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Fender Blackface Tube Preamp
Bassists! The Blackbird also works superbly with electric bass—its input stage has an excellent low-end response and can effortlessly handle the higher output from bass guitar.
Balanced Direct Out ¼” TRS (stereo) jack socket allows connection of the Blackbird to the mixing desk, computer sound card or external audio capture device. This output is balanced and transformer isolated, eliminating earth loops and reducing hum to an absolute minimum. The Triad Magnetics audio transformer also imparts its own character, further enhancing and sweetening the tone. This output is driven by a discrete class AB amplifier circuit.
Classic/Creamy toggle switch selects between classic rock/blues drive tones (switch ‘up’) and more modern creamy distortion (switch ‘down’) on the hot rodded drive channel. In ‘Classic’ mode the Blackbird clips the signal asymmetrically producing strong even order harmonics. This creates a robust and musical sounding overdrive that seriously thickens and enriches the tone of low output single coil pickups and is amazing with Humbuckers for creating authentic 70s rock distortion. In this mode it is easy to transition from mellow breakup into a singing drive by simply digging in or easing off with the pick. ‘Creamy’ mode produces more symmetrical clipping distortion, which is rich in both even and odd order harmonics for a saturated, sustaining distortion. In this mode the Blackbird can effortlessly climb the gain curve to produce a huge spectrum of powerful heavy rock sounds. The response always remains focused and tight for excellent string-tostring definition and ensures each pickup retains its own character, no matter how much gain you pile on.
Gain knob adjusts signal level and the amount of clipping across four tube stages on the drive channel. It has a wide sweep for fine control over lower gain settings. With the control turned down below 12 o’clock you’ll discover some beautiful warm and musical bluesy tones. Turning the knob clockwise causes clipping in more stages so that the overdrive increases until at the Blackbird is producing a balanced and robust distortion. As the Gain is further wound-up the pedal will begin to produce progressively more saturated singing lead tones and effortless pinch harmonics. Classic Tone Stack Each channel has its own dedicated Bass, Middle and Treble tone controls. These tone controls are based on the passive tone stacks found on the ‘Blackface’ Fender Twin Reverb Amp. These tone controls are interactive and allow for a great deal of tone shaping flexibility. Bypass Footswitch enables selection between affected and non-affected (dry) signals. Silent true bypass switching ensures that ‘pops’ or ‘thumps’ are kept to a minimum when engaging the effect and there is absolutely no loss of tone from your guitar to your amp when the effect is disengaged. Channel Select Footswitch enables selection of the clean or overdrive channel. Balanced Direct Out ¼” TRS (stereo) jack socket allows connection of the Blackbird to the mixing desk, computer sound card or external audio capture device. This output is balanced and transformer isolated, eliminating earth loops and reducing hum to an absolute minimum. The Triad Magnetics audio transformer also imparts its own character, further enhancing and sweetening the tone. This output is driven by a discrete class AB amplifier circuit – essentially a miniaturized power amp output stage. There’s no substitute for the sound of a real tube amp moving some air, however the direct output is useful for recording in venues with poor room acoustics or excessive background noise. Reverb, eq or cabinet impulse responses can be added post recording to obtain a very realistic approximation of a miked guitar amp in an ideal acoustic space.
External Select ¼” TRS (stereo) jack socket. This enables an external footswitch (such as the Fender Twin Reverb Amp tremolo/reverb dual latching footswitch) to be utilized for remote switching of clean/overdrive channel and ‘Classic’/’Creamy’ modes.
Pre-emphasis toggle switch introduces additional high frequency pre-emphasis on the Blackbird’s ‘Gain’ channel. This not only adds a little top-end sparkle to the overdriven tone but also alters the clipping characteristic for a finer-grained distortion and more energized drive sound, a.k.a. ‘Crunch’!
Internal Bias Trim-pot allows bias adjustment of the first tube amplifier section in the ‘Gain’ channel. Unscrewing the six screws on the base panel of the pedal accesses the trim-pot. Rotating the trim-pot clockwise increases the bias voltage, ‘hot’ biasing the tube stage and rotating anti-clockwise ‘cold’ biases the tube. This affects the pre-amp gain, sensitivity and the tonal response.nd transformer isolated, eliminating earth loops and reducing hum to an absolute minimum. The Triad Magnetics audio transformer also imparts its own character, further enhancing and sweetening the tone. This output is driven by a discrete class AB amplifier circuit
This preamp is incredible! The best way to get a tube guitar sound when recording (short of micing my amp) but this is quiter and more customizable. Also, shipping was fast and the item arrived in perfect condition!
I was in a bit of an obsessive overdrive search for a minute and through countless overdrive boutique pedals I've tried, this one always seems to come out on top. It has two channels and the light break-up (blue) channel is pretty much perfect to me. It sounds like a lot like Black Crowes rhythm guitar (Amorica). Crunchy and warm. It's great. A little pricey, but definitely worth it in my opinion.
This unit does not sound or feel like any guitar pedal I've ever used. It has a liveliness and sense of space that I've not experienced other than playing through a good tube amp. I use it with the signal split; one side goes direct to my daw, the other goes into channel 2 of a Mesa Lone Star that's just starting to break up. The signal through the amp sounds better, of course, but the direct signal is excellent also. The main thing is that it makes the Mesa sound better than it ever has.
Wanting to go DI I found this and couldn't be happier. Nice breakup and the tone shaping is fantastic. Haven't had to replace any of the tubes yet but am considering experimenting with it. All you need is a good cab sim to go with it.