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previous: Halouis Anyone tried a blackstone mosfet pe... -- 4/18/2000 2:43 PM View Thread

Re: blackstone mosfet pedal

4/18/2000 5:49 PM
Jim S.
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Re: blackstone mosfet pedal
I own one and I like it very much. It is one of the most tube-like overdrives I've ever heard. Used with a good tube amp (I use vintage blackface Fenders mostly) it can sound VERY realistic. The overall tonality is smooth and fat, with a somewhat rounded and vocal top end. It's not buzzy or sizzly like a lot of other pedals.  
 
Be aware that this pedal has a lot of gain potential, and in some ways, is more of a distortion pedal than an overdrive pedal. It does not have a pristine clean boost capability. The lower gain mode has a wide range of adjustment, from slight breakup to heavy saturation, but the high gain mode is heavily clipped (and it as no external gain control), even with the internal master gain trimpot set to minimum (which is where I keep mine). And this is all true even when using vintage-output single coils, nevermind humbuckers! I generally use only the lower gain mode and I wish there were a separate external gain wheel for the high gain mode.  
 
I find that pushing in the single coil compensation switch is a MUST if you're using a strat, otherwise the tone will be too thin. This switch allows for THICK overdrive tones where the notes really jump out of the speaker.  
 
This pedal has some unique circuitry that makes it especially sensitive to guitar volume control settings. As soon as you back off the volume from 10 to 8 or 9, the sound cleans up drastically. I think it may be too sensitive; if you accidentally bump your volume knob (easy to do on a strat) slightly, your lead tone can go away suddenly. A way to disable this feature is to place some other pedal (one which uses buffered, not hardwire, bypass) between your guitar and the Blackstone -- this way, the Blackstone can't "see" your guitar's volume control.  
 
Whether or not you disable that feature, the response is reasonably dynamic -- it will track your pick attack fairly well. At higher gain settings, there is certainly quite a lot of compression, but it usually doesn't feel excessively squashed, like so many other pedals can. The Blackstone probably works best with amps that are set clean or just on the verge of breakup. A lower-gain (or clean-boost) pedal might be a better choice when the amp is already in overdrive territory.  
 
The Blackstone uses wheels instead of knobs for the gain and output controls. They're located in back along with then input/output jacks, the DC power jack, and the single coil compensation switch. These take a bit of getting used to. It's nice that they generally stay put, wherever you last set them, but I don't like not being able to tell WHERE they're set, since there are no numbers or lines on them. I find that the lack of tone controls is not a problem, the fixed EQ is very balanced. There's the slightest bit of low end loss when the effect is engaged, but you quickly realize that it's just enough to keep the bottom end tight and it actually helps in making the overdrive seem fat and powerful rather than tubby or flabby.  
 
Is the Mosfet Overdrive the be-all and end-all of overdrive pedals? Probably not, and I'm always on the lookout for the next thing (I've heard great things about the new Marshall Bluesbreaker II pedal). But I think its a very useful and MUSICAL piece of pro-quality gear. Carefully set up, it can sound very close to the gain channel of a $3000 boutique channel-switching amp. I also like the fact that it is so small -- just throw it in you guitar case with a couple of cords and a strap and you're all set for a jam session.  
 
Hope this helps in your decision.