Expensive boosts/preamps: what's the difference?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Jack Clayton, Oct 31, 2019.

  1. Jack Clayton

    Jack Clayton Tele-Meister

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    I'm looking to retool my board a bit, and I've got some questions for those who've sampled more stuff than me.

    Some of my favorite sounds come from boost pedals. In most cases, I prefer a few stacked boosts to an OD pedal. But my understanding of what boost is would indicate that it's a very simple, linear concept. Beyond silent switching and a clean circuit that doesn't add a ton of noise, I don't fully understand how one boost can be THAT much better than another.

    Why then does the price of boosts and preamps range from fifty bucks (or even less) way up into the hundreds? Should I look into things like the Benson Preamp, or a Supro boost, or should I just get a TC Spark and spend the difference elsewhere?

    Can anybody educate me on this subject?
     
  2. sirbergersworth

    sirbergersworth Tele-Holic

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    Who made it is probably the biggest difference in my opinion. Some of the best have a onboard component count of less than 10.
     
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  3. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I bought some expensive boots ... Worth every penny ... Sorry I misread the title ... My advice is to thoroughly research and test options ... A $50.00 pedal may work better for you than a spendy boutique deal ... Good Luck in your quest !!!
     
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  4. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    Buy a MXR 10 band EQ pedal (or the cheap Caline version).
     
  5. Telegnosis

    Telegnosis Tele-Meister

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    I would say the boost is a gain device and an OD is a distortion device.

    A not too known pedal for gain is the Boss FZ-2.
    Just setting the "gain boost" knob will push your amp further than any pedal I've experienced.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    My first question for you would be ... what is your amp and how do you set it (clean, edge of break up)? In my opinion a boost works with your amp as a team - for example Brian May’s treble boost into a Vox AC30. I would start with something simple like a Rangemaster if you’re going into a hot amp.

    Personally, I use a Klon clone as my boost pedal.
     
  7. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I like my Fulltone FD2...clean boost with built in OD option. Nobodys ever complained about it.
     
  8. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    Price really doesn't have much to do with a pedals technology. If one has one stage of electronics and another has four, the difference in cost may be $2-$5. The difference on value may be $0. The difference in price is what they can get for it.
     
  9. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    1. The sounds a particular player got
    2. That particular player's reknown
    3. The rarity of the device
    4. How solid in use it is

    Sometimes a device comes and goes, like am original Dynacomp or is superceded without anyone really noticing. It's not made or sold in large numbers.

    Then a new guitar hero is noticed with one he bought or traded when unknkwn on his pedalboard. Even if he barely used it.

    Or people look for a TS9 and discover it's derivatives like the Maxon 808 or find something else using the same Texas Instruments chip.

    The metallic olive green one that lasted Sox months is worth more than the more numerous black one with different knobs, like a Slash LP over a Standard or even Studio even though they 99% sound the same for Joe Average and Slash's no 1 isn't even genuine Gibson.
     
  10. Old Smokey

    Old Smokey TDPRI Member

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    The biggest difference is going to be country of origin/labor cost. Two identical pedals, one made in China, the other in the US, the one made in the US could be 10x more expensive.

    Other than that, the usual rule applies: all else being equal, double the cost to get a noticeable difference in sound/build quality.
     
  11. Dr. Bill

    Dr. Bill Tele-Afflicted

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    Some boost pedals just seem to have a sprinkling of magic dust on them, and I'm willing to spend more for build quality that will last indefinitely. Here's one that received rave reviews here some years back. And yes, I have one of the original Robbie Wallace editions.
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. 41144

    41144 Tele-Afflicted

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    Rangercaster got it right there.

    There are just too many variables when it comes to "will what works for you work for me". Sure, it's good to gather opinions to help filter options but ... what works for my amps and guitars might be awful with yours.

    Saying that, having previously tried a TS and a BD-2, I now only use one boost, currently it's the Spark Boost on the "mid" switch - it works, so why pay a ton of money to change it for changes sake?
    The only other pedals on my board are Vibe, Delay & Tremolo (Vibe and Delay are buffered) no massive effect on time there either
     
  13. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Bragging rites.
     
  14. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    A lot of it is the cachet & charisma/reputation of the builder.

    I've been fooling around with making my own.. the cost of parts is vanishingly small and the designs are not rocket science.

    Enclosure choice & paint/finish complexity could easily cost more than the circuit.
     
  15. twangjeff

    twangjeff Tele-Afflicted

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    There are a lot of pedals that are called boosts that aside from the name have little in common with each other. I think that there are a few basic camps:

    1.) Clean Boost/ Buffers: Just pure clean boost, usually a one knobber. (Keeley Katana, JHS Prestige, TC Spark Mini).

    2.) Clean Boost with EQ: Really more of a preamp than a boost. (Xotic RC Booster, TC Spark full sized, JHS Clover).

    3.) Transparent Low Gain Overdrives (Benson Preamp, Timmy, EM Drive, etc.)

    You'll notice while accounting for manufacturer/country of origin/etc./etc. the more a pedal is doing, the more it is going to cost. IE- the JHS Clover costs more than the JHS prestige, etc. etc.
     
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  16. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    A 3 band EQ has very few parts too... the 3 extra pots is the bulk of the cost there.

    Especially when a lot of the time they're just dropping in established EQ/Tone stack circuits. Something with parametric mids or something like that would seemingly up the difficulty a lot.

    I would be most curious about which ones have solid state adaptations of famous tube amps. Those are probably the most valid in terms of justifying a high price.. but the schematics for the tube amps them selves are fairly simple and available too.
     
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