Today we are talking preamp pedals. More specifically what is the best preamp pedal for the price and do I really need one? That first question we will get to in a minute but as far as needing one, it depends on if you are satisfied with your amp’s clean tone. If you aren’t and want to add a little style and tone to a thin or plasticy sounding clean amp a preamp is a must. If you are happy with your clean tone a preamp might not be at the top of your list but there are plenty of other uses. They can be used as boost pedals, for recording direct in (without an amp), and much more! So here we go these are our picks for the best guitar preamp pedals for clean and not so clean tones.
Top 4 Best Preamp Pedals
This pedal comes from the makers of the famous Sans Amp Bass Driver, which was used by legendary producer Tchad Blake on just about everything and anything from drums to guitars. This is because the guys and gals at Tech 21 really know how to make a solid analog modeled amp and it shows especially well on this latest pedal. The Q-Strip EQ and Preamp is great for rolling off extra bass and high frequencies going into your amp while doing a little EQ, adding a little body, and finishing with a tiny bit of dirt. A wonderful preamp pedal for going direct in, it is modeled after vintage 60’s and 70’s mixing consoles.
This isn’t the first time we’ve written about the EP Booster and there is an obvious reason. This pedal has a great unique sound in a small easy to love package. This pedal essentially went viral several years ago and has only grown in popularity since then. With only one knob for Level/Drive it really is a simple and elegant pedal. It doesn’t provide a tone knob, which to some may be a downside while others may find the simplicity appealing. The Xotic EP Booster is based off part of the preamp circuit from an old Echoplex. Really cool of Xotic to recreate such a coveted sound in such a small and easy to use package. With the knob rolled all the way to the left you get completely transparent sound, around noon you will get some sparkle and warmth. With the knob all the way to the right you get a pretty saturated amp break up kind of sound. The EP Booster delivers 20 db of headroom and a great musical sound. Really awesome subtle pedal for leaving on at the end of your chain or as a boost!
The Pork Loin is a modern soft clipping overdrive combined with a classic British preamp. Both tonal pathways have a clean and transparent profile. Some people use this pedal right before their amp just like a preamp to get that extra something something out of their amp and have really great results. I especially like the amount of control you get with this pedal it has a clean knob, which is incredibly useful for this type of pedal.
The EQD Bows is a Germanium preamp designed around a rare NOS OC139 black glass transistor. It is a one knob make things awesome pedal, which personally I’m a big fan of for this kinda thing. A simple and elegant pedal with a really great tone is what I want out of a preamp. EQD has devlivered! The Bows also has a little switch for a brighter or darker tone. Also, check out their Arrows pedal just because someone should have Bows and Arrows on a pedalboard.
Well, that’s all folks. Hoped you enjoyed this list of the best preamp pedals out there. Leave us a comment of if you have favorites that didn’t make the list. See ya next time!