Are you considering purchasing a boost pedal? Or maybe you already have one but you are looking for something better? One way or another, you are in the right place, my friend. We all know how great a boost pedal is (if not, you will find out in a bit). It is basically a golden ticket into the world of perfect performance and defined notes. However, choosing the proper device is a bit of a headache. There is at least one boost pedal in every single price range, which makes this process even more complicated. Luckily, I am here to help. This article will provide you with the list of the best booster pedals on the market, break down their functions and capabilities and give you some tips on their utilization. If you want to grasp this device to its core, just keep on reading!
Table of Contents
- Top 10 Best Boost Pedals
- Xotic RC Booster-V2 Pedal
- TC Electronic Spark Booster Pedal
- Wampler Pedals Decibel Plus V2 Boost & Buffer Effects Pedal
- Catalinbread Naga Viper Modern Treble Booster Pedal
- Fulltone Fulldrive 2 MOSFET Overdrive Boost
- J Rockett Audio Designs Archer Tour Series Overdrive & Boost
- Jim Dunlop MC401 MXR Boost/Line Driver
- Xotic EP Booster Mini EQ Effect Pedal
- TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster Guitar Pedal
- Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 Linear Power Booster Preamp Pedal
- What is a booster pedal?
Top 10 Best Boost Pedals
What is a booster pedal?
Have you ever dreamt of a magical device that would add a touch of something to your sound? A unit that would help your signal out and make sure it would never get lost? Well, such device exists and it is called a booster pedal. It does exactly what I just pointed out, but I will try to explain it a bit better now. So, this unit is designed to enhance the volume of your sound and add some gain to it. If you have played your guitar for a while now, you know how hard it is sometimes to make it audible in certain situations. A booster pedal will make your instrument louder without interfering with its sonic properties or depriving it of integrity. Typically, such kind of devices do not distort your sound and do their best to maintain its clarity. This also means that they are (or at least must be) transparent, do not add any color to your signal or equalize it. However, they do cause your amp to overdrive at higher gain, which is mostly what guitarists are going for. Boost pedals are quite versatile (regardless of their simplicity) and can be utilized in many diverse ways (I will get to that later).
One important thing to note here is that boost pedals are not the same as volume pedals. These two are as different as chalk and cheese. As I have already mentioned, a boost pedal adds gain to your sound and increases the capabilities of your instrument in terms of volume (if it could produce a mediocre sound, with boost pedal it will make your ears bleed). On the contrary, a volume pedal adjusts the level of the overall output and that’s it. It is like having a guitar volume knob in the form of a stompbox. You can check out a dedicated article if you want more information about volume pedals.
Versatility of booster pedals
As promised, now we are going to dive into the different ways of utilization and the reasons why you should have a boost pedal on your pedalboard. I might start to sound like a broken record, because most of what I am going to talk about is based on the fundamental properties of this device. Anyways, the subject I am about to discuss is crucially important and will help you figure out what to do with your boost pedals.
Let’s paint a little picture here. Imagine that you are attending an amazing concert. The performance is going stunningly and you are the happiest person on the planet. Then comes the turn of the lead guitarist, who has to play a solo. You know what you have ahead of you and you are utterly excited. He starts playing, but all you can hear is a slight noise. You can see that he is trying, but the notes are not loud enough to be audible for such a huge audience. Can you feel that pain and disappointment? That is my friend a sort of disaster that could happen to any professional and it has nothing to do with their skills. In order to avoid such kind of unfortunate turn of events, many guitarists use boost pedals during their performance. Activating this bad boy during a solo will take your game to a whole new level, make your music more defined and underline all of its great qualities. I cannot think of a way in which a boost pedal would be extra and actually mess things up. That is why I cannot think of a reason why you should not have this unit on your pedalboard.
Another cause for splurging on boost pedals could be your love for overdrive. The latter was designed based on boost pedals, which explains a lot. Due to this reason, boost pedals can be employed for producing a natural overdrive. Why not use an overdrive pedal? – you might ask. Well, while it can distort your sound in a unique way and create a real masterpiece, there is something special about overdriven tube amp that mesmerizes everyone in music industry. This traditional way of distorting the signal did really change the history, which is why it is still desirable for a lot of guitarists. The easiest way to achieve this effect is to pump up your boost pedal and set it to its maximum settings and let your tube amp do its business. This will create those beautiful warm tones that we are so keen on. Not to mention the definition and character such utilization gives to your signal. This way all your highs and lows will be heard perfectly in the mix and your masterpiece will have the touch of wonderful vintage music.
Speaking of distortion, if you do not own a tube amp or just do not care for that sound (or subtle effects), you could still benefit from using a boost pedal with this effect. Just plug it in in front of your distortion or overdrive and you will receive a powerful signal. This pedal will feed a lot more gain into these effects pedals, meaning that the ultimate result will be a thicker, way more dimensional sound. It will also add extra girth to it, which can be exactly what your music was lacking. One way or another, boost pedals and distortion are best friends and get on with each other like a house on fire.
Last but not least, a booster pedal can be a real lifesaver. You know how effects are, as soon as you get one, you want more. They are like a drug that never lets you go. You become totally obsessed with them and end up with an overcrowded setup. You throw in all your favorites and ultimately have a signal chain that has more cables than you would normally need. We are all guilty of this, meaning that we all know what a pain in the neck this can be. Longer cables, differently constructed pedals and all that jazz interferes with your signal a great deal. There is a huge risk of losing the clarity and definition of your sound and winding up with a piece of crap. The solution to this problem is of course a boost pedal. It makes sure that even the slightest notes are maintained and sustains all the qualities of your signal. It will truly save your life especially if you are using daisy chains. To avoid additional fuss and headache, simply integrate boost pedals into your chain and you will receive wonderful results.
Different types of boost pedals
As you already know, modern world always finds the ways to create more and more types of the same product. A boost pedal is not an exception to this rule. Even though it is one of the most straight-forward units out there, it still has its versatility. There are different sorts of boost pedals that will work with different things. Keep on reading to fully understand what is what.
Let’s start with the beloved clean boost. If you have been in music for a hot minute, you have probably heard of this one quite a few times. To put it simply, a clean boost enhances the volume of your instrument without interfering with its sonic integrity. It does not affect your signal or equalize it. It just makes it louder. This lack of tone coloring is the prime reason why boost pedals are so appreciated nowadays.
Now, we shall move on to treble, midrange and bass booster pedals. Each of them accentuates the given range of frequencies. This means that treble booster will add a substantial gain to your highs, while leaving the rest untouched, mid range booster will steep your sound with depth and will be particularly useful for louder parts of your sound, while bass boosters will, obviously, emphasize and improve bass response. These types of boosts are not as transparent as clean ones, since they add their own character to your signal. If you play solos frequently, you might want to use a narrower approach to your boost pedal.
And finally, the most interesting of all, here come the hybrids. Not only do we have various boosters on the market, but we also have two-in-one deals. More often you will come across different combinations such as overdrive pedals with boost, or boost pedals with EQ, or even fuzz/distortion pedals with boost. This is a great option if you do not want to invest in a new pedal. The hybrids will give you your desired effect while adding some boost to your sound. Could things get even better? I do not think so!
When I had just started getting into music and performing, my favorite pedals were distortion and overdrive. I would employ them one after another or sometimes even simultaneously (crazy times, huh). Back then all I cared about was getting as much girth as I could. I did not care about the quality of the performance that much. When I grew older and spent more and more time playing my guitar, I started experimenting with different pedals. However, the most important growth that I acquired took place when I discovered a boost pedal. It completely transformed the way I perceived my performance and made me think about the little details. This bad boy has not left my pedalboard since then. During all these years I spent a lot of time on researching with the mission of finding the best booster pedal out there. Let’s be honest, it was not an easy task, but I can proudly say that I succeeded. I tried to make that process easier for you by providing all the information you will need for choosing the best booster pedal. All you have left to do is think carefully about everything I mentioned, grasp your needs perfectly and purchase your chosen one. I wish you the best experience and an ethereal performance. Good luck!