Tronographic's preamp sounds beautiful and ferocious.
With all the candy-colored fuzzes, flangers, and phasers loose in the guitar universe, adding something as pedestrian-sounding as a preamp to your stompbox array might seem a little unsexy. But consider, if you will, a session in the recording studio of your dreams. Apart from, perhaps, that old U47 mic and the vintage tube compressor over there in the rack, chances are the preamp in your chain is likeliest to elevate your sound to godlike heights. Despite their less-than-thrilling handle, preamps can be magical things.
The Tronographic Boxidizer isn’t a studio-style preamp. Tronographic says it replicates “1970s high-gain solid-state amp tone.” Yet like a nice studio preamp, the pedal lets you shape, fine-tune, fatten, flatter, and otherwise massage your guitar signal. Whether you’re looking for heftier, more precisely EQed clean tones or tighter saturation in distorted ones, the Boxidizer is a forgiving, tailorable, and easy-to-use way to add something extra to your output.
One Rock of a Box
I’m pretty sure the Boxidizer is the heaviest stompbox I’ve lifted this year—remarkable, given that it measures only 4 1/2" x 3 1/2". The enclosure itself is hefty—bulletproof even. But from the smooth knob action to the chassis-mounted I/O jacks, it’s clear the Boxidizer wasn’t built to be a wallflower. With a 3-band EQ section, input-gain control, master volume, and an independent boost control, there’s a lot going on here, yet the pedal’s tidy interior design still leaves room for a 9V battery.
The control layout is clean and logical, with treble, bass, and mid controls situated between master volume and input gain knobs. A smaller boost-level knob sits below the input gain knob at a safe distance from the boost footswitch. Another bonus is the balanced D.I. out, which lets you use the Boxidizer as a preamp directly feeding a P.A., computer audio interface, or power amp.
Clean to Mean
While the Boxidizer isn't based on a Sunn amp design (it's derived from the company's earlier Rusty Box bass pre-amp) there's a distinct “Sunn-ness,” to the way it feels and sounds, and some players will buy this pedal to get the uniquely heavy (some would say polarizing) distortion of those amps—a mainstay of stoner-rock tone. But the Boxidizer is surprisingly effective in clean, quiet settings. The master volume control has much headroom, and if you dial back the input gain almost entirely, the Boxidizer becomes a responsive and touch-sensitive clean boost. Better still, the excellent passive EQ controls have great range, which translates to even more headroom as you dial out the precise frequencies driving unwanted clipping. I used the Boxidizer extensively with a very toppy EL84-powered amp, and the pedal impressively tamed highs while adding a breadth of midrange air. (I don’t know why Tronographic doesn’t tout this side of the Boxidizer’s personality—but then, it’s unlikely that distortion devotees care much about solid-state's distortion-fighting qualities.)
When it comes to delivering the big tones most associated with '70s solid state amps, the Boxidizer steps up with muscular authority. The master volume headroom that works so well as a clean boost can drive the front end of an amp (in my case, a most un-solid state silverface Bassman) into blisteringly hot and reactive zones where pick attack becomes immediate and pronounced. Depending on your mood, your mission, and the state of your chops, the pedal cane make you feel naked and vulnerable—or like you’re firing lightning with every flick of your fingers. And if you do feel too exposed, the EQ is your friend. Rolling back highs, bumping lows, and dialing in a little midrange glow can lend a singing quality to those face-slapping dynamics.
It’s fun dialing in input gain from this relatively clean but scalding baseline. In high-gain applications, the Boxidizer mingles nicely with tube power. The distortion may sound unusual to players accustomed to the warm contours of a Marshall plexi or a blackface Fender with the volume wide open—there’s almost always a trace of hi-fi hard clipping no matter where you set the EQ. (Though putting a warm set of humbuckers and a Big Muff in the mix can wooly up tones without sacrificing the stoner-rock, wrecking-ball spirit.)
The boost function (which only works when the main effect is on) only adds to the mayhem. At high-gain settings the op amp-driven circuit often adds a touch of crackling, compressed, collapsing-upon-itself distortion. At less extreme levels, it can add sustain and presence to a lead line. The clean boost also works well as a virtual lead channel. This extra utility means some players may not need much in their line beside the Boxidizer.
Though Tronographic doesn’t emphasize the Boxidizer’s extreme versatility (from soft and pretty to total brutality), the pedal is remarkable for that breadth of capabilities. While the brash, leaden qualities associated with solid state amps aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, any player who likes tactile immediacy, sharp pick attack, and thick, low-mid-rich gain will love what the Boxidizer brings to even the simplest rig.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.