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What's the most transparent boost pedal you know of, under $150-Also a tech question


Earthquaker Tone Job has a very transparent boost when turning up the level knob with the EQs set flat.
I'll 2nd that. Great, neutral boost. Of course the 3 bands of eq are icing on the cake as well.

My VFE rocket also but it's a little above stated price limit.


A boost does just that, it provides an increase in output but should not add any clipping of its own. Depending on your amp, it may or may not overdrive the amp in any of its gain stages or power section.
When you say a true boost "provides an increase in output" that tells me that it is now going to begin to overdrive the input. Now if it overdrives the input, then that input would overdrive any follow gain stages, isn't that correct? In other words, the boost pedal would not DIRECTLY overdrive gain stages, but the boost would be the first in a chain of "over-drivings".

Okay, now nuts and bolts. If something "overdrives the input", what is the input? Is it the beginning resistor which I think is always the first electronic component that is reached after the guitar signal passes from the jack?
So in this case the boost pedal would simply be overdriving a resistor, which would then overdrive the next electrical component in the circuit?

Help, anyone. :)


Not sure how the price is these days, but I used to see a band in Austin where the guitar player had the old TC Electronic Distortion/Boost in boost mode with distortion all the way down and had a nice clean sparkle to his tone for sure.

Mark Wein

Most Transparent?
Xotic RC Booster - with the Vol all the way up & Gain all the way down.
Haven't heard anything more transparent than this.

This is what I use but they are $169 IIRC. I also just got a Bogner Harlow that I love too:



Silver Supporting Member
Visual Sound Open Road. I use it with a Deluxe Reverb set a little louder than the amp and just a bit of hair. About 9 - 10 o'clock gain. No mid-range hump, plenty of tight lows and beautiful highs. Not too shrill, not too round, pleasant and shimmery. Great as a clean boost too. Crank up the gain for some great rhythm crunch. More gain on tap than you might think you would get with this type of pedal, too. Cheap too.


And one odd recommendation - a Boss FZ-2 - seriously. Mode 3 is a clean boost and it has a ton of boost on tap and bass and treble tone controls that are really well implemented. Seems odd to buy a fuzz for the boost mode, but it really is good. The prices on them seems to be climbing these days, but I got mine for around $80.

Ro S

Senior Member
The most transparent boost will be a proper ''clean boost'', such as the BBE Boosta Grande.


And I don't mean to be a bummer or closed-minded, but I'm more interested in pedals from brands that we've all heard of. :)

And one more very simple question for those of you who know- How does a boost work? Does it just simply overdrive the input on the amp? In other words, a boost pedal is just the same as buying higher output pickups?

Thanks guys. :)
Higher output pickups almost always sound different and are used to get a more focused midrange. It's merely a happy coincidence that the tone that works at high gain also makes more gain.

The basic clean boost simply boosts the signal and stays as clean as possible. There is a limit on how much boost can be generated using only 9V, and almost all provide enough gain to push the circuit into distortion. However, since there is no output volume control, most amps will distort easier than the pedal, making it so you can't tell exactly when the pedal actually starts distorting.

You'd think the primary use would be to overdrive the amp more deeply, but few actually do that. Most here use it to boost the volume of solos or for to add some sort of mojo to the tone. The latter is a big reason for so many clean booster circuits that do sound slightly different.

Some in this thread also refer to boosters that are not clean boosts. In better examples such as the Timmy or Klon, these pedals go right down to clean, and specialize in adding small amounts of dirt that work well before a, at least, somewhat cranked amp.

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