Fatter, punchier bass tone via a clean boost with two gain stages and precise 2-band EQ. The PG Xotic Bass RC Booster V2 review.
Recorded direct to an Mbox and running with Logic X.
Clip 1: Fingerstyle with Sadowsky Vintage 5.
Disengaged until :17 when pedal is turned on with controls set flat.
Clip 2: Played with Yamaha BB2000.
Bass RC Booster with a bass boost at 2 o'clock placed in-line after distortion pedal.
0:00 - Clean
0:14 - With distortion only
0:26 - RC Booster engaged
Clip 3: Slap with Sadowsky Vintage 5.
Bass RC Booster’s bass and treble boosted to 2 o’clock.
0:00 - Bass RC Booster not engaged
0:12 - Bass RC Booster engaged
Highly usable EQ. Quiet operation. Dual gain stages.
Gain 2 control is somewhat difficult to get at/adjust.
Xotic Bass RC Booster V2
Ease of Use:
Located just a 10-minute drive from where I’m writing this review, in the San Fernando Valley, California, Xotic has been in business for more than two decades. And the company introduced their first RC Booster pedal just a few short years after opening shop. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say the RC Booster is a staple among some guitarists, to such a degree that many have more than one on their pedalboards.
One of the functions our guitar-playing brethren use the pedal for, at the end of the chain, is to drive the input gain of their amps harder. This isn’t something I’ve necessarily felt I needed as a bassist, so what other functions could a pedal known for its versatility offer the low-end community? I was looking for the answer to this when I unboxed the new and improved version of the Bass RC Booster.
Classic Concept … New Face
The Bass RC Booster V2 feels robust and is fairly lightweight, at a touch more than a half-pound. The controls are an attractive vintage-cream-white color and have enough resistance to keep your settings safe from light, accidental touch. The new version of the pedal has two footswitches instead of its predecessor’s one. The right footswitch engages the pedal itself (gain stage number one), while the left footswitch engages both gain stages simultaneously.
The four main controls consist of gain 1 and volume on the left, and treble and bass on the right. The control for gain 2, which is much smaller and recessed, is located in the center of the quartet of white knobs. The benefit of this is that your set-it-and-forget-it position for the second boost is in a very safe place, out of the way of clumsy musician’s feet. That said, I had to use needle-nose pliers to adjust it so I wouldn’t unintentionally touch the settings of the neighboring main controls with my fingers.
Compared to the previous version of the pedal, the V2 is visually superior. And I extend props to the folks at Xotic for cramming a lot of functionality into a fairly small footprint. Depending on how much headroom a player wants, the Bass RC Booster can operate from 9V to 18V.
A Touch of Personality
For starters, I wanted to hear the pedal with no bump in volume or equalization. This is important for players wanting to use the RC mainly as a solo boost while retaining the exact characteristics of their original tone. Listening closely using headphones, it was clear that the Xotic indeed has a very subtle sonic thumbprint. I was using my 20-year old Sadowsky in passive mode, and the RC Booster dug out a small amount of midrange and helped my bass lose a little honk, which I liked. Without boosting any treble, the Xotic still adds a little something to the top end of the tone, which I would describe as a small amount of usable presence. So, simply turning the pedal on will undoubtedly place the bass guitar in a slightly more forward position in many mixes.
I’ve noticed that my favorite distortion pedal, like many distortion pedals for bass, loses a little low-end when operating in higher gain settings. Naturally, I wanted to see how the RC Booster would function as a high-end, studio-level EQ, which it did with flying colors. With the pedal placed immediately after the distortion in my signal chain and the RC Booster’s bass control boosted at 2 o’clock, it put fat, believable low-end back into my tone. This feature alone makes the pedal highly usable and valuable.
Royal Crown EQ
Continuing with the Sadowsky, I was curious to see how the RC Booster would compare to the instrument’s onboard preamp when using almost identical settings. Again, the Xotic proved exceptionally musical when I dialed in both bass and treble to the 2 o’clock mark. The pedal’s top end made the four-month-old strings sound fresh and clear without adding the harshness that many active onboard bass preamps have. On the other side of the spectrum, the low-end boost made my sound bigger, but without making it muddier. It took me less than 10 seconds to dial in a to-die-for slap tone with the pedal’s simple but effective EQ.
When you consider its small footprint, studio-quality EQ, and two separate gain stages, the simple yet effective Xotic Bass RC Booster is a pedal that many bassists, including myself, might envision placing in the must-have category. The bass version of this popular pedal is indeed a subtle multi-purpose tool and works like a piece of clay to be molded into whatever a bassist needs.
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Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
LegendaryTones, LLC today announced production availability of its new Mr. Scary Mod, a 100% pure tube module designed to instantly and easily expand the capabilities of many classic amplifiers with additional gain and tone shaping. Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
Originally released as the Lynch Mod in February 2021, the updated Mr. Scary Mod features the same core circuit as the Lynch Mod but is now equipped with a revised tube mix combo per George’s preference as well as a facelift in a newly redesigned electro-galvanized steel enclosure. As with the Lynch Mod, each run will be limited and the first run in Pumpkin Orange with Black hardware is limited to just 150 pieces worldwide.
The Mr. Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage on top of the cathode follower position, keeping note definition and articulation while further increasing sustain. Each Mr. Scary mod is meticulously built by hand in the USA, one at a time, and tuned using high-grade components. Equipped with a single ECC81 (12AT7) in the first position and ECC83 (12AX7) in the second, the Mr. Scary Mod can clean up beautifully when rolling down your guitar’s volume, and still adds scorching gain when you roll it back up. This is a gain stage that’s been tuned and approved by the ears of the maestro George Lynch himself.
“The Mr. Scary Mod excels with dynamics and is incredibly touch-responsive, allowing me to shift from playing clear, lightly compressed cleans to full-out aggressive sustain and distortion –and control it all simply by varying my guitar’s volume control and picking,” said GeorgeLynch. “In many ways, it’s an old-school approach, but it’s also so much more natural and expressive in addition to being musically fulfilling when you can play both the guitar and amp dynamically together this way.”
The Mr. Scary Mod installs in minutes, is safe and effective to use, and requires no special tools or re-biasing of the amplifier. Simply insert the module into the cathode follower preamp position of compatible amplifiers (includes Marshall 2203/2204/1959/1987 circuits) and
immediately get the benefit of enjoying a hot-rodded amp that delivers all the pure harmonic character that comes with an added pure tube gain stage. The handmade in the USA Mr. Scary Mod is now available to order for $319.
For more information, please visit legendarytones.com.
October Audio has miniaturized their NVMBR Gain pedal to create two mini versions of this beautifully organic-sounding circuit – including an always-on gain device.
The NVMBR Gain is a nonlinear amp that transitions gracefully from clean boost to overdriven tones. Volume increases from just over unity to about 10db before soft-clipping drive appears for another 5db of boost. Its extraordinary ease of use is matched by outstanding versatility: you can use it as a clean boost, push a stubborn amp into overdrive or create a just-breaking-up sound at any amp volume.
October Audio’s new family of mini NVMBR Gain pedals includes a switchable version that allows you to bypass the effect: one option features brand logo pedal graphics, while the other sports a fun “Witch Finger” graphic with a Davies knob as the“fingernail”.
The second version in the new lineup is an always-on device featuring the Witch Finger graphic and Davies knob, with the same NVMBR Gain circuit that lies at the core of the switchable version.
- Knob controls gain and clipping simultaneously
- Stunning silver hammertone finish
- Switchable versions are true-bypass, available with classic or witch finger graphics
- Authentic Davies knobs, including the “fingernail”
- 9V center negative power supply required
- Dimensions: 3.63 x 1.50 x 1.88 in
Witch Finger (always on NVMBR Gain) demo
All October Audio pedals are assembled in Richmond, VA, and available for purchase directly through the online shop. Street price is $109 for NVMBR Gain footswitch versions and $89 for the always-on device.
For more information, please visit octoberaudio.com.