Posts Tagged ‘Effects’

Understanding Audio Levels

In Effects, electrics, Gears on June 29, 2016 at 5:36 pm

A basic understanding of the general audio levels mentioned in this article will help you avoid the common mistakes often made when connecting audio devices together. We are going to talk about three different general levels of audio signals.  The names of the three general audio levels are speaker level, line level and microphone level. For simplicity, the different audio levels are described in volts. For an understanding of decibel levels used in audio, see the articles on decibels starting here.

Speaker Level

A speaker needs a few volts of electrical audio signal to make enough movement in the speaker to create a sound wave that we can hear. Small speakers need only a few volts, but large speakers need 50-100 volts to make a loud sound.

Line Level

A speaker is connected to an amplifier. Think of your HiFi amplifier at home. What plugs into your amplifier? DVD player, CD player, radio/tuner, video camera. All these devices plug into the “line in” or “Aux in” of your amplifier.  “Line IN”, “Aux IN” and “Line OUT” all have an electrical audio signal at line level.RCa-cables-300x164 You are probably aware of the standard red and white leads used in HiFi equipment, these all use line level. Other plugs are also used for line level. Line level is about half a volt to one (½ – 1) volt. It is the job of the amplifier to amplify the half to one volt of line level, up to the 10 volts or more of speaker level.



Note: A common error is to connect plugs and sockets together just because they fit. Don’t assume audio level based just on the type of plug being used. The same type of  plug can be used for different purposes (and different audio levels).

Microphone Level

Ok , so we have line level (about ½ – 1 volt) which goes into an amplifier to make it up to speaker level (about 10 volts or above).  What audio level do you think Mic level is? How much voltage do you think comes out of a microphone, as a result of you speaking into it? Answer: Stuff all!

The output voltage of a microphone is very low. It is measured in milli-volts, that is 1/1000th of a volt. A mic can give as little as 1 mV, or up to 100 mV, depending on how loud you speak into it. That is not very much. So what do you think is going to happen if you plug a mic directly into the line in of an amplifier? Answer: A very low level of muffled sound if anything.

Mic Pre-amps

The amplifier is wanting line level, ½ – 1 volt to produce enough signal to make the speaker work properly. But the mic is only producing milli-volts. So what is needed is a small microphone amplifier that amplifies the audio level from mic level to line level. This should go between the microphone and the amplifier. Because it is for the microphone and it is before the main amp, it is called a mic pre-amp. A mic pre-amp amplifies the milli-volts from a microphone up to line level.preamp-schematic2


Mic pre-amps are normally built into devices designed for connecting to a microphone. Equipment like an audio mixer, a digital recorder, a video camera or a computer – all these may have mic level inputs as well as line level input, or just a mic level input. .

The picture on the right shows for each input on this mixer there is a line level input mixer-inputs-270x300(labelled Line 3 and Line 4), as well as a microphone pre-amp (labelled MIC PRE).

Obviously a microphone plugs into the mic input, as the mic inputs are connected to the in-built mic pre-amps.

A line level device would obviously plug into the line in socket.

But what if your mixer (or camera/recorder) only has a microphone input, and you need to connect a line level source to it? This would result in the line level (½ – 1 volt) being connected to the input of the mic pre-amp. The trouble is, the mic preamp is expecting only a few milli-volts. The resulting sound will be very distorted as the mic pre-amp is completely overloaded.


So how can we do this? How do we connect a line level to a mic level input? We have to reduce the line level down to mic level.  The technical word for this is to attenuate the signal. As an amplifier amplifies, or boosts the signal; an attenuator attenuates, or reduces the signal.

You can buy attenuators at a music shop, they are called DI boxes. DI stands for Direct Injection, meaning you can directly inject a line level into the mic input without any problems. It is also possible to make an attenuator, possibly with variable attenuation, to cope with different levels. It is also possible to buy or build a fixed attenuator in a cable. This is a cable with resistors built-in to the plugs to attenuate the line level down to mic level – this is very useful for a video camera or portable digital recorder.

Audio Level Summary

There are three main audio signal levels: mic level (millivolts), line level (around 1 volt) and speaker level (around 10 volts or more). The rule is, only plug speakers into the speaker socket of an amplifier; only line level into the line in of any equipment; and only mic level in the mic input of your mixer, camera or laptop.  The most common cause of  audio distortion comes from not understanding the different levels, and how to connect them all together.

Practical Example 1

Scenario: A keyboard (electric piano) located on the stage needs to connect to a mixer located at the back of the hall, with a microphone multi-core cable connecting between the two.

Issue: The output of the keyboard is at line level, and the microphone input at the mixer requires mic level. (There is also the issue of different plugs and balanced/unbalanced inputs but these are the topics of other articles).

Solution: Use a basic DI box available from most music or electronic stores. A DI box acts as an attenuator which reduces the line level of the keyboard to mic level for direct connection to the mixer (via the multi-core cable). The DI box also overcomes the issues of matching plugs and going from unbalanced to balanced  – so this is a perfect solution. This solution also works for connecting electric guitars, electronic drums and DVD players.


Scenario: The output (line level) of an audio mixer needs to connect to a digital camera or digital recorder which only has a microphone input.

Issue: The output of the mixer is at line level, and the microphone input of the camera/recorder requires mic level.

Solution: A basic DI box could be used, but this would require an input lead, and output lead and the DI box  – a lot to carry in your camera bag. A neater solution is to have a lead with a 40dB attenuator built into it. This will reduce the line level from the mixer by a factor of 100, which will bring the line level down to a reasonable mic level to connect directly to the microphone socket of the camera/recorder.

pdf document for print: understanding-Audio-levels

All comes from Geoff the Grey Greek, thanks to him

FAQ on effects loop, rackmount and line levels

In Effects, Gears on June 29, 2016 at 4:45 pm

The short and simplified version is that pedals are meant to go between your instrument and the main input of your amp, while rackmount signal processors are meant to go in an effects loop, or between a preamp and a power amp. This is because they operate at different ranges of signal level (amplitude, strength), and have different impedances.

  1. The higher amplitude range is called “line level”,
  2. The lower range is called “instrument level”.
  3. At even a lower amplitude there’s the “mic level”,

The “mic level” which is the expected output of a typical microphone or a DI box, both of which are intended to plug into a mic preamp with a large amount of gain.

Ideally you want the devices you are connecting to match up in their ideal range of input and output levels, otherwise you may get distortion, noise, or a weak signal. Effects loops often (but not always) run at line level.

Impedance (“z”) describes the efficiency of signal transfer between any one device’s output connected to any other device’s input. An inefficient relationship will mean loss of signal strength and loss of tone. You want the input impedance to be much higher (at least 10x, but more is better) than the output impedance of whatever is plugging into it. Effects loops typically have low output impedance (from the send jack), but whether their return jack has low or high input impedance will depend on the specific amp–there is no standard. With pedals, too, there is no standard. It’s usually not important to know the in/out impedance of your pedals, but if you run into a situation where a pedal sounds bad in one connection and not another, very often some impedance problem is the reason.

Pedals generally operate best with an input signal directly from your guitar/bass or other pedals, and their output is meant to be fed into the main instrument input of an amp head, combo amp, or rack preamp. Those types of preamp stage boost the instrument’s signal strength and lower the overall output impedance, which is what is required for driving a power amp, line-level processor, or many effects loops. Without that, most pedals don’t have strong enough output to do the job. Of course there are many exceptions, such as certain preamps in pedal format, and you have to examine those on a case-by-case basis.

Rackmount signal processors are almost always designed to run at line level, so they are suited for use with effects loops. Their in/out impedance is also usually a good match. The loop is a direct connection between the preamp and power section of your amp, so you can think of the loop return jack as a power amp input; see that “preamp” article linked in the first paragraph for technical details about driving power amps. The signal from most guitars/basses is too low, and the impedance is too high, to go directly into most rack processors. Technically you can plug your instrument straight in, but it will not work nearly as well as if you put a preamp between them, and it may not work at all depending on the particular gear.

There are exceptions: Some rack units have a “Hi Z” input, which is designed for you to be able to plug your instrument straight in; and some rack processors (especially older guitar-oriented units) are designed to operate at instrument level, or at least have enough input gain available to be used that way. There are also some effects loops which are able to operate fine with pedals in the loop- you’ll need to check the manual for your specific amp, or just experiment. And finally, some pedals can handle a line-level signal. One fairly common example would be a loop that operates at -10dB, paired with an fx pedal designed to work well with high-output basses; that combination can often work out fine.

Really the best way to see what works is to experiment. You won’t hurt any of your gear, don’t worry. When experimenting, listen carefully and ask yourself these questions: Do you hear any distortion? Does the signal seem weak? Does a dynamic effect seem to react too strongly, or not enough? How bad is the hiss, and does the hiss change in level or “quality” when you switch positions? With a compressor, does it have meters to indicate signal levels or compression amount, and do those meters seem to read the same or differently in each position? If you hear distortion, noise, weak signal, or “tone suck”, those are your signs to adjust the levels or change the placement of the various pieces of gear. Again, you won’t damage either the amp or the effects in this process.

Another set of factors to consider:
-Pedals almost always have 1/4″ unbalanced (AKA regular instrument cable) inputs and outputs;
-Rack processors may have either unbalanced or balanced (AKA XLR, mic cable, 1/4″ TRS/stereo) in/outputs;
-The jacks for connecting a preamp to a power amp may be balanced or unbalanced;
-And an amp head’s effects loop is typically unbalanced.

Note that 1/4″ balanced and unbalanced jacks look the same from the outside. So you’ll need to read the manuals of your specific gear to identify which types of plugs and cables you need. Again, experimentation is fine; the only thing you cannot do is place your compressor or other fx after the output of a power amp, as that would kill your gear.

Effects loops can be “series” or “parallel”. Series means one device leads straight into the next, with no signal splitting. Generally speaking, a serial connection is best for a compressor (although there are esoteric exceptions). Parallel means the signal from your preamp is split into a “clean” channel and an “effected” channel, and then those two are blended back together. Parallel loops typically have a “blend” knob (wet/dry). If your fx loop is parallel, you may occasionally find that the wet and dry signals interfere with each other, causing spikes or dropouts of signal level at different frequencies. A loss of lows is common. If that happens, you can solve it by either setting the blend knob to 100% wet, or using a specialized device to adjust the phase of one of the signals. Bear in mind though that a few parallel fx loops cannot be set to 100% wet! There are some where the maximum setting of the blend knob is only a 50/50 blend.

Guitarists will frequently insist that certain effects (e.g. chorus, flanger, wah) belong in front of the amp, while certain others (e.g. delay or reverb) belong in the fx loop. This is because they are accustomed to using their amp as a distortion effect, and they like the distortion at a particular place in the chain. If you are not using your amp as a distortion effect, you can ignore those claims. Plus that approach does not address the question of instrument-level versus line-level.

Rackmount gear is not necessarily better quality than pedals! There are good and bad units in either format. That said, it’s true that more of the “high end, high quality” market is focused on rack units, and most pedals are designed for low cost rather than high quality. So statistically rack gear tends to be better, but just don’t get caught up in assuming it’s always that way. I can’t stand it when people post “pedals suck, they are toys compared to the Real Thing” because in the last few years the pedal market has seen some incredible technological and design developments, and at the same time the rack gear market has been aiming more and more for the budget consumer. Things change.


Eventide’s Mixing Link™

In Effects, Gears, Sonorisation on June 28, 2016 at 6:47 pm


1600-MixingLink_detail04Published April 2014, by Paul White

Eventide’s Mixing Link is one of those products that seems so obvious that you wonder why nobody has done it before. At its simplest, it is a microphone preamp, complete with switchable phantom power, built into a stompbox along with a footswitch‑controlled effects loop for the connection of effects pedals or processors. This format makes it ideal for live performance, as vocalists can now create their own pedalboard of vocal effects in much the same way as guitarists do.

The Mixing Link accepts microphone, instrument or line‑level inputs, and includes some additional I/O and routing options that extend its flexibility. For example, it can also be used to switch a guitar between two different amplifiers, using the effects send as the second output; or, conversely, by using the effects return jack as a second input, it could switch between two sound sources connected to one amplifier. It also works well as a stand‑alone mic preamp, offering up to 65dB of gain for feeding into the line‑level input of a recording system. The headphone output may be used for vocal monitoring, silent rehearsal or simply as a studio headphone amp.

Chain Links
SeitenansichtBuilt into a die‑cast box with an attractive top panel and powered either from a 9V battery or from the included universal‑voltage external adaptor — which is required if you need the phantom power — the Mixing Link uses a ‘combi’ XLR/jack for the mic/line input, with a separate jack for the instrument input. A three‑way toggle switch on the rear panel selects phantom power on or off, or battery operation. A small push switch selects between high and low input‑gain modes for the mic input: high would be the normal setting for dynamic microphone use, though loud vocalists working close to the mic might get by on the low gain setting. The two level‑setting LEDs will let you know which to use. There’s also a ground‑lift switch, though this will probably only be needed if an input source that is already grounded (such as the preamp output of a guitar amp) is connected to the unit. Inside the case is another switch for setting whether the footswitch kills the connected effects dead or whether it allows any reverb/delay tails to continue to their natural conclusion. In other words, it kills either the effects return or the effects send.

The Mixing Link uses jacks for the effects send and return points, which may be used either balanced or unbalanced. The main output is on a balanced XLR, and there’s a recessed switch in the base of the pedal to select line or DI level. A further jack output is present, for sending the signal to an amplifier via the amp/phones level control (which also controls the level of the mini‑jack headphone out). Finally, there’s a bi‑directional Aux I/O connection. This is a four‑conductor TRRS mini‑jack socket that can operate as either a consumer‑style stereo input or a mono output.

eventide_link_tylBy connecting the Aux jack to a device such as an iPhone or iPad running effects apps, it is possible to use your choice of apps rather than conventional pedals. The same jack could alternatively be used as a recording feed to a suitable device, and it is also possible to play stereo backing tracks into the aux input (which remain in stereo in the headphone output), where they will be mixed with the main input. Any signal present at the aux input is also fed, in mono, to the amp, effects‑send and main outputs, though there’s no gain control for the aux input so levels must be controlled at source. All the circuitry has plenty of headroom, with the 500kΩ‑impedance instrument input able to accept signals up to +10dBu, and the line input up to +24dBu. The outputs can also manage up to +10dBu.

A pair of semi‑recessed miniature toggle switches on the top panel allow the footswitch that controls the effects loop to be set to either latching or momentary action, and for the central control knob to adjust the level of only the effects, effects plus dry signal, or the wet/dry mix. The headphone monitor output and amp signals are controlled by the knob on the left, while the knob on the right sets the input gain. Status LEDs show that the pedal is powered up and that the phantom power is switched on.

In The Mix
Clearly, a lot of thought has gone into making the Mixing Link as versatile as possible — the over‑used term ‘Swiss Army Knife’ is thoroughly deserved in this instance! It can be a DI box with ground lift, a signal source selector, an output switcher, a mic preamp, an interface for a smart‑phone recording system or the heart of a vocalist’s live effects setup. It could also be used as a headphone amp, to allow a guitar player to switch an entire chain of effects pedals on and off from one switch, or to switch a signal between two different destinations. It can even be used to mix backing tracks with a vocal or instrument input.

As a mic preamp, the Mixing Link has plenty of clean gain on tap for use with typical capacitor and dynamic mics. Even ribbon mics shouldn’t be a problem, as in DI mode you can apply more gain at the input of the mixer or other device into which the Mixing Link is plugged, if the existing 65dB isn’t enough. I couldn’t really hear any significant subjective difference between the preamps in my audio interface (which is a good one) and the Mixing Link, so I’d have no qualms about using it for recording. However, the most valuable aspect of the Mixing Link, at least for my own applications, is the one first mentioned, namely its ability to connect to and control live vocal effects via its send/return loop. The mode I tried first was with the switch set to give 100 percent dry signal pass‑through, and the middle knob adjusting the level of added effect — which, for vocals, often comprises a combination of delay and/or reverb. The other modes are equally useful, letting you pass the whole signal through an effect such as compression or even distortion (in which case external pedals need to be set to 100 percent wet, of course).

I experienced no noticeable added noise when connecting third‑party pedal‑style effects via the loop, and everything worked predictably and cleanly. Even using an iPhone to generate the effects worked fine, though you have to pick apps that can use the phone’s existing I/O and not the ones that rely on specialist audio adaptors if you want to use the direct mini‑jack connection. Some apps also add a bit of latency, though if you’re using them simply to add delay or reverb to your dry signal that shouldn’t be a problem. The dry signal always remains pristine in this mode, as it never passes through the connected effects.

Ultimately, the Mixing Link achieves everything it sets out to do with minimal fuss and with more than its share of style. Being picky, I’d say that some of the legending, especially that on the sides of the case, is difficult to read, but in all other respects the Mixing Link is a professionally designed piece of kit with a number of ‘save the day’ applications in addition to what I see as its primary function as a mic preamp with switchable effects loop.

The only practical alternative I can think of that might offer similar functionality is to buy a small mixer. There are several affordable small‑mixer options, but nothing so compact as the Mixing Link, and of course mixers don’t usually have built‑in footswitches to control the effects loop.

more review here: Review – Eventide MixingLink

User manual here also:  MixingLinkUG

In which order should you place all your effect pedals?

In Effects, Gears on May 20, 2016 at 8:04 pm


In which order should you place all your effect pedals?  ll that’s left to do is to place the pedals on the board in the order you want to have them, keeping in mind that generally:

  • tuners go first,
  • followed by filters (wah, auto wah, envelope filters),
  • then compressors, then overdrives,
  • then modulation (chorus, tremolo, flangers, phasers),
  • then volume pedals,
  • then delays,
  • and finally reverb.

EQs are generally placed either before or after the overdrive. Be sure to put the very first pedal in the chain on the very far right or left of the board, and the last pedal in the chain on the edge of the opposite side.

This is so you can easily plug your guitar into one side of the pedal board and plug your amp into the other.

Katana Blues Drive “manual?”

In Accessories, Effects on October 24, 2014 at 11:16 pm

That’s all I got with my purchase for this Katana Blues Drive…. let’s see how it goes,… got it today (was stuck in customs, I had to pay an extra 57€ 😦  Anyway , the dream ‘s still there. (got Serial nbr 00077)

Bilderman 2014.10.24 22-58-37.png


Katana Blues drive specification

katan-bdThanks for purchasing the Katana Blues Drive. This rich dynamic overdrive has been designed from the ground up to deliver a very wide range of tones. It combines the best elements of our Katana Clean Boost with a unique drive stage and active EQ to produce an overdrive destined to be a classic! The Katana Blues Drive is very dynamically expressive, pick harder for a bit more dirt, or just roll back the volume knob on your guitar for instant clean! Over a decade of engineering and constant listening to our customers and our products on stage and in recordings has gone in to this design. Feel free to explore; a nearly limitless amount of combinations are available here. Plug right in and prepare to kick your creativity in to overdrive!

The Drive control are very simple, just like your amplifier. Try experimenting with low Drive Levels and high output levels to drive the tubes on your favorite amp.

 The Tone controls of the Katana Blues Drive are a bit more complex. The active EQ is capable of both cut and boost over instrument level. If you want more midrange, simply turn down both Bass and Treble and increase the level control. This makes for an incredibly flexible EQ with a HUGE range of settings.

LES PARTICULES ELEMENTAIRES -let’s rock, thank you houellebecq, I was there yesterday! (les particules élementaires)

intro katana.tifkatana blues drive specification


Robert Keeley electronic – the Kanapa Blues drive

In Effects, Gears on October 7, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Product Description

katan-bdDynamically Rich

The all new Keeley Katana Blues Drive. A musically rich and dynamic overdrive for the most discriminating guitar player. After more than a decade of building great guitar tone from the ground up, Keeley has crafted an overdrive that is destined to be a classic. It’s about tone and feel. The Katana Blues Drive captures the best elements of tubes with a transparency that allows your guitar’s full tonal range to shine through while at the same time delivering dynamics that are sensitive to the touch. This pedal cleans up perfectly, just roll your guitar volume back and let it shine.

Glass Tube Clarity

The Keeley Katana Blues Drive is our most expressive and musically inspirational overdrive pedal to date. We’ve taken the legendary tube clarity of our best-selling Katana Boost’s JFET stages and blended them together with a unique overdrive circuit that’s been influenced by our award-winning overdrive pedal modifications.


With active tone controls and layered overdrive tones, the Katana Blues Drive feels rich and thick yet lets your guitar tone come through. Over 13 years in the making, we’ve taken every ounce of feedback from customers to deliver an overdrive we are extremely proud of. The Katana Blues Drive was built for your inspiration. You know when a piece of gear inspires and your tone is dialed just right. Your playing becomes free and full of energy. Ideas flow. Magic happens. The Keeley Katana Blues Drive: Are you ready to get into overdrive?

dealer: the boutique Lab

Dunlop JB95 Joe Bonamassa Signature Cry Baby

In Effects on September 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm

from GuitarPremier

dunlop-joe-bonamassa-signature-cry-baby_2Few guitar effects—or musical instruments, for that matter— made as much impact on arrival as the wah pedal. And at the feet of Hendrix, Clapton, Mayfield, and Wah Wah Watson, it helped define the sound of ’60s guitar and ’70s funk. Brad Plunkett created the original circuit in the late ’60s as a replacement for the MRB (mid range boost) switches on a Vox amplifier. But when the switch was replaced by a potentiometer and the circuit placed in an organ’s volume pedal, Plunkett’s creation became a history- making, tone-altering monster.

It didn’t take long for wah to mutate into an effect of a thousand flavors. And perhaps nowhere does the rainbow of wah sounds exist in more numerous colors than in the Jim Dunlop line. Dunlop has developed signature pedals to suit Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Slash, Zakk Wylde, and Eddie Van Halen, as well as Jimi Hendrix signature wahs built to the spec of his original Thomas Organ-designed unit. Now, Dunlop has honored bluesrock legend Joe Bonamassa with his own signature wah, the JB95, which is modeled on his custom wah and packed with special modifications to capture his distinctly vintage tone.

Canary in a Copper Mine
Like his signature Fuzz Face, Bonamassa’s JB95 Cry Baby sports a shiny copper rocker—a very eyecatching and luxurious touch. The top surface is a textured rubber pad. The lower half of the JB95 is done up in a sleek, gloss-black finish. It’s a hefty unit on the whole, and if you’ve ever had a regular Cry Baby that seemed to last through droughts, hurricanes, and a million beer-soaked bar gigs in its lifetime, this one feels built to last twice as long.

Inside the JB95, things look every bit as sturdy and precise. The 9V battery compartment is secured to the bottom plate and can be accessed without removing all four screws, though a standard barrel adaptor may also be used for power. One of the most critical components in Bonamassa’s signature wah is the halo inductor. Halos appeared in the early Vox wahs and are considered one of the keys to their rich, vocal capability. And while debate rages among wah heads about the true significance of inductors in the overall tone of a wah, many regard the halo as an indispensable part of the best vintage-wah sounds.

You’ll also find a unique truebypass toggle inside that allows you to switch the operation on and off. Apparently, Mr. Bonamassa prefers the coloration achieved without true bypass. Thankfully for true-bypass adherents, this pedal gives you an option.

Sweep for Days
With a mini humbuckerequipped Epiphone Firebird, a Stratocaster, and a range of amps from a 13-watt Fender Excelsior to a Twin Reverb, the Bonamassa seemed at home and capable regardless of the amp/guitar combination. Leaving the wah in nontrue- bypass mode means you can engage the on/off switch almost noiselessly. Once the JB95 is on, it’s hard not to be drawn right into the sweet, high-end range of the pedal’s sweep, which has the pleasing whine and longing tones of a permed and SG-wielding Clapton. Rocking back to the heel position plummets you deep into a cavernous low end that turns in a throaty bellow when coupled with an overdrive or a saturated tube amp. The bassiest tones aren’t quite as low as say, a vintage Macari, but the range of frequency modulation is astounding, and it may take you some time and a delicate touch to get used to micromanaging the rocker if you’re accustomed to a ham-fisted potentiometer of a cheaper wah.


Wide, expressive sweep. Sweet, low and high end.

No additional tone-tweaking controls beyond standard wah treadle.


The Bonamassa wah was designed with an output buffer so it would work better with fuzzes (and Fuzz Faces in particular). All too often you dial in a fuzz tone that’s perfect, only to have your wah suck the character entirely. But both a NYC Big Muff and Fuzzrite clone retained their respective voices and the JB95’s sweep-accentuating frequencies in a manner that seemed to work hand in hand with the fuzz. Switching the toggle into true bypass gives the tone a touch more high end which worked fine with the Muff, but was a bit brittle for the already trebly Fuzzrite.

The Verdict
Dunlop might not be able to talk a vintage-wah fiend out of shelling out hundreds of dollars on eBay for a vintage Vox or Cry Baby. Any player that’s less obsessive about such matters (or nonflush with cash), however, should give the Bonamassa JB95 a spin. It’s suitable for just about any amp, pickup, and pedal combination, provided you set up your chain right. And details like the halo inductor help get you very close to the specs of a vintage unit. But more importantly, the Bonamassa performs in so many of the ways that make purists long for a vintage wah—long and expressive sweeps, deep lows, and rich, high end. The $169 street price isn’t pocket change, but given the quality, the brilliant tones, and what you could pay for a vintage unit or highend clone, the Bonamassa Cry Baby is a bargain.

* * *

from Dunlop site
Whether he’s blazing through the blues on his own or rocking with Black Country Communion, Joe Bonamassa’s playing is fiery, deep, and powerful. And when he really wants to express himself in a solo, he steps on a Cry Baby wah. That’s why we at Dunlop worked with Joe to develop the Joe Bonamassa Signature Cry Baby, specially engineered to fit in perfectly with Joe’s system, from the way it looks to the way it sounds. On the outside, it sports a classy copper top with a smooth-finish black body. On the inside, it features large, vintage-style thru-hole components, a Halo inductor (for added harmonic content), an output buffer (to prevent impedance imbalance with vintage fuzz pedals), and a switch for true-bypass or non-true-bypass operation (Joe prefers non-True Bypass as it darkens the high end). With its huge vocal sweep range, this is one of the most expressive Cry Babys ever, and it’s Joe’s tool of choice to accentuate every soulful bend and bluesy wail. “The first pedal I ever purchased was a Cry Baby, 25 years ago,” he says. “I am so honored to have my name on this pedal and hope it brings you as much fun as it brings me every night on stage.”

  We worked with Joe to develop the JB95 Joe Bonamassa Signature Cry Baby, based on a custom wah wah built by Jeorge Tripps to Joe’s specifications so that it could be easily integrated into the vintage aesthetic of his rig.   It sports a classy copper top and smooth-finish black body to fit perfectly with the copper finish of the Joe Bonamassa Signature Fuzz Face.   What really sets Joe’s Cry Baby apart from others, though, are its guts. We sat down with Jeorge Tripps and asked him a few questions about the latest addition to the Cry Baby family.   What was the design process for the Joe Bonamassa Signature Cry Baby? Well, this whole project started when I was working with Joe on his Signature Fuzz Face and I noticed he was using a vintage wah wah. I asked him what he liked about it so that I could give him a Cry Baby with all of that and more.   I had him try all of our different Cry Babys and we noted what he liked about this or that pedal. I had a handful of prototype Halo inductors that Dunlop R&D Director Sam McRae made, so I put one of those in there. Joe loved the final product.   How did the halo inductor change the sound of the Cry Baby? Halo inductors give the Cry Baby a very throaty, punchy tone and allow for a very wide sweep. The sweep on this Cry Baby is one of the widest out there—it’s incredibly expressive.   What did you add for the official signature model? Well, Joe isn’t a big true bypass guy, he prefers the high end roll off that non-true bypass brings—that darker sound you get. But a lot of players don’t like their tone to be colored that way, so we added a switch on the inside that toggles between true bypass and non-true bypass – See more at:


And go pick up Joe’s latest album, Dust Bowl, to hear the Joe Bonamassa Signature Cry Baby in action, particularly on the track “You Better Watch Yourself.” – See more at:

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 JB 95 Wah manual: JB95_V2

Vintage Guitar Gear review: DUNLOPAPR2012

Guitar Player fever stompbox: gp1012-JB95_EJF1

Say Wah, baby

In Effects on July 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Dunlop Cry Baby Wah pedal

For the Wah, the sounds, the history, the pictures, and all these master’ guys talking about their experience with the wah, how it revolutionized the music and the sound. This video from Dunlop is really very instructive.


Mod Kits DIY Introduces the Persuader Deluxe Kit

In Effects, Gears on November 22, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Press Release August 13, 2013

Mod Kit DIY’s latest kit — the Persuader Deluxe preamp distortion

(August 13, 2013) — The Persuader Deluxe utilizes a Darlington preamp to push cascaded triode vacuum tubes into distortion. Four dual triode vacuum tubes are included with each kit (JJ 5751, 12AX7B China, JJ 12AU7 and NOS US-made 12AT7), which can be swapped to create a wide range of tones. The tones range from just a hint of break up with the JJ 5751 to over-the-top crunchy distortion with the NOS US-made 12AT7. You can easily switch out the different tubes, choosing your own tone. A boost switch provides an additional layer of flexibility with added gain and a little extra bottom end. An LED indicator lights up when the Persuader Deluxe is engaged and not in true bypass mode.

MOD™ Kits and Assemblies are designed to give novice and experienced musicians the opportunity to build or modify their own amps, effects pedals and guitars. All kits come with easy-to-follow instructions and use point-to-point wiring. All effect pedals and amplifiers come with a pre-drilled enclosure and all necessary parts are included. All you need to provide are hand tools, a soldering iron and solder. The effect pedal operates on a 9V battery; for a longer lasting option, a 9-volt adapter can be purchased separately.

Pricing information:Street Price – $99.95

For more information:
Mod Kits DIY

Boss AW-3 and CS-3 settings recommendations

In Effects on November 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Settings recommendations from Boss