Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Ranger and the Boost

Having read so much about the British amps and the way guitarists circumvented their darker sound with a Treble Booster I thought it would be interesting to follow this path. Apparently the Treble Booster schematics appear a lot as fuzz schematics and it's no surprise as the main point of this simple circuit is too boost the signal going into the tube amps so that the amp can be saturated easier and get the warm fuzzy tone without having to crank the GAIN to 11. But not only that it tilts the spectrum so that you get higher gain with increasing frequency, it also adds some harmonics to the sound which really gives the sound a lot of character. At first I looked at the original Germanium versions of Dallas rangemaster and the Hornby Skewes. It seems like these little gadgets really did magic for a lot of legendary rock guitarists. Brian May used one driving a wall of VOX AC30 amps. Ritchie Blackmore, Tony Iommi, Martin Barre, Gilmour in his early days and Clapton in his Gibson days, all (so I've heard) used this booster as part of their signature sound using British amps. So what was I waiting for? the secret weapon of the late  60s sound? But I wanted a little more. Turns out that there are boosters which are used to drive amps and also fuzz pedals to even dirtier fuzz and grit but are not treble boosters. These are just plain old full boosters affecting the entire spectrum range. Now What? two pedals?

This is where I found again that the amazing Runoffgroove team had it all. The "Omega". Silicon and negative ground are a comfortable pair and the ability to tweak the RANGE from Treble to Full boost with a separate BOOST knob was all I needed.

Maaan....this pedal has such an impact it is remarkable. It's fantastic to use it before any pedal I use.
Before the English Channel (AC30 clone) it gives you great vintage bluesy sound. Before a Germanium Fuzz Face it makes the Fuzz much more focused and bright. Before any overdrive I tried it really opened up the sound and just sounds better. I kept the OMEGA symbol but changed the name to RANGER. A definite must on my fuzz quest list although not a classic fuzz. But is can sure make a lot of amps get fuzzed out.You can get the schematic here

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