Thursday, February 4, 2010

Top Finds of 2009 / EP Booster

Xotic Effects never seizes to amaze us. I can look back at each one of the Xotic Effects pedals I've ever had a chance to try out and remember them all as being top-notch. The thing that makes Xotic pedals such desirable pieces of gear is their simplicity. If you've ever had a chance to plug into any of their dirt boxes you know that they're all about getting straight to the point, quickly, and painlessly. While many of the bigger companies are floating towards designing complex and multi-function effects pedals, Xotic has taken the simplest of ideas to create one of the most useful tone tools to hit the streets in a long time. I mean how many different classics does Mr. Mathews plan on playing off of? It's a circus of tasteless, gimmick ridden, trinkets and knick-knacks out there. So when you find yourself lost in a sea of maddening bright boxes and need a straight no chaser, no-frills stompbox that will get the job done and done right. Look towards Xotic Effects.

Xotic Effects USA
Van Nuys, CA

EP Booster

* Gain Control Knob
* On/Off Status LED
* True Bypass Switching
* Input Jack (nominal input -20DB)
* Output Jack
* DC Jack 2.1mm x 5.5mm / 9-18vdc Negative Center
* Internal DIP Switches: Bass Boost / Bright
* Battery Power: 9V


The EP Booster is an absolute amazing little pedal with an unbelievable capability to enhance and push your sound. I gotta hand it to Xotic Effects for one of the coolest little pedals to come out last year. The idea for designing the EP Booster came from mighty pre-amp section that can be found in the classic EP-3 Echoplex's. I don't know about you guys but I've had a chance to plug into a handful of different EP-3's in my time, and every time I have I've been blown away by how killer of tone their pre-amp sections are capable of. The EP-3's pre-amp is a little trick I've seen many studio cats use to enhance and give their guitar tracks some edge. Amongst the many engineers and everyday cats like myself who have fallen in love with the Echoplex preamp sound, there have been many heavyweight professional's who have also counted on it for their signature and root tone's. Cats like Brian May, Tommy Bolin, Joe Walsh, Jimmy Page, and the man himself Mr. Hendrix have all used Echoplex preamp's to give their tone some mojo. Xotic Effects has now taken this wonderful tool and shoved into 3.5"x1.5"x1.5" enclosure. This way you get all the killer tone without having to sacrifice much space on your pedalboard, lord knows we can use all we can get. On the EP Booster you will find a true bypass switch and solo knob used for controlling the gain amount, but there's more! Inside the EP Booster is a whole nother story. In the pedal's guts you will find a couple of DIP switches, one for boosting the bass, and another for flat or bright eq. This gives you the ability to match or give your sound a little color, and if you're looking for a little something extra take it from me, use the pedal's magical little color.

Like all of our demos we like make sure we use as many different scenario's as possible. We try and pull out as many amps, guitars, use different style pickups, and even run the gear we demo through other pedals to see how they react. The EP Booster came through with flying colors, working beautifully with everything we used it with and sounding magnificent on it's own. The scenario we worked with EP Booster was Strat, Twin Reverb, and two Bullet Cables. We set the amp with all eq at 7, volume at 3-4, reverb at 2, bright switch off. The EP Booster was set in it's default setting with the Bass Boost off, and Bright on. The sound of the Twin Rev alone of course sounded damn sweet, full of richness and boom. With the EP Booster engaged things got even better! It's kind of hard to explain if you've never heard what a EP-3 Echoplex sounds like when driving an amp. It's not so much that it works to boost your sound into an overdrive, which it can do, the magic is on the hint of color that it throws on your sound. It covers a wider, rounder frequency range for the bass, and shines a little light on the highs and mids. The result is a tone that's a bit tighter, richer, and able to cover more ground. At first you don't notice much a difference, then you start hammering away at some chords and begin to feel the sound around you becoming much nicer. I always say the best guitar tones are the ones you feel and not so much hear. I did the same thing with an overdriver set after the EP Booster and got the same results. The creamy overdrive setting I had dialed in went from great to greater. There was more definition in the grit and a lot more flavor in the overall sound. Before I moved onto the vintage setting in the DIP switches I decided to plug my guitar into a 100 watt Super Lead, dial in some natural overdrive, and boost the signal with EP Booster's default setting. I set the amp fairly crunchy, with lots of mids and lows. Once I kicked in the pedal I could hear the everything tighten up and become a bit more complex. It was apparent this pedal was going to work with just about anything I threw at it. Next I kicked in the pedal's vintage setting, which is both DIP switches in the off position. Here the tone was able to maintain all of the character I had work into the amp only with a warmer and fluffier feel. The overdrive had more of a classic rock vibe to it, some where between a Page and Townshend tone. Not too shabby hey? The pedal worked great with everything, other boosters, overdrivers, distortions boxes, fuzz pedals, and best of all on it's own through an already dirty tone or clean sound. Xotic's mission to build a simple way to achieve the EP-3's preamp sound is a definite success. With the EP Booster's DIP switched it makes things even that much better. This simple little box turned out to be much more complex than I though it would be, and created a handful of tones that some multi knob pedal's aren't capable of. I'm proud to say the EP Booster now lives on my pedalboard, in front of everything else, and always on. It makes shaping things after it much easier and more precise. If you guys get a chance to plug into one go for it, grab a nice guitar, plug into a decent amp, and watch it add life to any signal.


For more info on Xotic Effects go to or click on the logo in our sidebar for a direct link. Also go down to our Youtube search engine and type in "EP Booster" for some cool video demos from the Xotic Guitars Youtube channel. Stay tunes for more form this awesome company in the near future. Peace!!!

1 comment:

  1. ditto ditto dittto .... had an amp tech friend recommend this pedal very strongly. Just got it today ... into a tweed champ ... brown deluxe ... fantastic. I had my 54 reissue strat on the middle pickup into a 68 Princeton Reverb vol 3 treb 5 bass 6. Middle pickup on the Strat sounded a little thin. Turned the pedal on and WOW ... rich low mids ... total clarity ... then hooked up an accurate fuzz face clone ... EP after it .. even fuzzed out it brought in string clarity and cool vocal mids ... it is almost like a mind ( make that gear ) reader pedal that finds whatever little good tones are missing and just brings them out and to life. Best pedal I have ever bought.