut' knob which you can use to tame the high end if it gets too harsh after you have mixed the pedal to your liking. Its subtle but effective.
    I found that just by using the Gain, Overdrive, and Distortion knobs I could dial in clean boost, gritty crunch, throaty bark, and even long sustained violin tones with ease, Tweaking and tuning various combinations is totally intuitive- no manual required.
    As used with my intended amps- even though my Marshall PA 20 isn't a super loud beast, it does need to be dimed to really give up the goods, and can tend to be a bit harsh. The Holy Fire was able to goose the front end with extra gain and overdrive and get just the right amount of Marshall grunt without any of the bad stuff I was trying to avoid. Success on that score. The other challenge was to supply a more tube-like overdrive to the front end of the solid state Crate Power Block. I had previously used my trusty Klon, but even that great pedal had difficulty overcoming the sterility of the Crate, and it also revealed its nasal mid-hump even more than usual. Once you hear that, its time to put the Klon away for another project. The Holy Fire was, however, more than up to the task. I really think that if given a blindfolded test, a lot of people with very experienced ears would think they were listening to a very good sounding overdriven tube amp.
    This pedal comes in a medium sized box, just slightly wider than a standard MXR but certainly not a board hog. The only negative I can find is the need for its proprietary 40v power supply. You cannot use any of the standard daisy chain or 9/18v power supplies. It does not run on batteries. But obviously the voltage has a lot to do with the quality of the tone it produces, which is uncompromisingly great.
    This seems to be a very different pedal design than anything else out there. Its worth a good listen. It is not any more expensive than other pedals that don't do nearly as much nearly as well.:AOK
     
  2. Garygtr

    Garygtr Almost as good! Silver Supporting Member

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    Looks interesting....is it op amp based? $295 is a bit dear for me right now, maybe someday :eek:
     
  3. Frankenstrat2

    Frankenstrat2 Member

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    I don't know for sure, but I don't believe so. They said it is an old technology developed for early computers that they have applied to this pedal. It simulates the reaction of overdriven tubes. Apparently very well. This is the successor to their first product, which was the clean gain boost. This one adds overdrive, distortion and the cut features. They all work very well. Its quiet too.
     
  4. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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  5. Frankenstrat2

    Frankenstrat2 Member

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    Now that the 'honeymoon phase' is over, I thought I'd revive this thread.
    Since the pedal was delivered, I had it with me down in Nashville and to the Tampa ToneFest.
    I have to say, it is a totally killer pedal, and I stand by everything I said above.
    In Nashville, we put the pedal in front of a variety of great vintage and boutique amps of every description including Plexis, tweeds, AC-30s, blackfaces, even a V-4. At the Tampa ToneFest more of the same. It out-performed any other clean boost I have ever tried, and without exception enabled the tone and performance of any amp to shine through. Think of it as a reverse attenuator with gain, distortion and tone shaping capabilities- not to alter the tone of the amp, but to allow the tone to come through as if the amp were cranked, while retaining all of the cleans or boosting them as needed.
    The Holy Fire is on my Pedalboard and its not leaving.
    In a moment of weakness I had offered to lend it to a fellow TGPer to check out, and had to reneg because I really can't part with it even for a few days. (Sorry Mike) That's how good it is.
    Mike- just buy one. You'll thank me later.
    I give it :AOK:AOK:AOK:AOK:AOK
     
  6. Cary Chilton

    Cary Chilton Senior Member

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    Try a TC Electronic Integrated Pre Amp pedal -if you can find one - the clean boost of Boosts....
     
  7. Cary Chilton

    Cary Chilton Senior Member

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  8. Frankenstrat2

    Frankenstrat2 Member

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    I dont like that clip at all.
    I'm not fond of clips anyway.
    There's another one where the guy doesn't even know how the cut knob works.
    Here's one I like better, but its also flawed (IMO) because this player only demo's the pedal with the Distortion dimed. Ugh. At least he describes the functions correctly.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlE_vYr4t50
    Look-
    This pedal does what I describe above. If you have an amp that does cleans at a certain level, but you need to crank to get the overdrive happening and you lose the cleans as a result, this is a great solution. I would not consider it a distortion pedal on its own- give me a Landgraff or a Tim or Klon or TS-9.
    But if you already like what your amp puts out and want to keep the cleans and tune the OD of the amp on the floor in front of you- this is a great solution.
    None of the demos I checked out so far demonstrate this pedal properly. I guess the boyz at CA need to work on that a bit more.
     
  9. Cary Chilton

    Cary Chilton Senior Member

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    that clip sounded much better imo, but since it used a cheap digital cam to record ( hence the sudden attenuation when the player plays louder) the quality of clip still makes it darn hard to make an impression. Frankenstrat, please record a clip!!!!
     
  10. Frankenstrat2

    Frankenstrat2 Member

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    Yes- I also heard the crappy limiter kicking in.
    I'll see what I can do.
    give me a few days
    barry
    PS- Did I say I hate clips? You have to play this stuff.
     

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