Who uses a treble booster?

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by purpleplexi, Sep 9, 2021.

  1. trax1139

    trax1139 Well-Known Member

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    Agreed...that’s what I say!
    It’s the trebly, high gain fizzy crap that gets the band in hot water with the club owners and everybody screaming it’s too loud!
    You already have the drummer banging cymbals (treble) and kick & bass for low end...guitar needs to be mid heavy. Unless you’re in the bedroom...then scoop it out and make it sound like you’re playing in a coliseum.
     
  2. Old Punker

    Old Punker Well-Known Member

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    Me too. I've got plenty of treble on my amps as is. :scratch:
     
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  3. Scallywag77

    Scallywag77 Active Member

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    A treble booster is really misnamed. It’s a mid booster. I had a silicon based one for awhile and it did pretty much what an SD1 does. Just a little more. Currently looking at getting a Fulltone Ranger to have that sound again.
    Try one out you might like it
     
  4. tallcoolone

    tallcoolone Well-Known Member

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    Yup, exactly. I have a Naga Viper which is my only experience with a "Treble Booster" but IMO it is lacking treble compared to my fav OD boxes lol. @WellBurnTheSky hit the nail on the head as to the tonal characteristics--very Blackmore-ey
     
  5. Scallywag77

    Scallywag77 Active Member

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    Also you can nail Judas Priest and Sabbath tones as well. They’re just a different flavor of overdrive. I think most are usually germanium based.
     
  6. Biff Maloy

    Biff Maloy Well-Known Member

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    Naga is more a modern take on it. It does the tb thing but it's extra controls give more ways to blend it. It's noisier than my Dazatronyx. It's one knob and it sounds best wide open. It has a 3 way voicing switch.

    I played a long time hearing about them before i ever tried one. I had a Class 5. That amp tended to be on the muddy side, the reason for the tb circuit in the first place so i bought the Daz. Instant cure for it and the amp had great harmonics and a rich distortion.

    It's not for everything. But an older voiced amp it can bring it to life. In my case with the SV, i prefer it like i mentioned above for a high gain sound from it. Old Brit metal is an easy cop.
     
  7. mickeydg5

    mickeydg5 Well-Known Member

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    I use an EQ that boost treble. I like that better.
     
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  8. nickfox

    nickfox Well-Known Member

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    The biggest problem with treble boosters, as @Biff Maloy has said a couple of times now, is that it is poorly named.

    Just read through this thread at how many people have said that the treble booster is the same as a treble EQ control on their amp or pedal.

    So what does a treble booster do?

    From a paper titled "Geo Fex Austin Treble Booster" written by R.G. Keen:

    "It provides gain of up to 24db at frequencies above about one to two kHz. It has about unity gain at the lowest normal guitar notes, and the gain about doubles with each octave.

    As a result of the use of germanium devices and careful biasing, there is a subtle distortion added, as well as a changeover to harder distortion on loud notes, and the built-in ability to overdrive a tube amp input for some more serious distortion. These effects get more prominent as frequency goes up, so there is a very characteristic note added by the Dallas Rangemaster."

    As the frequency increases, more gain is applied to the circuit. So the treble booster is a type of selective distortion pedal which applies gain (and distortion) to the treble part of a signal and leaves the bass part alone. It has a very distinctive sound that is different from all other types of distortion pedals.

    One important thing to note about treble boosters. They work best into an amp that is turned up LOUD. A good place to start is with an amp that is just breaking up.

    The AnalogMan Beano Boost is pretty much the gold standard for treble boosters today (and is my personal favorite). Most of the high end treble boosters you can find are built with NOS germanium transistors like OC44, OC71 and NKT275.

    You cannot really tell the difference between high end treble boosters when it's been mixed into a song.

    You can definitely tell that it's a treble booster but not what brand. This applies to germanium treble boosters. Silicon treble boosters have a very solid reputation for being NOISY (meaning lots of hiss). To me, germanium has a warmer, more pleasing sound while silicon is maybe more biting and in your face.

    If you want to learn more about treble boosters, you can read R.G. Keen's original article in this pdf:

    http://www.geofex.com/article_folders/rangemaster/atboost.pdf
     
  9. WellBurnTheSky

    WellBurnTheSky Well-Known Member

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    That's because germanium transistors have a top end rolloff, while Si transistors are more "transparent" (yay buzzword !)...which goes both ways: more bite, but more hiss.
     
  10. purpleplexi

    purpleplexi Well-Known Member

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    That's what I'm after. Guess I need to try a few. I've also been thinking about a Komet Mirasol without realising it was actually a sort of treble booster.
    Do you put them last in the chain?
     
  11. nickfox

    nickfox Well-Known Member

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    Typically, germanium based treble boosters want to be first in the chain. Where this comes into question is when you have other pedals that want to be first in the chain like a wah, univibe or fuzz. At that point it's best to experiment and see what sounds best.

    Another thing to note is that treble boosters sound different with every single guitar and every single amp. If you have 3 guitars and 3 amps, you will be surprised at how different those 9 combinations sound. Just experiment.

    The last thing I want to mention is about my hx stomp (and other helix products). It has a very flexible treble booster. It's flexible in that it really doesn't care where in the signal chain it is. I'm pretty sure that Helix built it that way and it was a smart move. Makes for really interesting combinations.

    Dan on That Pedal Show really loves treble boosters and they devote an entire show to it. Well worth watching.

     
  12. Kutt

    Kutt Well-Known Member

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    I had a Naga Viper for about 48 hours recently. Really liked the tone it created, but my pure rage and hatred for the noise it added were an abrupt deal breaker. Sadly I returned it. Tried an NS-2 with it and it was only a Band Aid over a hatchet wound.

    It's my understanding that noise comes with the territory with these kinds of boosters.
     
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  13. nickfox

    nickfox Well-Known Member

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    Silicon treble boosters have more hiss than germanium treble boosters. I have an analogman beano boost (germanium) going into the crunch channel of my DSL40CR and there is no hiss at all.

    I have other germanium treble boosters that DO hiss more in the same setup. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to try all of your guitars with all of your amps when testing out a treble booster. It will be hiss city with a bunch of them and then all of a sudden you find one combination that is dead silent and you've just found a great recording setup.
     
  14. FleshOnGear

    FleshOnGear Well-Known Member

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    My TI Boost is fairly quiet. I don’t run it flat out, though. As far as I can tell, it’s silicon.
     
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  15. Biff Maloy

    Biff Maloy Well-Known Member

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  16. Rozman62

    Rozman62 Well-Known Member

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    I use a Naga Viper but pulled it off my board because of the noise factor. I don't like using gates. I have been meaning to pair it up with my Orange Rocker 30 which is a dark uncompressed amp. Might be a good match. I think Tom S from Boston was jacking the 800 slider on his blue MXR to get that midrange saturated sound and not so much a treble booster IMO. No doubt listening to Sabbath, Priest, May, Rory and other classic rockers you were hearing a treble booster pushing the front ends via a Dallas Rangemaster. Seems like this was a common approach prior to players modding there amps or having a million OD or TB stomps to choose from like today. Would like a Analogman but as I understand it there is a substantial lead time well beyond my period of patience.
     
  17. nickfox

    nickfox Well-Known Member

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  18. TheToneDig

    TheToneDig Well-Known Member

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    Yeah as others have said the name is a bit misleading. If you want to boost your treble then use an EQ. So it isn't that. It is basically an OD that colors your tone and is very compatible with Plexis. My guess is that the makers of the pedal probably used a Plexi in conjunction with its development. I sometimes wonder if the makers of the Boss SD-1 used a Marshall JCM as the amp to develop how it sounds. I have this very strange nagging feeling that pedals that work extra great with some amps are probably designed with those amps in the engineer's R&D room.
     
  19. Edgar Frog

    Edgar Frog Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't doubt it. That's probably why the Rat and TS-9 and 808's sound so damn good in front of an old-school Marshall.
     
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  20. Metroman

    Metroman Well-Known Member

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    I use a Roger Mayer Concorde+ Treble Booster. It uses both Silicon, and Germanium. Silicon Drive, and Germanium Boost. Also Has a Tone control, which really acts like a Harmonics Shifter vs simple Treble/Bass cut, or addition.
    Mayer built his first Treble Booster in 1961
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2021

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