While they often get mixed up or even lumped into one hybrid stompbox, a true boost pedal is different from an overdrive. A true, clean boost pedal is meant to give your signal an extra boost of power while keeping the natural tone uncolored, pretty much like an expanded volume knob. And though many players use boost pedals in order to send their amp into overdrive, it is up to the amp and not the booster to craft your tone. But that's not to say we don't appreciate when manufacturers add a few extras, as long as they don't get in the way of the pedal's true job! With that in mind, we'd like to share with you four fantastic boost pedals that get the job done and then some!
Suhr Koko Boost
If you’re looking for a through and through pro-grade boost pedal, look no further than the Suhr Koko Boost. Not only does the pedal provide an amazingly transparent clean boost that leave’s your guitar’s natural tone untouched, it also had the added mid boost feature. While it might not seem like much at first, this selectable midrange boost intelligently works in collaboration with the pedal’s default clean boost, giving it plenty of versatility, something that isn’t found in your typical booster. And with up to 20 decibels of clean boost, the Koko Boost will easily give you the extra oomph needed to push your amp into overdrive or simply enhance your guitar’s natural sound.
A booster pedal that can best be described as truly unique. Bogner themselves describe the Harlow as “sloppy compression meets boost.” And while that admittedly might not sound appealing at first, hearing it in action paints a much better picture. Imagine your guitar’s clean, natural tone with a glaze of stunning, multi-dimensional character. It’s like switching your sound to HD. And like many other Bogner pedals, the high-quality tone can be traced to custom audio transformer found in the Harlow’s circuitry, similar to the one used in the company’s legendary tube amps and 60s era mixing consoles. Other features include a Max Tone knob which will give your sound a fast phase with almost limitless sustain. And for those of you out there that appreciate a really good looking pedal, a version made with real Bubinga wood (pictured to the right) is also available.
Sometimes, all a player really wants from a booster pedal is a precise recreation of their meticulously crafted tone – only louder. Other times, they might want that same, louder tone, but with a little extra shine to cut through the mix. Whether you fall into the first or second camp, the Keeley Katana boost will deliver. Not only does it have enough power to push your volume way beyond 11, it also features an intuitive Speed knob meant to give your sound just a bit more edge when needed. But make no mistake, this isn’t an overdrive pedal. The Katana is a booster pedal through and through, made to give your sound plenty of extra volume and headroom without losing your setup’s natural tone or any clarity.
Xotic EP Booster
Easily one of our most popular pedals, the EP Booster is more than just a simple volume boost; it’s a tonal shaping pedal that allows you to push out all the right sounds without losing any balance or clarity in the process. Engineered to recreate the tone and functionality of the legendary EP-3 preamp – the same used by Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen, just to name a few – the EP Booster provides 20 decibels of extra power along with internal DIP switches that let you tailor the boost frequencies and EQ settings to best match your natural tone. After that, it’s set and forget. Don’t let the small size fool you – there’s plenty of power and versatility packed in this tiny pedal!
While the four pedals above are easy recommendations, there are plenty of other great boosters available. The MXR Micro Amp, Way Huge Angry Troll and the Rockett Archer are three other boosters I would easily recommend checking out. If you’re particular about what type of booster to add to your signal chain, you can always browse our entire selection by using the link below.
If you have any questions regarding the purchase of any of the items mentioned above or any other piece of gear, don’t hesitate to chat with one of our helpful PAL pros by using the Contact Us dialogue box below!
Your Turn to Sound Off!
Do you prefer a completely clean boost or one that adds a little color?