One of the more popular types of pedals out there is the booster, designed to increase your guitar signal before it reaches the amplifier. They can come in several different varieties, such as a mid-boost, used to color specific parts of your frequency while boosting the entire signal. They also may come in a “linear” or “clean” flavor, in which case they are intended to leave your guitar’s frequency range (and therefore its tone) unchanged as much as possible as it passes through, with only the signal level being increased. Which brings us to the Vertex, a clean boost that adds buffer and volume pedal functionality. While there are several boosters that claim to increase your tone without coloring it, not all of them completely deliver. How does the Vertex Boost fare?
When it comes its clean boost effect, I’m happy to say it lives up to its reputation. While many manufacturers of clean boost pedals make this claim, in practice, that's not always the case. But true to their word, the Vertex Boost is an amazingly clean boost pedal and does not alter your original guitar tone at all. All it does is simply boost your signal depending on how you set the level control, anywhere from 0db to +16db. While that might not seem like much, it's exactly how a perfect clean boost pedal should work. Bottom line, the sound quality of the Vertex ranks up there among the best clean boosts. Your tone remains open and full-range, and most importantly, it feels like you're plugged straight into your amp.
From the specs sheet alone, you can already tell that the Vertex is a very versatile pedal. Aside from its boosting ability, the Vertex also features ultra-linear buffered-bypass functionality which can be used to condition especially long signal chains with no tonal coloration; even with dozens of pedals on your board, the Vertex can help maintain your chain’s signal integrity and clarity.
Additionally, the Vertex can also work as a dedicated volume or volume boost pedal combo when connected to an EXP or volume pedal. When connected, you can attenuate the boosted level (set by the level pot on the pedal itself) by raising or lowering the foot-pedal on the EXP. The EXP then takes over the level pot on the pedal itself and re-calibrates the pot taper on the EXP so that it interacts in real-time with the Vertex to adjust your output level from whatever you've set as the max output (in the toe-down position on the EXP), all the way back to silent (in the heel position on the EXP).
There are a couple of important benefits when using this feature with the Vertex over a dedicated volume pedal. First, you can boost up to +16dB beyond unity gain. Second, and more importantly, you will have virtually no tonal coloration or signal degradation – a common problem with some volume pedals.
Not only is the Vertex an amazingly clean boost pedal, the additional features of buffered-bypass functionality and direct expression/volume pedal input easily make it one of the most versatile dynamic pedals around. If you're looking for a top quality boost pedal with more to offer than most of its peers, the Vertex Boost is hard to overlook. Check out the pedal in action in the video below!
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