Whether it’s the newest electric from Fender or the latest microphone from the guys at AKG, we here at ProAudioLand pride ourselves on carrying the biggest brands out there along with some of the best prices in town! Even with that said, we are always looking to bolster out inventory by bringing in plenty of new players into our product line so today we want to take some time to spotlight the newest member to the lineup – Suhr Guitars! For those of you out there unfamiliar with the company, Suhr Guitars – officially known as JS Technologies – is an American company well known for its electric guitars, basses, amplifiers and effects pedals. Based in Lake Elsinore, California, the company was founded in 1997 by John Suhr who at the time already had garnered celebrity in the music gear business for his reputation in building exquisitely crafted guitars. While the company might be better known for their outstanding electrics they are also responsible for some of the most sought after effects pedals on the market as well. Today,we want to take the time to highlight three of these units – the Shiba Drive, the Koko Boost and the Riot Distortion – each of which would make an outstanding addition to any player’s pedalboard! Alright, let’s get to it, starting with…
The Suhr Shiba Drive is a low/medium gain Overdrive pedal which sits between the Koko Boost and Riot Distortion pedals. The Shiba drive is perfect for bluesy overdrive tones or classic rock crunch taking you from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Angus Young in the twist of a knob. Put this amp in front of an already overdriven amp and you will get awesome sustain and drive for searing leads. Like all of the current Suhr Pedals, this unit comes with a 3 way midrange EQ switch in this case called a “Smooth” switch which will give you slightly different voicings, it also has the FX link for hooking up with external switching devices and the battery alert for when your 9V battery is low on power. Of course you can also use a mains adaptor, from 9 – 18V to power the pedal. This pedal is perfect for stacking and especially with the Suhr Koko boost which beefs up the signal going into the Shiba.
There is also a slight midrange hump that helps you cut through the mix, but the sonic integrity of your guitar and pickups comes through loud and clear. The tone is musical and balanced with firm lows, punchy mids with just the right amount of cut, and sweet silky highs.
I have played through a lot of Distortion pedals and I was eager to see why there was so much buzz around the Suhr Riot pedal. Each Suhr pedal is hand built so they can’t just churn these off a production line but they are worth the wait. In my quest for the ultimate distortion box so far my favorite distortion has been the Way Huge Fat Sandwich which is incredibly tweakable, the Riot has all the balls of the Fat Sandwich in a much more compact and simplified unit. But don’t be discouraged by the lack of presence, resonance and internal trim pots that you get with the Fat Sandwich, the distortion, tone and a level or volume knobs are capable of creating monster tone. There is also a 3 way switch to change the EQ voicing which actually makes quite a difference from mid boosted to slightly scooped. The on/off switch on the Suhr pedals are really nice, they have a nice smooth spring loaded operation without that clunky click that most pedals have. If you are a 9v battery fan this pedal has the bonus feature that it will indicate when the battery is about to die and switches to true bypass when it does so as not to interrupt the signal path.
This pedal is incredibly high gain is designed to be used in front of a clean amp to turn it into a raging 100 watt overdriven stack and it certainly succeeds!
In a band setting, there are so many times when you might need to cut through the mix during a riff or solo. You also might simply want your guitar signal boosted. And sometimes you also want it boosted with a bit more grunt. If this sounds like you then the koko Boost might be just what the doctor ordered! If you want a booster pedal that doesn’t color your tone – unless you want it to – that’s what the Koko Booster is all about. It offers a wonderfully clean transparent boost when the Boost Switch is engaged but lets you add an array of midrange coloration via a Midrange Boost Switch. When the midrange boost is selected, the type of tone coloration that is added to the clean boost can be adjusted by a frequency toggle. The frequency toggle has three positions: Left – highlights the middle range – giving a full and smooth sound to accentuate your guitar’s midrange characteristics; Centre – highlights the high mids – giving a clear and articulate voice to cut through the mix; and Right – highlights the low mids – giving a fat and creamy thickened tone.
The Koko Boost is True Bypass, so it allows all the signal from the guitar to bypass the pedal’s circuitry when the pedal is off. This ensures that the integrity of your guitar signal is retained when the pedal is not active but this can create a problem if there is more than 20ft of cable between the guitar and amp. In such cases you’ll want a buffer or buffered pedal at the end or start of your pedal board to avoid signal degradation. This is where the Koko Boost comes to the rescue. The pedal includes a switchable buffer (under the cover) enabling it to act as a high quality buffer if required. Keep your signal chain short, and you won’t need it. If you play on big stages, you’ll be thankful for the KoKo Boost’s buffer capability.
Other features include a battery monitor and FX Link. The FX Link can be used to remotely control the pedal. The KoKo Boost can operate via a third party power supply unit at between 9 and 18 volts and draws current of 8mA.