One of the most dominant trends in guitar industry today seems to be going back to the roots. First, the tubes came back big time, then more vintage guitar designs became popular again. Parallel with all of this, guitar effects pedals also took a step back to ponder on old designs.Xotic EP Booster is a boost pedal that was modeled on the original format of this effect. However, while it does a great job at looking and sounding like something from the early ’70s, Xotic added a modern twist into the mix. Would you like to have one of the most impressive boost stompboxes on the market? Then you should definitely check this one out.
Narrow form factor, single control knob and a stomp switch – that is what you notice as soon as you unpack this pedal from its box. The design of the enclosure is reminiscent of the times when Hendrix used to rock the stages around the world. It’s worth noting that Xotic is among the rare brands who actually gets this type of design right.
Back to hardware. The twist we mentioned earlier comes in form of two controls which are hidden underneath the top panel. The only way to access them is to take the pedal apart. This is something that can be seen in various boutique designs these days, and it’s actually a pretty neat feature.
Just like many boost pedals before it, Xotic EP Booster features that trademark Gain knob for which this particular type of effect pedal is known for. Its function is pretty self-explanatory. Go clockwise and you get more volume. However, there are two hidden controls that make this pedal a very interesting one. You have Bass Boost and Bright. The former adds additional low-end response to the signal, while the Bright spikes up the trebles.
Having additional 20 dB of gain at your disposal is a powerful thing if you know how to use it. On top of that, those internal switches give you a lot more flexibility. Bright is great when you want to bring a deeper sounding guitar into the forefront, while the bass boost gives those single coil pups that needed girth.
The pedal is pretty transparent and is capable of doing wonders when combined with a decent tube amp. Even when you start adding small amounts of gain, you will notice the whole signal getting significantly louder. There is more than enough juice in this bad boy to get any signal chain the support it needs.
Boutique boost pedals are a bit paradoxical in nature. Boost pedals are simple, so how much can a boutique builder really add to the whole experience? The answer is – a lot. Xotic is a perfect example of this. They have managed to add a very interesting character to what is essentially an extra volume knob.
With that said, having a boost pedal such as the Xotic EP Booster allows you to spice up your tone in a variety of ways depending on where you place it in your signal chain. Once you start exploring the possibilities, it’s hard to imagine playing guitar without one of these pedals at your side.