The custom pedal collaboration with Jack White was sparked because of his use of two Micro Amp pedals since the White Stripes.
Third Man Hardware has launched an official store via the music gear reselling platform Reverb. In tandem with this launch, Third Man Hardware has partnered with renowned pedal manufacturer MXR to create the MXR® x Third Man Hardware Double Down™ pedal, available for pre-order now via the Third Man Hardware Reverb store. Watch a video of Jack White demoing the Double Down pedal below.
"I'm not big on the, 'This is the Jack White distortion pedal—get that Jack White sound'—I don't really want to sell that concept," White told Reverb. "I'd rather try to make something useful that other people can get their sound out of."
And with the Double Down, that's exactly what Third Man Hardware has done. For its latest, Third Man has teamed up with MXR to create the Double Down, a stereo take on MXR's classic Micro Amp preamp pedal. The limited-edition yellow colorway, available exclusively on Reverb, also comes with a 10-pick guitar pick tin.
The inspiration for the Double Down comes from White's own career. He's used the Micro Amp as far back as the White Stripes, and for a decade or more, he's been splitting his guitar's signal to two different amplifiers. By putting two Micro Amp circuits into one Double Down enclosure, he now has the best of all worlds: two independent channels of classic MXR preamp gain.
"It's very simple," White says. "But coming in very useful in the studio and on stage."
In the above video, White demos a few ways he might use one himself: Keeping one channel clean and the other drenched in Bumble Buzz fuzz. Adding a Triplegraph on one side and Flex pedal on the other. What you make of it is up to you.
"We want to make things that appeal to people from all kinds of genres, and a Micro Amp like that has a vast appeal to people for all kinds of applications," White says. About the Double Down, he adds, "You could see people using this for vocals or some kind of stereo effect for instruments."
MXR and Third Man Hardware have teamed up to create the perfect booster for gigging guitar players. The Double Down Pedal combines two separate MXR Micro Amp circuits into a single box so that you can heat up two separate signal chains with just the right amount of classic Micro Amp bump.
The Double Down Pedal’s single input jack splits your signal to two separate outputs, each with its own Gain control for up to +26dB of signal-boosting power. On the left side of the housing is a Phase switch that adds a pronounced stereophonic effect by inverting the phase of the second output signal. On the right side of the pedal is a Buffer switch so that you can choose between true bypass—for the purists—and buffered bypass switching to keep your sound intact when driving two signal chains.
From there, it's basically an open sonic palette. The uses of stereo splitting are nearly endless: You could split your vocals, guitar, or any other instruments you'd like into two separate chains. And with the Micro Amp gain available on two independent channels, you can tweak both in whatever way works best for you.
- PHASE switch selects stereophonic effect (yellow LED indicates on)
- GAIN 1 knob sets output level of OUT 1 signal
- GAIN 2 knob sets output level of OUT 2 signal
- BUFFER switch selects true/buffered bypass (yellow LED indicates buffered bypass)
- FOOTSWITCH toggles effect on/bypass (yellow LED indicates on)
- Input Impedance:
- Buffer OFF > 450 kΩ
- Buffer ON > 700 kΩ
- Output Impedance: < 1 kΩ
- Bypass: Buffered/True Bypass
- Current Draw: 11 mA
- Power Supply: 9 volts DC
Pricing & Availability
Introducing the Third Man Hardware x MXR Double Down PedalMXR® x THIRD MAN HARDWARE DOUBLE DOWN™ PEDALMXR and Third Man Hardware have teamed up to create the perfect booster for gigging guitar players. The Double Do...
A pedal designed to generate the iconic brown panel-style drive.
The BlackBird Deluxe has the same medium gain as the original BlackBird with natural compression and dynamic touch sensitive character. An added Channel switch to choose between Normal and Bright channel like the original ’61 Deluxe amp. Plus a true bias tremolo, using MOSFET and JFET technology that modulates the bias voltage of the output stage of the pedal, the same way that the famous power tube bias tremolo circuit behaves. Bias tremolo is considered by many to be the most liquid and watery of all the tremolo types due to its natural, pulsating character. Its touch-sensitive dynamic response allows to control the tremolo effect with your picking dynamics or your guitar’s volume knob with overdriven sounds, capturing the tone and behavior that makes the Brown Deluxe great.
BlackBird Deluxe flexibility doesn’t end here. A dual mode Bypass switch selects between the Low Gain mode that delivers softer edge of breakup response while the High Gain adds more edge and higher output. Placing the BlackBird Deluxe further down your effects chain reveals its ability to function like a true preamp, an additional passive effects loop also grants versatile rig-integration options and lets users employ each side independently in a pedalboard friendly size format.
BlackBird Deluxe available now at selected dealers worldwide, with street price of 229.00€.
A smart, potent boost that’s much more than meets the eye.
A well-built and truly great-sounding boost/line-driver pedal boasting a handful of clever bonus functions.
Some buyers might find it a little pricey.
Source Audio ZIO
Source Audio nicknamed the new ZIO pedal “the Better Box,” which is a fair summation of what this thing will do for your tone. Purists may rant endlessly about the virtues of plugging straight into an amp. But many legendary players understood that a little extra “hot” between guitar and amp can add up to magic. From Jimmy Page’s Echoplex preamp to Brian May’s Rangemaster to Angus Young’s Schaffer-Vega wireless system, a lot of signature sounds have been shaped with a little extra kick—and often from unexpected sources that are something other than simple boosts. Source Audio’s first all-analog pedal is more than a conventional booster, too. And, to some degree, it celebrates these alternate paths to boosting tone.
Designed in collaboration with Christopher Ventner of SHOE Pedals, ZIO is short for Impedance (“Z” in electro-speak), Input, and Output, which hints at the front-to-back thinking behind the design. The pedal’s input impedance is calculated to optimize the signal from a traditional high-impedance guitar pickup and send it down the line as a sweetened low-impedance version of itself. In doing so, ZIO helps your signal survive long chains of pedals and cable runs. Four selectable modes each offer up to +20 dB of gain and three levels of cable-mimicking capacitance to subtly brighten or darken your tone as desired.
- 0:00 – ZIO pedal off.
- 0:08 – ZIO on, JFET setting.
- 0:44 – Change to Sudio setting.
- 1:04 – Change to E-Plex setting.
- 1:24 – Pedal off again.
Got Some Front
Though its methods for tone shaping might seem slightly esoteric on the surface, ZIO is easy to use. The knobs are a single control for output level and a 4-position rotary switch, dubbed circuit, which selects the preamp voicing. The JFET mode uses Burr-Brown op amps to generate a transparent, low-distortion boost, mimicking the response of a clean tube amp input. Low-cut mode reduces frequencies that can cause mud and rumble, lending more presence. Studio mode successfully replicates the effect of using a Pultec compressor to cut muddy lower-mids and enhance presence. The E-Plex mode, meanwhile, replicates the rich, clear, and just slightly colored sound of a vintage Echoplex preamp.
Source Audio is mindful of the fact that a long cable’s capacitance is an essential part of some players’ overall sonic brew, and that a booster/line-driver in front of the chain can negate the capacitance effect. So ZIO includes a tone toggle that offers three levels of cable-capacitance emulation. Bright represents a low-capacitance load and the brightest tone—as you might hear from a very short, high-quality cable. Med approximates a 15-foot cable and softens highs just a bit. Dark achieves the mellowing effect of longer or coiled cables.
A 2-position mini-toggle to the right is specifically tailored for players that will keep ZIO on at all times and allows the user to configure the footswitch as a mute function in place of the traditional off setting. That means one of the two outputs on the left side of the pedal can feed a tuner running independent of the signal chain or deliver a line-level signal to any amp, console, interface, or input that you want to keep live while muting the main output. Nine-volt DC power feeds the ZIO, with a center-negative input on the crown. It’s all housed in a rugged brushed-aluminum enclosure that’s not quite mini-pedal small but compact at 4" x 2.3" x 2.2" tall (including the knobs).
I fast fell I love with ZIO’s variety of boost tones and easy integration into my pedalboard.
All Lined Up
I fast fell in love with ZIO’s variety of boost tones and easy integration into my pedalboard. It flat-out sounds fantastic. Some players will no doubt consider ZIO pricey for a booster pedal with a few extra bells and whistles. But the enhanced tones will be well worth it for many guitarists, even if they only ever use one circuit mode.
That said, switching between the circuits is half the fun. And at times I fantasized about a rig based on two ZIO pedals: One that I could use as a transparent always-on line driver and tone juicer, and another as a proper boost. Used in the latter application, ZIO made my tweed-style combo bite and break up a lot more readily. It was also secret sauce for a Friedman Mini Dirty Shirley, making its Plexi-style crunch and lead tones extra delectable. While all four preamp-emulating modes proved effective—and I could certainly find many useful applications for each—I really fell for the Pultec-inspired studio mode. It’s sweet, juicy, clear, and articulate, and it simply makes everything more luscious. It can also offer a playful dose of extra drive when you crank the output past 11 o’clock. It sounds fantastic as an amp-input driver in this setting. The tone switch settings are pretty subtle, but that’s the idea: You use it to fine tune the feel and character of the signal once you’ve dialed in the other functions to near-perfection.
Boosts are often one-trick ponies. But Source Audio and Christopher Ventner’s sly and very smart selection of features make ZIO a whale of a tone enhancing machine—and a sneakily versatile one at that. Yes, the ZIO is a simple device in principle, but it does what it does exceptionally well. And while many players will regard the tone switch and switch modes as minor bonus features, I suspect they will prove invaluable to many exacting tone crafters and super-functional in some rigs. For me, at least, they help make ZIO one of the tastiest boost pedals I’ve tried in quite some time.