The RC Booster – as in “Really Clean” Booster – is exactly what the name entails; a pedal aimed at boosting your signal strength while maintaining your tone’s fidelity because as we all know, there’s nothing worse than a pedal that kills your tone. It also functions as a moderate overdrive pedal for good measure! No wonder why artists such as Brad Paisley and Brent Mason are consistent users of the RC Booster.
The Xotic RC Booster might at first seem like your average clean boost and mid-strength overdrive pedal but in an ecosystem where there are dozens upon dozens of booster pedals, what separates this particular stompbox from the rest of the pack is its versatility and the articulate response of the controls. Even though it only contains four knobs, the amount of control afforded by them will no doubt surprise you and best of all, it feels as though the pedal is working with your particular tone instead of over it – something that just can’t be said about a lot of pedals. Your Telecaster will still sound like a Telecaster and the same goes for a Les Paul or what have you – and isn’t that why you bought a particular guitar in the first place, for its signature tone?
Speaking of controls, the RC Booster at first comes off as pretty straight forward; you have four knobs – Volume, Gain, Bass and Treble.
As far as the volume knob goes, it does what you would expect from a pedal; it controls the level of the signal output. Counter-clockwise will lower your output level while clockwise will raise it – although I did notice that the range is actually far superior to most booster pedals. Plenty of headroom as far as level is concerned and that’s definitely a good thing. This allows for a very clean and transparent signal boost which is great if you’re trying to get your guitar to be heard above a mix for soloing – or pretty much anything else where extra signal strength is needed – without losing nearly any tonal fidelity.
The Gain knob controls the amount of overdrive you would like added to your signal. Keep it all the way to the left (counter-clockwise) for a completely clean signal or more it towards the right for some pretty nice moderate overdrive. If you already happen to have a dedicated overdrive pedal on your effects chain, giving it some slight extra gain through the RC Booster can actually beef up the lead tone, giving your overdriven signal some pretty sharp attack.
It might not sound like it at first but there is plenty of variety in that can be had with just that gain knob alone. The next two knobs – treble and bass – also add plenty more versatility to this pedal. While they might seem like your average EQ knobs, you can masterfully sculpt out your desired sound with surprising precision. Add that with the sharp gain controls and the excellent level range, this pedal is definitely packs plenty of tonal options.
The Xotic RC Booster is powered by either your standard 9 volt battery or a compatible 9 volt AC adapter. The build is actually pretty tough featuring a die cast chasis which makes for a pretty tough pedal. I’m not too fond of the look of the pedal itself but that’s really a non-issue as far as functionality is concerned – just thought I’d throw that out there. The pedal itself is actually pretty compact (4.39" x 2.38" x 1.98") should fit nicely on your pedalboard -- although not nearly as great as Xotic's miniature pedals such as the SP Compressor, EP Booster and SL Drive.
Also, you’ll be glad to know that this pedal offers true bypass which means that the box does not have to be on – or even have a working battery – in order for your guitar’s signal to go through.
Is It Right For You?
If you’re looking for roughly 20+ decibels of extra power in your signal without having that original tone of yours masked, you should definitely check out the Xotic Effects RC Booster pedal. With its very easy to use control scheme and surprisingly versatile execution, any guitarist out there looking for a pedal that can be sculpted around their own particular tone simply can’t go wrong with the Xotic RC Booster. Also, you can check out the rest of the Xotic line of effects pedals right here!