Quick Hit: Adventure Audio Glacial Zenith II Review

An expertly tuned 3-band EQ and pre- and post-drive switching options make this dirt-plus-boost box a potent board buddy.

Recorded using an Eastwood Sidejack Baritone DLX with Curtis Novak Jazzmaster Widerange pickups going into a Jaguar HC50 miked with a Royer R-121 feeding an Apogee Duet going into GarageBand with no EQ-ing, compression, or effects.
Clip 1: Bridge pickup with effect bypassed first, then with both drive and boost circuits engaged and the following Glacial Zenith settings: EQ toggle set to pre-drive, high at max, mid at 3 o’clock, low at 1 o’clock, boost at max (and set to pre-drive), and volume and drive at max, with the shape toggle set to the right (for less clipping and a more crystalline sound).
Clip 2: Neck pickup with Glacial Zenith bypassed first (but MXR Reverb on), then with Glacial Zenith drive engaged and EQ toggle set to pre-drive, high at 9 o’clock, mid at noon, low at 1:30, volume at max, drive at minimum, and shape toggle set to the left (for a more clipped sound), then with boost also engaged at max and set to pre-drive.
Clip 3: Bridge and neck pickups with Glacial Zenith bypassed first (but MXR Reverb on), then with both drive and boost circuits engaged and the following Glacial Zenith settings: EQ toggle set to post-drive, high at 10 o’clock, mid at minimum, low at 1 o’clock, boost at 1 o’clock (and set to post-drive), volume at max, and drive at 10 o’clock, with the shape toggle set to the left (for a more clipped sound).
 

Ratings

Pros:
Fantastic array of tones for guitar, baritone, or bass—from warm and gushy to sparkling to bristling, singing high gain.

Cons:
Knobs easily bumped to unintended positions when adjusting crowded control panel.

Street:
$189

Adventure Audio Glacial Zenith II
adventurepedals.com


Tones:


Ease of Use:


Build/Design:


Value:
 

It’s somewhat surprising that, in 2019, so many dirt boxes still shortchange your ability to tweak the guitar’s primary frequency range—the mids—often either forcing dependence on a single tone control, or splitting mid precision between treble and bass knobs. Luckily, Adventure Audio’s Glacial Zenith II is part of a slowly growing set serving up a healthy range of segmented control over all three bands—not to mention handy routing options for placing the EQ and/or the independently footswitchable boost circuit before or after the drive section. A shape toggle also lets you voice the dirt side to be crisply articulate, or smoother, with a somewhat amp-like sag when you dig in.

The various switching options allowed a single guitar to make a plethora of stops between Sonic Youth-style indie jangle and seething metal sounds.

Even better, the GZII’s EQ knobs are wonderfully voiced: There’s a very versatile aural range to play in, yet even maxed treble and mid settings don’t sound harsh. (Pushing bass past 3 or 4 o’clock got a little tubby with my baritone 6-string’s dual guitar-and-bass-amp setup, but a more thumping bass amp would likely love the extra subs.) Most impressively, the various switching options allowed a single guitar (my 28"-scale, B-tuned Squier) to make a plethora of stops between Sonic Youth-style indie jangle and seething metal sounds that still allowed the unique character of the Wide Range-style pickups to shine through.

Test gear: Eastwood Sidejack Baritone DLX and baritone Squier/Warmoth “Jazzblaster” (both with Curtis Novak Jazzmaster Widerange pickups), MXR Reverb, Jaguar HC50 and Fender Rumble 200 amps


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