Forget Klon clones—this handbuilt stomp serves up an intoxicating variety of drive and dirt with uncommon EQ flexibility.
Don’t let the flashy graphics distract you—the TWA Hot Saké has tons of tone-shaping power for its size and price. While the drive and level knobs offer wide range (up to a whopping 36 dB of boost), the key ingredients are its audiophile-grade TL072 JFET op amp and four EQ-tweaking controls—mini pots for tone and mids, an LB (low-boost) toggle, and an internal slider (accessed via a port to the left of the footswitch) that selects between 60 Hz or 100 Hz filters for the low boost.
This control complement avails tones ranging from luxuriantly transparent boosts that rival some of the best Klon clones (thanks to the fantastically tunable EQ) to woofy grind when you max the drive and rein-in the mids and tone. Flick on the low boost, and Saké’s two filters yield everything from fat low-gain settings to doomy sludge with more dirt in the mix. We’re not talking parametric-level EQ precision and death-metal saturation here—and the available mid boost may not be enough for some Tube Screamer acolytes. Even so, Hot Saké offers exceptional flexibility for a small, straightforward, reasonably priced stomp.
Test Gear: Squier ’50s Classic Vibe Tele with Nordstrand NVT A3 pickups, 2016 Gibson Les Paul Traditional, Goodsell Valpreaux 21 combo and 1x12 with Weber Blue Dog and Silver Bell speakersClip 1 — Tele bridge - Drive - 8 o'clock, Level - 9 o'clock, Tone - Max, MIds - Noon, Low Boost - 60 Hz
Clip 2 — Tele bridge - Drive - Max, Level - 9 o'clock, Tone - Max, MIds - Max, Low Boost - 100 Hz
Clip 3 — Tele neck - Drive - Noon, Level - Noon, Tone - 11 o'clock, Mids - Noon, Low Boost - Off
Clip 4 — Tele neck & bridge - Drive - Noon, Level - 9 o'clock, Tone - Max, Mids - Min, Low Boost - Off
Wonderful clarity and definition at any drive level. Fantastic EQ flexibility.
Filter-slider port is a pain to access—and a possible magnet for dirt, dust, or drink. Tone and mids settings difficult to discern.
TWA Hot Saké
Ease of Use: