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The JHS Colour Box, let's discuss.

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by reverendmando, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. reverendmando

    reverendmando Member

    Mar 4, 2015
    good afternoon fellow gearheads,

    Let's talk about the JHS Colour Box:


    what are your thoughts?

    how do you currently use it?

    Does it do more than expected or (as most it seems) are you undecided about it.

    I own one, and I can't really decide if I like it or not, I know it's extremely versatile, but have only used it for guitar thus far.

    My thoughts/uses:

    The overdrive I get out of it is alright, I use an Xotic EP Booster to really get it kickin'

    I also dial in for a nice fat clean tone

    I hate the fuzz on it, it's ugly & poopie to me.

    I'm considering using it as an always on pedal in conjunction with an overdrive

    I really can't decide if I like it or not, I also cannot see myself giving it up either.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  2. cacibi

    cacibi Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    I was hoping for more out of the drive, it seems more like a very narrow gimmick to me than a useable thing. I ended up selling mine and going with the VFE Rocket EQ. I have previously had the Empress ParaEQ, which was amazing, but I found I only needed one parametric band to shape the kids - so the Rocket is perfect. I did loan it to a friend who used it to record vocals and was very pleased with it in that application.
  3. rickenbackerkid

    rickenbackerkid Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    I personally don't get it. If I want a great mic preamp, they are available for not much more than the JHS . . . For instance a Warm Pre.
    You can even get a genuine Neve 1073 500 series for under 1K.

    I don't get why you wouldn't use one of the hundreds of great 500 series pres from companies much more experience in building pres that JHS.

    I but I must say I've never used the Color Box. so take my opinion with many grains of salt.
  4. jakethesnake

    jakethesnake Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    I don't get the point of this pedal ???
  5. tjontheroad

    tjontheroad Silver Supporting Member

    Oct 10, 2014
    The CB is a ship out of water of sorts as a stomp box. It's brilliant packaging to get it sell, but it's not what the Neve based curcuit was originally meant for. It's highest and best use IMO is as a channel strip for recording.
  6. gillibi

    gillibi Member

    Jan 27, 2006
    Dayton, OH
    Guys who didn't like the CB, did you like the SBEQ. It's supposed to be Pultec-ish
  7. tommc

    tommc Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2004
    This should help anyone having a hard time figuring this pedal, enjoy:

  8. Hack Prophet

    Hack Prophet vile mighty wretched Silver Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2012
    I like the way Pete makes it sound. Bass sounds real sweet
  9. xrleroyx

    xrleroyx Member

    Apr 22, 2011
    Detroit, MI
    Oh man, I don't know if I REALLY want one or if I want to run away.
  10. bunnygang

    bunnygang Member

    May 12, 2012
    I think it's great. It's my always-on drive.

    I have mine set so I get a little grit out of it although it's got killer velcro fuzz tones and a ton of volume on tap as well. I used to use a Superbolt, Klon or King of Tone for my main drive tones, but the CB rules. I love that it lets ALL frequencies through completely - if you want 'em (which I do). That's where the preamp thing comes in. It's not just an OD pedal. There's no mid-bump (unless you dial it in) or bass cut (unless you dial it in). That's what I dig about it so much. It's as transparent as you want it, or as messed up as you want it.

    It's stellar on bass too. Completely different character than any other drive pedal I've had (and I've had a ton). I can see why people don't want it, or need it, but I got a sweet deal on mine and have been enjoying it a lot. It also depends what your sound is. I don't think it can really do a Fuzzface or Muff very convincingly. I think it could do a Rat or Fuzz Factory but I haven't really tried.

    But it can pull off a King of Tone, Klon, EP Booster and Superbolt with ease. Honestly, I think it's a better Klon than a Klon FWIW - and capable of so much more as well.

    Just my two cents.
  11. PurpleJesus

    PurpleJesus Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2014
    I played a friend's. He had just gotten it and was excited so I didn't tell him how average I thought it was. It's fine, but $400? Man, that's steep and really needs to be killer in that price range and I found a lot of it unusable for guitar applications. Harsh would be my one word review.

    Also, Pete Thorn could plug into a can of soup and make it sound epic. I learned a few years ago to not buy based off his demos. He's too talented.
  12. tobereleased

    tobereleased Member

    Aug 13, 2013
    My main interest would be using it for home recording, and the fact that it doesn't have phantom power on the mic input is essentially the deal breaker for me.
  13. xXMeebleXx

    xXMeebleXx Member

    Jan 25, 2015
    Unadilla, NY
    I have one and really like it. I use it as an always on boost/eq. Sure its a TON of money for something that is extremely subtle, but it gives me the little extra to my tone that I have been looking for. It is also great for when youre using a less powerful amp and being able to get nice fat tones out of it.

    Is it for everyone? Not at all.
    Is it over priced? Absolutely.
    Is it practical? Nope.

    With all that said I would buy it again. It gives me what I want and I couldnt be happier.
    amorica likes this.
  14. whitepapagold

    whitepapagold Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    rectum of a dead skunk
    +1 on the don't get it... And +1 Pete makes everything sound GREAT!

    The marketing is hilarious. My 31102s (1084s) go for 4K+ each... But this pedal sounds like the line input? riiiiiiiiiiiight...

    Just the REAL vintage line input transformers bring 150-200 on ebay... For a reason...

    The biggest problem with this pedal is 99.9% of the people buying one have never used a real Neve to know what its supposed to sound like. And the vintage Neve units sound better to my ears than new versions- smoother and more balanced in the mids and bottom. So the "Neve in a box" thing is just hype. And hype that won't get called out...

    I will admit if I go DI with a guitar, the Neves are the way to go. I will also say the stand alone pre/eq sounds different OUTSIDE a console than in... The console electronics has a HUGE effect on the sound.

    This pedal just seems like a "ride the Neve wave" deal... BUT I will admit I have never used one, only heard the samples on the net.

    Personally I would have no use for it, even if I didn't have real neves...
  15. Rory_Rules

    Rory_Rules Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    I was really hoping to like this pedal for it's preamp distortion. Unfortunately, if you turned up the pre-volume & step knobs to redline the console it got very noisy. The tones were there, but I couldn't get over the noise floor.

    It was a very good EQ pedal and was great for tone shaping, but not nearly as good as my ST-2.
  16. Meriphew

    Meriphew Member

    Feb 24, 2004
    Seattle USA
    I'd like to try one (if they'd make it in black), but I'm not willing to shell out $400 to experiment with a pedal that I think I probably wouldn't end up keeping.
  17. Cosmogang

    Cosmogang Member

    Aug 6, 2009
    Hattiesburg, MS
    I was intrigued at first for the purpose of using it for direct recording, but I have not enjoyed any of the demos I have heard. Not even remotely. Maybe other people will get it to sound like magic, but it doesn't sound good to me at all. I think I am going to pursue an Ethos Clean for my direct recording needs.
  18. loud-acoustic

    loud-acoustic Member

    Nov 6, 2010
    Des Moines, Iowa
    I've owned most JHS pedals, this one was the most disappointing by far!
    It didn't do anything useful to me. I emailed JHS and they said it's really to get the sound of going straight into a recording desk/board when you are using an amp.... I'm sorry I know there is history there, but it did NOT sound good. if you just want an EQ pedal, it does that fine but the Step gain is nothing to be desired for guitar in my humble opinion. Like I say, biggest let down from JHS and I really like their stuff, I have had a Morning Glory on multiple boards for years and use the Superbolt a lot too.
  19. jhspedals.com

    jhspedals.com Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    The difference in the CBOX and any other Neve style unit out there is that it is a very different animal than just a clone or straight ahead circuit.

    First off it is 2 chained 1073s in series with a Custom wound transformer on the front end. This does things that stand alone 1073 type 500 modules etc can't get close to doing.

    Secondly it has an EQ that is custom designed for guitar into an amp. Most 500 things don't have an eq at all, let alone one that is built for your guitar rig. For instance, look at the price of this: http://vintageking.com/neve-1073lb It has no controls in comparison and is more than 2x the price of the CBOX.

    Thirdly its different. No one has even done anything like this for a pedal board and it was a labor of love over here. Im super proud of it and we can't keep them on the shelf. The feedback has been 98% love and people are using them in ways we never imagined. I guess give it a try and see what you think. Thanks for the comments.
  20. jhspedals.com

    jhspedals.com Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    The point of the CBOX was to show guitar players what Neve did and how they were used in some awesome guitar tracks of the day. People don't need to know all the details about Neve, this pedal was made to be a bridge between studio and pedalboard. The idea that started the CBOX was "can I get my amp that is pushing air and has a speaker to sound like Im line in on an old pre?". Thats what I designed this for and the other features are just bonuses. Im not riding a Neve wave, I just wanted to do something different and I feel it turned out great and is a fresh take on an overdrive/fuzz circuit in a world of the same old thing. Hope this helps.
    luxdlux likes this.

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