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

TheoDog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
20,086
The E-H LPB-1 probably did not get mentioned here because it is only about $30 used. But it is nothing but a clean boost. Simple effective and easy to modify if you need a little different EQ from it. (2 cap swaps on a simple PCB)
 

NewDr.P

Member
Messages
2,291
The E-H LPB-1 probably did not get mentioned here because it is only about $30 used. But it is nothing but a clean boost. Simple effective and easy to modify if you need a little different EQ from it. (2 cap swaps on a simple PCB)

I love the lpb1 but it's not really a lean boost. It's great for adding saturation to a dirty amp but it adds its own grit and bass.

The micro amp is a nice cheap option for a clean boost.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
29,177
Ideally, a clean boost will simply increase the output of your signal chain without changing EQ or compressing the signal at all. That's probably a pipe dream, since the boost will also buffer the signal and the device used inside it for increasing volume is probably not linear. The Creation Audio 4.23 is probably the one that comes the closest, it uses mixing console technology running at VERY high voltage so that the internal devices don't compress or distort the sound.

Most boosts measure output in dB. In other words, each 10 dB will make your guitar sound twice as loud. Hotter pickups might give you an extra 3-6 dB, but won't approach the 20-40 dB that a clean boost can. Most folks us boosts to either push something later in the chain (pedal or amp) to increased distortion, or after distortion into a clean amp for more volume for leads.

As to ones I've tried:
SHO-adds some brightness due to the very high input impedance, around 20 dB
Creation Audio-DARN clean, 25 dB IIRC
Fulltone Fatboost-lots of control, adds some compression/distortion, cheap ($70 used)
MXR MicroAmp-simple pedal, pretty clean
Spectrum Onboard Booster-from WAY out in left field, an option with a popular replacement pickup company from the 80s this is a razor clean 40 dB boost in a plastic brick. Almost impossible to find but very cool and very clean.
 

Belmont

Member
Messages
3,465
I love the lpb1 but it's not really a lean boost. It's great for adding saturation to a dirty amp but it adds its own grit and bass.

The micro amp is a nice cheap option for a clean boost.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
the Micro Amp also adds a bit of bass.
 
Messages
602
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. :)
You can't overdrive a resistor.
think about it this way -
each component in your chain is an "amplifier" - which we'll define simply as something that multiplies the input signal by some value. Important to keep in mind is that this value can be one (this would be unity gain) or less than one (so your output would be quieter than your input).
Now, an ideal amplifier with a gain of, say 5, would output a signal that was identical to it's input, just five times larger.
An ideal booster would work exactly like this.
When you get into the real world, you have limits on the gains which can be achieved by any particular amplifier. Ideally, a booster will be designed to act as much like an ideal amplifier as possible, and that's how it should be used - basically, what you get out is what you put in, only louder.
Now, low-gain overdrives, and even your amp, can be considered ideal amplifiers when they have the gain turned down very low. That is, what you get out is just a scaled version of what you put in. However, there are limits on any amplifier's ability to give you a cleanly scaled version of what you put in. The levels where these limits come into play are determined by the particular design of the circuit (clipping diodes, supply voltages, bias levels and the I-V curves of the tube used, etc...), but regardless of the circuit design, you can basically understand it as you trying to tell the amplifier "give me a gain of x" and the amplifier saying back "no, I'm only capable of providing a gain of x-1". When it can't give you as much gain as you want, the result is distortion (or overdrive, or fuzz, etc...).
Another way of looking at this "running out of gain" scenario (and the way it actually happens) is that the amplifier is capable of providing any amount of gain you want (within the designed specs of the amp), but has a maximum output level. So, you may be giving it a tiny input signal, and asking for a gain of 100, and it's fine, because 100 times the input signal is less than it's max output level. But then, you may give it a much bigger input signal, and only be asking for a gain of 5, and it distorts because 5 times your input signal is larger than the amplifier's maximum output level. Coming all the way back around, this is the purpose of a booster. You may have your amp set for a gain of 5, and 5 times the output of your pickups is less than the maximum output level of the amplifier. When you then click on your booster, (which, lets say also has a gain of 5) the amplifier is now seeing 5 times the output from you pickups. Your amp is still trying to multiply it's input by five, but it turns out that the output of your pickups times 5 (from the booster) times 5 (from the amp itself) is higher than the maximum output of the amp. And so the amplifier itself distorts while trying to create an output higher than it is capable of.
The difference between the above situation and an overdrive pedal, for example, is that the overdrive pedal is the amplifier with a limited output. You feed it a signal level of 1, tell it you want a gain of 10, but it has a maximum output of 5. So as it trtries to output a signal higher than it's maximum output, it distorts. Now, whatever level it's distorted output is may be low enough that the product of that and the gain you are requesting from your guitar amp is less than the maximum output of the guitar amp - so you get distorted output from the pedal, but no distortion from the amp, which operates as a clean/ideal amplifier below that maximum output cutoff point.

That is all, of course, a pretty extensive simplification of how all this stuff really works, but should hopefully help to give you a conceptual explanation of what's going on when you use a boost pedal.
 

bobotwt

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,452
I have tried several including the RC Booster and they all changed the tone a little. Some may like the change but it is there. The only one I have used that doesn't change it at all is the Barber Launch Pad. It is incredible! It could be that it internally bumps 9v to 24v. Anyway, I have used mine for years now and th only thing I can see bumping it is if he makes a compact version.

Josh
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
29,177
As to overdriving the first component in the amplifier, the resistor… Within the range that's possible for guitar amps, a resistor is a passive device that creates no distortion on its own. It's capable of taking the full power of your guitar and pedals without breaking a sweat. It's the first ACTIVE component that's going to have limits as mentioned above-the first tube or transistor, and if you exceed those limits it will distort.

It's probably worth mentioning that different devices distort in different ways, and this will affect the sound that eventually comes out of the amplifier:
Triodes (preamp tubes) in class A emphasize low order even harmonics
Pentodes, especially in class AB emphasize higher order harmonics with more odd
Solid state devices tend to be set up so that they emphasize odd order harmonics
Running a square wave (very high, odd order harmonics) into an overdriven amp does totally weird things to the output so that you get sweet, low order harmonics on top of the edgy high order ones-why a fuzz into an overdriven amp sounds better than the same fuzz into a totally clean one.
 

Figaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,120
The Spark Booster can be a totally clean boost and so much more. Why use anything else???
 

thekaiser

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
465
CAE Boost/Line Buffer is my favorite. I have a EQD Arrows on order that I'm thinking just might replace the CAE.
 






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