Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Will you BB mine?

* Capable of a 30dB+ of clean boost with an adjustable ±15dB two band active EQ which adds a wide range of harmonic content to your ideal sound.

Utilizes a pre-gain stage which allows the pedal to go from a very pristine clean to a very smooth, compressed, overdriven sound.

Offers true bypass switching for eliminating any signal interference or tone coloration when pedal is switched off.

* BB Preamp can be used with either an AC adapter 9VDC negative tip (regulated recommended) or 9V battery.


Xotic Effects
BB Preamp

Xotic, they are one of the elite boutique pedal companies of our time, build some of the highest quality guitars and basses, and just recently opened up their own Custom Shop. It's safe to say these cats are no joke. In just a few years Xotic Effects has been able to stir up some of the most sought after stompboxes to ever hit the music scene. I can remember like it was just yesterday, Xotic's line landed in the shops, and the rest... well the rest is history. The first of their golden creations to take us tone junkies by storm were the AC Booster, RC Booster, and BB Preamp, otherwise known as the Tremendous Trio. These three pedals have quickly become the go-to choice of many professional musicians, gigging cats, and everyday guitar slinging heroes. It is the earthy grit and tube-like distortion that these pedals are capable of producing that makes them so desirable. Soon after the birth of the Tremendous Trio came another handful of great pedals, an Xotic line of guitar cables, some signature artist pedals, and then more great pedals. The awesome gear just keeps rolling out and we absolutely love it. As a player I couldn't ask for anything more from one gear company. The first Xotic Effects pedal we will be looking at is the mighty BB Preamp, a pedal with a reputation for pulling off some very tasty tones.

The BB Preamp is designed to offer a wide variety of classic rock tones which span from screaming blues to British crunch. With just a flip of it's controls this pedal can deliver golden tones that will enhance your overall sound, while not taking away from or coloring your natural tone. The pedal comes in a tight little package that consists of four control knobs, a true bypass switch, In/Out jacks, LED indicator, and can be powered with either 9V battery or 9V adapter. Everything is housed in a heavy-duty diecast aluminum enclosure which is topped off with simple, straight-to-the-point artwork. The pedal is assembled in the US and sports nothing but the best quality components. The BB Preamp's controls are Gain, Volume, Bass, and Treble. The Volume can be set to match your overall level and is capable of a 30dB of boost, enough boost to send any amp into an overdrive heaven. Of Xotic's Tremendous Trio the BB Preamp offers the most overdrive and distortion. The Gain knob will cover everything from semi-clean to gritty, and medium gain to high gain tones. I have never heard such awesome British style distortion tones from such a little box. With the Treble and Bass controls you can further shape your sound by either boosting or cutting your lows and highs, or using them to enhance your existing tone. All in all the pedal works great with many different amps, guitars, and pickups. Pairing up this pedal with other stompboxes (especially the AC and RC Boosters) is also another great way to get some rugged overdrive/distortion.

The first setup we used for running the BB Preamp was a 15/7 watt tube amp, a Custom Tele with humucker in the neck/single coil in the bridge, and a couple of high quality Xotic Cables. We set the amp to 7 watts with a flattened eq, played the guitar's single coil, and set the BB Preamp to zero Gain with everything else at twelve 'o' clock. Alone the amp's sound was crisp'n'clean, no hint of dirt or overdrive. Once the pedal was engaged it produced a strong, semi-clean boost that pushed the amp into that right-on-the-edge overdrive tone. My amp's overall sound grew in size yet it's character remained untainted. This is what I love about Xotic pedals, they work with you and not against you. I rolled up the gain to about 15% and rolled off some treble to smoothen out the overall sound. Even at this mild gain setting the pedal was able to push my amp into a thick'n'creamy overdrive, a spot-on classic rock rhythm tone. I banged out some heavy rock chords and noticed every note was present, full of harmonic richness, and extremely well balanced. It's even able to handle complex chord work really well, with superb note seperation. In low to med gain settings the BB Preamp also works great for using in your basic sound, just leave it on and mesh it in with other pedals. Next I kicked the gain up to noon, and set the bass and treble knobs to about three'o'clock. The tone instantly jumped out with a gritty edge, pushing and compressing the amp into a firm aggressive distortion. I found this to be a great setting for doubling up with another guitar player on stage, no one wants to get caught in a volume war when playing a gig. The sustain and texture of the BB's overdrive is very transparent and tube-like, this creates a tone that sits perfectly in a mix and doesn't thin-out. While in this same setting I switched over to the guitar's neck humbucker to see how this would affect the sound. I got the same amount of transparency only with much more fatness and punch. It's great how well this pedal adapts to different pickups and amp settings. For some of the higher gain amp settings we went to my trusty modified Deville, this is an amp I can push-push-push and never get a bad note out of it. I set the amp pretty loud, getting just a hint of grit from it. Now here is where the BB Preamp absolutely blew my mind, combined with the amp's grit it took my tone and blew it up, giving me more tight lows, punchy mids, and crisp highs. When you have a pedal that's capable of giving you this much mojo you can't help but want to leash out and want to play. I mean this pedal is literally like magic, anything that can take a Fender Deville and have it sounding like a hot-rodded Marhshall is bad to the bone. While I was rocking out to the high gain settings I noticed how awesome the mids sounded, they were punchy, woofy, and soaking with British rock goodness. You can always get a pedal with plenty of treble and bass, but when it comes to mids most pedals either lack it or straight up ignore it. It's amazing how well the BB Preamp is able to accent the mids of your natural without even sporting a mid control, this shows you just how transparent this pedal really is. Alone the BB is capable of some amazing tube-like dirt, in fact I believe for anyone that uses pedals to get their dirty tones from this is a great choice. I'm someone who truly believes that the best kind of overdrive is the kind you get from a great sounding amp being pushed by an equally great sounding pedal. The BB Preamp is one of these pedals that lets you push your amp while keeping your tone natural. The key word here is "natural". With a pedal like the BB Preamp you can spend the time dialing in the perfect root tone and not have to worry about it getting ruined. Time and time again I have suffered from pedals eating away from my natural tone, this was a lesson I learned through experience and hard work. Now I am able to spot a good thing when I see it. The BB Preamp lives on my main gigging pedalboard and is a pedal that gets a lot of face time. It is damn near impossible to get a bad sound out of this pedal, just go out grab one and try. You'll just end up with the tone you've always heard floating in your head.

For more info on Xotic Effects go to or click the Xotic Effects logo in our sidebar. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for more from this killer company, we have some awesome gear coming in the near future.



1 comment:

  1. I'm very thankful to the author for posting such an amazing post..!

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