With the CB30, Catalinbread attempts to stuff the legendary class-A tone of the Vox AC30 into a small, dark green stompbox.
Catalinbread’s handbuilt stompboxes have garnered the Portland-based company a lot of enthusiastic attention in recent years, and their stompbox catalog now includes a range of fuzz, octave, overdrive, and modulation pedals, as well as those that defy a one-word description. With the release of the CB30, Catalinbread attempts to stuff the legendary class-A tone of the Vox AC30 into a small, dark green stompbox.Beauty Outside and In
The unit projects an immediate sense of quality. Its premium metal knobs—Treble, Bass, Volume, and Gain—operate with utmost smoothness, and the powder-coat finish and silk-screen graphics and lettering are attractive. The components are sturdy and appear to be assembled with care.
Catalinbread effects units are true-bypass and are powered by a 9V battery. The CB30 can also operate via a center-negative power supply rated from 9VDC to 18VDC. Increasing the amount of voltage to the pedal will increase its sonic headroom.Fired Up
I started testing the CB30 by putting it between my Gibson SG and my late-’60s Fender Bassman. With all controls at unity, I was quickly welcomed with a full, throaty overdrive, similar to the native growl of my silverface amp. The mixture of humbuckers, an amp that was originally intended for bass, and the generally bottom-heavy tone of the CB30 sent me on a voyage to tame the low end and dial in that coveted class-A bite.
Rolling back the Bass and turning up the Gain produced a much more immediate, edgy response from the CB30. Backing off the Bass also produced a significant drop in the unit’s overall volume. Tweaking the CB30’s other controls produced a similarly drastic change in output. In my opinion, this ability to craft drastic tonal tweaks makes the CB30 an excellent overdrive box, aside from its delicious tone.
Not only do the individual controls allow significant change in output, they also interact with each other to modify the overall tonal color. For example, if the Gain is low (there’s lots of headroom available), then a tweak of the Treble knob will produce drastic fluctuations in high-end response. However, if the pedal’s Gain and Volume controls are high, and the pedal is near its maximum output, then the Treble control will have a subtle, less biting effect on the overall output. To put it simply, the CB30’s controls do a great job mimicking the complex interactions of controls on a tube amp. Catalinbread also put a significant amount of boost in the CB30, yet the unit cleans up well when you roll back your instrument’s volume or lighten your pick attack.
Next up was my Fender Strat. Using single-coils made it much easier to elicit the immediate high-end pick attack and singing midrange that the AC30 is famous for. A slight increase in the Bass produced a bit more scooped sound that gave the notes a shimmering Liverpool punch. I really enjoyed the way the CB30’s dark coloration complimented the bright spank of my Strat’s single-coils. If you fire up one of these pedals, you’re going to play Beatles tunes—it’s unavoidable.The Verdict
Overall, the CB30 delivers an excellent emulation of the Vox AC30. Also, because of its strong low end, the CB30 could effectively beef up an otherwise thin-sounding amp. If you love the signature class-A bite and dynamics of an AC30, but don’t have several grand lying around for the real thing, I would definitely check out Catalinbread’s excellent CB30 pedal.
you’re looking for a stompbox that closely emulates the AC30’s legendary tone.
overdrive is not enough or class A is not your flavor.
Street $189 - Catalinbread - catalinbread.com
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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.