. . . the [Boostassio] bolstered
the sound without dirtying it,
as promised. In a band setting, it
was perfect for being heard above
a din of bass and drums without
having to resort to more distortion.
more saturated tones. It has a fairly spartan user interface, with knobs for Volume
(ranging from None to Done) and Bias
(which rotates between Bliss and Pissed).
I first put the Boostassio through its
paces using a Fender Custom Shop ’ 63
Telecaster and a Fender Pro Junior amp.
To check out the clean-boost capability,
I set the volume halfway between None
and Done and the bias to Bliss. With the
effect off, I was pleased to note how quiet
the pedal was. It was also more transparent than I expected a tube pedal to be.
you need a simple pedal
to add some kick, a little grit,
or some color to your sound.
you’re looking for a wider range
of dirty sounds or don’t want to
mess with a tube in your pedal.
or use a mobile device to download
audio clips of the Boostassio at
A bit more versatile than the Boostassio,
the S.A.S. is built to serve up everything
from the mildest grit to the ugliest distortion. It is refreshingly simple to use, with
just three controls—Volume, Gain, and
Bias. As on the Boostassio, Bias ranges
from the sparkling clarity of the Bliss setting to Pissed, which sounds like a low-watt amp cranked way up. This makes it
very handy for practice and/or recording at
more reasonable volumes.
I initially tried the S.A.S. with my
ES-335 and Fender Pro Junior. With
Gain, Volume, and Bias set low, I got a
clean boost with just a hint of dirt. With
each knob set around 9 o’clock, the pedal
produced a full-bodied, lightly overdriven
sound that—in conjunction with the
335’s ’ 57 Classic neck pickup—sounded
just right for both blues-rock stylings and
modern jazz lines in the style of John
Scofield or Mike Stern.
Using a Gibson ES-330TDC hollowbody with P-90s and the S.A.S. still on the
previous settings, I got a gritty-but-woody
sound with a considerable amount of
definition—a nice, all-purpose timbre for
anything from classic blues to indie rock.
Next, I plugged in a Fender Custom
Shop ’ 63 Stratocaster and edged up each
knob on the S.A.S. to get a thick, sustaining Hendrix-like sound that could be
downright feral and unhinged—yet not
beyond control. What was most impressive was that, with that much distortion, I
could still easily make out the individual
notes in a 7#9 chord.
For something at the other end of the
tonal spectrum, I switched back to the
ES-335, tuned to dropped-D, and maxed-
out the S.A.S.’s controls. The result was a
super-fried and jagged sound that made
When engaged, the effect bolstered the
sound without dirtying it, as promised.
Both the Boostassio and the S.A.S. feature a delightfully simple front panel with 1/4" Input and
Output jacks and a 12-volt AC adapter connection.