[720] Cleanest Boost Pedal

Date: July 6th, 2010 | Comments : [2] | Categories: DIY.

I often see this question on pedal forums: What is the cleanest and most transparent boost pedal?

One limitation of stompboxes is the 9v power supply. It sets a limit on the voltage swing that can be easily exceeded by a modest amount of gain (boost). The result will be distortion. There is an article in the Lab Notebook which goes into more detail about this.

The most common way to add clean headroom to a pedal is to power it with a higher voltage supply, such as 18v from two batteries. This will practically double the amount of signal available before distortion occurs.

So, if we decide to pursue clean, transparent output with 18v power, I would recommend these boosts in order starting with the cleanest:

(1) Opamp booster
(2) Mosfet booster
(3) Mini-booster or bipolar circuit

PC boards are available to make projects for these circuits on the AMZ order page. The mosfet and mini-booster selections are obvious and the opamp or bipolar are made on their respective multi-purpose boards.

Even at 9v, I would suggest that the order above is correct for finding a clean booster pedal.


2 Responses to “Cleanest Boost Pedal”

[1265] Bjorn Says: 11:05 am, July 19th, 2010

Running a clean boost isn’t as great to my ears as a somewhat dirty boost.

Clean sounds sterile, dirty is more warm.

anyways this is what you mean right ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headroom_(audio_signal_processing)

more reserve power is more headroom.

[1318] Erik Says: 3:13 pm, September 27th, 2010

I found this out too in my experimentations. My favorite is mosfet. I built one of your Mosfet Boosters several years back and LOVE it. It works great with both of my amps. With the gain down all the way, it adds a touch of sparkle, like turning up a presence control. With the gain around 50% or more, it really overdrives the amp in needed situations. I can’t recommend it enough.


AMZ Home Page

Guitar FX PCBs