Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Xotic Effects Custom Shop

To me Xotic Effects has always been one of the few companies that has never needed an introduction. If ever there were a collection of pedals that speak for themselves it is the Xotic Effects line. Xotic's Tremendous Trio (BB Preamp, RC Booster, and AC Booster) are some of the world's most used and celebrated stompboxes available today. Pros, producers, and everyday players alike have taken to the awesome power that these three pedals own. Just about every player I know personally and otherwise sports one of the Tremendous Trio pedals in their rigs or setups. The reason for this is their tube-like feel, transparency, and wide range of dirt tones. I honestly thought there was no way to improve on these pedals. Then late last year Xotic announces the new addition of their Xotic Effects USA Custom Shop. The turnout has been an entirely new collection of superbly built, immaculate sounding stompboxes. The first of these Custom Shop champions? The BBP-MB.

BB Preamp w/Mid Boost

  • Capable of +30dB clean boost
  • Adjustable ±15dB two-band EQ
  • Mid Boost provides up to +12dB mid/treb boost
  • Utilizes pre-gain stage / From clean to overdriven
  • True bypass circuit
  • 9VDC power adapter or 9V battery
  • Laser-etched face plate
  • Hand buffed raw aluminum enclosure


Absolutely no frills and no hype here. All 100% pure tasty tone. This is the simplest and most precise way to define this pedal. For those of you who have had the honor of rocking out to the BB-Preamp, just imagine that same pedal's abilities, plus the use of a 12dB mid boost. Having the option of kicking in a great sounding mid boost makes this pedal an entirely new beast. I found the same amount of control in the BBP-MB that I experienced in the original BB-Preamp, and was able to harness the same awesome tones. On board the Custom Shop BBP-MB you will find Gain, Volume, Treble, Bass, and Mid-Boost controls. The pedal's awesome design and true bypass circuit provide a top-notch untampered signal. The BBP-MB works great with all types of pickups and amplifier tones, and also gets along beautifully with other pedals.

Whenever demoing a pedal of this caliber it's almost damn near impossible to get bad sounding guitar tone. I started playing around with the BBP-MB through my modified Deville and 60's Strat build. I set the amp up clean, with lots of bass and treble, mids and presence at noon, and a hint of reverb. The root tone came through boomy and with lots of twinkle. I then set the pedal's output to match the amp's, ran the eq stack at noon, gain at around 15%, and mid-boost control rolled back all the way. I engaged the pedal and right away everything became bigger, rounder, and I was able to get a mellow natural sounding light grit. The single coil Strat sound really blossomed and rung out clearly through this pedal. With a little harder pick attack I was able to get more grit and more dynamics, something I always love about a pedal. Chords really sounded awesome through this setting. Each note was balanced, defined, and smooth. Even when I rang out complex chord structures I was able to hear each note and string perfectly. The sign of a great build. I slowly started adding in the mid boost control to see what kind of difference i would get from the original BB-Preamp. With the mid-range control I was able to dial in a much stronger and punchier tone. This control worked great for taking my amp into new frontiers. With the mid-range at about 20%, I could now dig in and really get a thick/medium overdrive tone. The amp kicked out more oohmf and flavor. Making everything overall sound that much better. Next I switched to some humbuckers and ran the Custom Shop BBP-MB with more output and more mids. The pedal's massive amount of output was able to oush my amp's tubes into some of the sweetest sounding grit tones I'd ever heard. Just like the standard BB-Preamp, the sound was smooth, organic, thick, and full of dynamics, harmonics, and response. At medium to high gain settings the pedal was able to deliver great hot-rodded Marshall tones. The mid-range control really helped to push out all the huge crunch and attitude I needed. Next I took the gain control to full blast, balanced out the eq to match my amp's, and dished out a healthy amount of volume. My Deville's clean signal was transformed into an entirely different beast. I am of the type of player that relies ask on pedals for his dirt tones, which if you go about the same way know it can be a tuff task to pull off. This custom shop version of the BB-Preamp is the perfect pedal for adding another channel to any clean amp. The pedal maintains all of your amp's natural character, while able to give everything more life.

After running the pedal through some clean tones I figured it would be a good idea to see what it sounded like through an already overdriven signal. I then plugged the BBP-MB into a slightly dirty Super Lead, and played it with a Les Paul. The amp on it's own was already pushing a quite handsome guitar tone. I started with the set straight up the middle, with just a little bit of gain and mids, and level matched to the amp's. It definitely made a huge difference! It took the amp's already awesome sounding tone and turned into an even better one. The sound reminded me that of a Jimmy Page rhythm tone. A tone that could easily be used for chord work as well as lead runs. The response of the pedal's grit is what really jumped out at me. It took all of the natural smooth grit and grime, and added another layer of complex harmonics and feel. I could strike down on chords and feel the sound exploding all around me. The higher I would go up the neck the more intense the dirt became. When I'd roll back on my guitar's volume control I would also get these pristine, super clear, semi-clean tones. By rolling down some of the tone I was able to take the sound from bright to beautifully dark. It was really something how well this pedal responded to my guitar's controls. Having treb, bass, and mids eq stack also provided me with dialing in some of my favorite classic rock tones. By taking the mids up, lows to about 75%, and treb to 15%. I was able to do the woman tone thing quite nicely. With my guitar's tone knob I was able to make the tone more dramatic and make the tone actually cry. Also by pushing the Super Lead's tubes into a higher crunch tone, then blending in the pedal's overdrive. I was able to get some sweet fuzzy/overdrive sounds. It was really magic how well the pedal compressed and broke up the amp's tone. Before I called it quits I also pushed the BBP-MB through a low watt amp. I plugged in my AC15 style amp and let it fly. The cool thing about my 15 watter is that you can also take it down to 7 watts, which makes for some interesting guitar sounds. I powered down to the 7 watts, cranked that little head a far as it would go, then stacked the pedal right on top of it. Pure rock and roll vibes flew all over the room, creating different toneal colors that exploded with every swing of my pick. The really awesome thing was that I was able to get such an intense rock tone at such a low volume. 7 watts isn't all that little, if you really wanted you could actually gig with 7 watts. It's what happens to a tone at this volume that sounds so cool. The better the pedal, the better the overall sound. At 15 watts is was more of the same only with more punch and versatility. In the end, the Custom Shop BBP-MB was able to provide me with some great recording levels, loud rockin' tones, semi-clean gritty tones, and smooth rhythm heaven. The pedal worked great through both clean and dirty signals, and it was able to provide me with the same quality of tone found in the first BB-Preamp, and able to take me even further. This is definitely not just another of the same pedal with a different paint job on the box. The BBP-MB is an entirely new beast. In no way in hell could you ever go wrong with this pedal. PERIOD!


For more info on Xotic Effects go to or click the direct link on our sidebar. We have lots more awesome features from this Xotic Effects so make sure to check in soon. We will be looking deeper into the Custom Shop stuff and rest of the Xotic line. Rock on!!!!

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