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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Creme Brulee Boost Pedal by Tone Bakery, (Review)...


Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacturer
Street Price: $99.00 USD + tax & shipping.

About: 
Tone Bakery is an American manufacturer of boutique, guitar effects pedals.

This Creme Brulee Boost pedal features three knobs: Gain, Treble, and Output that offers a clean boost or an amp like overdrive drive tone.

In the words of the Manufacturer:
The Tone Bakery Creme Brulee Boost makes your lead tones sing and your rhythm tones warm and fat. It started life as a recreation of the most highly valued boost of all time, then we added a slight bump in the midrange to make it extra creamy. Think Warren Haynes/David Grissom. The Creme Brulee doesn't take anything away from your natural tone, it sounds like an extension of your amp. You might never shut it off!

Features:
o    A legendary boost circuit, served up extra creamy
o    Lower noise level than the original
o    Pristine buffer improves your tone even when the Creme Brulee is bypassed

The Creme Brulee has three knobs: Gain, Treble, and Output. With Gain at zero and Treble at 50%, you can use the Output control to provide a clean boost that sounds three dimensional and alive. Dial in a little Gain and Treble for a gentle and natural "in between" overdrive tone, like a vintage tweed amp running its power tubes hot. Turn the Gain up high with the Treble up halfway or higher for a 70's/80's crunch. Mix any of these tones together with your amp's own overdrive for liquid lead tones.

Sound 

Amp Used: 
Indigo Amplification McD 20 1x12
1972 Fender Bassman 50 through (1) Eminence Cannabis Rex 12

Guitar used:
Chili Custom Guitars JacCaster 001 
CR Alsip WTF
Knaggs Choptank 
Knaggs Keya 

Strings:
Dark Horse 10-46

Guitar Pick:
Gravity Sunrise Mini 1.3 Wave 

Reliability & Durability:
This pedal is well built and I would have confidence using it in the studio and/or on the road. 

Impression:
As most of my readers and friends know -- I am not a pedal guy. I personally just use a tuner pedal and the sound of my amp, but I always have an OD backup in my bag with a redbox for that "just in case" moment -- when something breaks. With that said, for a pedal to get my attention it has to be something special. Over the last few years I have seen an explosion of interest on social media for one particular pedal -- the Klon Centar. Not being a pedal guy I really didn't pay any attention to it until a friend had one on his pedal board, and to say the least I was impressed. This pedal was like no other I had played before and I was sold on all the hype, but with a selling price of $1,700 USD at the time, I knew there was no way I would buy one at that price. After spending about a month losing out on win/bid sites, I was finally able to get a real gold Klon Centar for $395 USD to only have it stolen from the Local Music Gear lend program in August of 2014. Believing that I would never find that delicious tone again at a reasonable price, and there was no way in hell I was going to spend $2,400 USD on a pedal (what they sell for now -- really people?!?), I just wrote it off as a total tonal loss. After venting on social media, a friend that also had a Klon Centar grow legs and walk away was excited to tell me about the Creme Brulee Boost pedal he found at Winter NAMM that he said "it sounded like my Klon but was only $99 USD". After that conversation I e-mailed the Tone Bakery people and got me a brand new Creme Brulee Boost pedal that day. 

So you are probably thinking that $99 USD is going to get you a $99 USD POS pedal, and if you did you would be dead wrong. After doing my normal call and complain about some BS to see how their customer service holds up (and it was OK) -- I had my Creme Brulee Boost pedal in hand ready to go. To say that I nearly sh*t myself from excitement would be an understatement. This $99 USD pedal offers the same creamy harmonically rich overdrive tones with talking feedback that the original Klon Centar does. This pedal made my amp "Hulk out" in the same way -- really pushing the tubes hard. Now don't get me wrong, it is not 100% to the original Klon Centar (and Tone Bakery makes no claims as to such) -- but I could not hear a $2,100 difference between... and I was really trying. With a pedal that emulates such a desirable tone at a fraction of the price of the original -- I'm surprised that it was in stock when I ordered it. So to sum up this review, yea... this pedal is a keeper.

My advice:
With the company tag line of "Tone Bakery's goal is to offer the tastiest of boutique tones for guitarists on a fast food budget," I guess they are onto something. So my advice is open your wallet and buy it while it is still $99 USD! 



Contact
Tone Bakery 
Garden Grove, CA 92841
www.tonebakery.com
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Posted 9/2014
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