Got this little russian thing for cheap. It's a 3-Channel tube preamp with sooo many features packed into an enclosure only slightly bigger than a regular boss pedal. I've been rocking an AMT D2 live for a while and I wanted to try their tube offerings. Here are my findings!
Quick view of the I/O panel. You can send both the amp/poweramp and line out signals (with included cabsim) straight to mixer at the same time. It also has an FX-Loop.
The rear panel could do with more ventilation for the tube, but it's an older model. newer ones have bigger openings.
Crunch chanel gain boost. It has two different EQ modes.
So how does it sound? Pretty darn good, actually. It's a nifty swiss-army knife. You can track with it with the cabsim out, go direct with a powerap sim + impulses, or plug it into the loop or your amp. I happen to own a vintage Roland Bolt 30W which is a small combo with SS preamp and tube poweramp. The perfect candidate for these little things as I can bypass the preamp and have a fully portable 3-channel tube rig.
- Clean channel is surprisingly good, tweed style.
- Crunch channel is also great. Better than expected and definetely capable of delivering the blues and softer rock tones.
- Lead channel has an ENGL style voice. Very tight with punchy low mids and lively highs. It sounds pretty good bumping the mids as well. It has absurd amounts of gain on tap. With gain on 7 onwards an extra JFET stage activates so it's no longer just the tube adding filth. I don't think I'd ever need to go that high, anyway.
Despite internet complaints about the lack of a separate volume knob for the Lead and Crunch channel, I don't really think is that big of an issue unless you want to run the crunch gain really low. The best way to set up the pedal is set the EQ for the lead channel and then play with the CR Gain switch to further tailor the gain and EQ of the crunch channel.
Mine seems like an older model. It's got an EHX tube on it. Might swap it for a JJ to warm it up a bit. Newer ones might ship with one of those AMT solid state tubes. Dunno if they're easily swappable (I know they are on their SS1 models).
Definetely recommended if you can snag one for cheap