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.
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).
Fantastic array of tones for guitar, baritone, or bass—from warm and gushy to sparkling to bristling, singing high gain.
Knobs easily bumped to unintended positions when adjusting crowded control panel.
Adventure Audio Glacial Zenith II
Ease of Use:
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.
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