Ratings

Pros:
Adds girth to single-coils. Makes thin fuzz sound extra massive. Inexpensive.

Cons:
Might be too hi-fi and have too much headroom for some players.

Street:
$60

RPS Vitamin C Boost
rpseffects.com



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Clean boosts seem to inspire magical thinking. No matter how “clean” and free of coloration a boost is, extra gain ultimately runs up against an amp’s ceiling, imparting distortion and compression. The only way to true clean boost is a louder amp. But if you want your signal to sound louder, bigger, and fatter at the flick of a switch, without significantly compromising its tone signature, it’s hard to imagine a cleaner kick in the pants than the USA-built, op amp-driven RPS Vitamin C.

The Vitamin C manages all that extra volume without sounding clinical or harsh.

Compared to boosts like MXR’s Micro Amp and Dunlop and Xotic’s EP-3-based circuits (none of which make grand claims of “cleanliness”), the Vitamin C really is nearly free of compression or EQ spikes that produce distortion in an amp. It’s also really loud, with 27 dB of extra kick. But the Vitamin C manages all that extra volume without sounding clinical or harsh. The compression it does impart is warm and mellow with little adverse effect on dynamic range. Drive tones are warm, too. But depending on your amp, you may have to take the Vitamin C to painfully loud levels to summon true grit. The Vitamin C sounds best with small to medium tube amps, where its capacity for adding space, width, and warmth lends body to single-coil output, and sparkle and mass to jangly tones.

Test gear: Rickenbacker 370-12, Fender Jazzmaster, Fender Telecaster Deluxe with Curtis Novak Widerange humbuckers, ’68 Fender Bassman, blackface Fender Vibrolux Reverb, Fender Vibro Champ.