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Re: All tube hi-gain distortion pedal

10/16/2000 12:46 AM
Mike Burgundy
Re: All tube hi-gain distortion pedal
I used to own a Matchless Dirtbox and it did not have enough gain for me, I think it was probabaly due to the fact that the last tube stage is configured as a cathode follower and thus has no gain.  
If you are aiming to drive the first stage of a tube amp really hard, this is probably true. If you're looking for gain in the pedal, the last gain stage doesn't add to the volume but does add it's own distortion. There has been a discussion in the amps section somewhere on cathode-followers in high-gain circuits - they do distort, and are sometimes used to influence the balance between even/odd harmonics. Guys like RG and Randall are better at explaining this stuff than I am ;) The hotbox has quite some gain on tap, but is voiced and built for more "classic" sounds - truly interstellar soar it won't do.  
Another tip I already posted here somewhere: try the new Koch floorbox. It's distributed in the US by Eden I think, and it truly shames the VTwin, for one. I like it (can't afford it, though ;p ) I *think* this one is 100% tube dist, too (as opposed to the VTwin, Tubedriver, and others). Jack Orman's minitubes is also great - especially for the money if you're handy with an iron and have a good, affordable suplier.
10/16/2000 2:59 AM

Yes, a cathode follower does add it own unique distortion, I like it very much. the dirtbox sounded like a plexi preamp to me. I got rid of it mostly because it didn't really do anything my amp couldn't do. one of the reasons I do like the soldano is because it basically can deliver a SLO 100 tone to my amp. I get vintage clean and crunch sounds exactly how I want them and by stepping on this, I get modern SLO-tone. the best of both worlds; a bit of the old and a bit of the new.  
I saw the koch pedal, and have considered building devices like this before; preamp with single end ouptut attached to a resistive load with a variable line out. you could even configure it so it would take either a 6v6 or a el84, thereby furthering sound variations. I eventually gave up on that project because I feel its just too much crap. an amp before an amp? Maybe they are marketing the pedal for use with SS amps, or as a stand alone unit to be used with a PA so you can be "ampless" but I really don't see it taking off when you can still get SF Champs that are Point to point handwired for $200.  

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