3 Pedal Shootout - Blackface in a box

Discussion in 'Pedal Pushers Forum' started by jklotz, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. jklotz

    jklotz Gretschie

    443
    Mar 24, 2013
    Atlanta
    Let me start off by saying my goal here was to take my recently acquired Roland Blues Cube Artist, which is a tweed voiced amp, and make it blackface sounding. I am a mostly clean player, not much dirt needed/wanted. Seems pretty straightforward, right?

    First up was a MXR graphic eq I had laying around. It worked fine sucking out some low mids, and boosting some top end, but sounded kinda lifeless, and the high frequencies were a little brash.

    Next I tried a Tech 21 Blonde. It was better but I never really felt it had a lot of life to it. I really wanted to like it, and I spend a long time trying to tweak it, tried it in the FX loop, out in front, combining with other pedals, etc, etc, but it just never did it for me. For lack of a better word to describe it, it just sounded "dry" to me, and I'm not talking about reverb. It was returned.

    Next up was a Joyo American Sound. I paid $24 shipped, ordered after a few beers one night. I wasn't expecting much, but, hey, for $24, why not? This thing sounded really good! It was a tad bit noisy, and the highs were a little harsh, but after dialing it in, I was quite surprised at what I was able to do with it. My concerns for gigging it, however, were the cheap components and my lack of faith that it would actually hold up in a gigging environment. For a guy who wants to use it in the house, it's a really fun pedal that sounds better than the tech 21 to my ears, and has a lot of sounds than can be gotten out of it for very little money. Recommended for sure, but with the above caveats.

    Today, my One Control Sonic Blue Twanger arrived. Guys, I have found my blackface pedal! Love this thing. It has 2 modes, one called "rhythm", the other "lead". I have no use for the lead mode, too much gain. But in the rhythm mode, it does EXACTLY what I was looking for. It basically scoops the frequencies, as you'd expect, but this one has a little special something it adds. Nice sparkle on top, just a hint of gain in just the right way, and a slight low end boost. It is a simple, 3 knob 1/2 sized pedal, is quiet, seems to have a solid build/feel to it. This one's a keeper for sure, and highly recommended for those of you who are looking for this type of pedal.

    As a side note, Roland makes a "tone capsule" that inserts into the amp, and is supposed to accomplish the same thing, but it has been on back order for months, with at least several more months predicted, so I gave up on that. Plus the online demos I heard of it were not overly impressive to me.

    Also, I'm sure some might ask why I didn't just go get a blackface voiced amp to begin with. I have a few, some that I love dearly, but the BCA is 35lbs, louder than I'll ever need, easily replaceable, reliable as the proverbial tank, maintenance free and sounds really good. It's a great gigging solution for our pub gigs and rehearsals.

    Thanks for reading.
     
    J Bird, Ricochet and Henry like this.
  2. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Tnx for the review.

    Curious about your findings with the Tech21 and Joyo since (as far as I know) they're basically the same pedal!
     
    J Bird likes this.
  3. gtttrrr

    gtttrrr Synchromatic

    Age:
    51
    692
    Dec 7, 2011
    United States
    Thanks for that! I have a Joyo compressor that i really like. Have heard good things about the cheap, good sounding other Joyo lineups.
     
  4. jklotz

    jklotz Gretschie

    443
    Mar 24, 2013
    Atlanta
    Yea, they are cut from the same cloth, but they are different. The tech 21 is more reserved and sterile to my ears. It's like all the harmonic overtones were taken out, whereas I didn't get that from the Joyo. Don't get me wrong, the tech 21 definitely has better build quality. The Joyo clunks when you push the button, audibly, through the amp. But sound wise, I liked the joyo better. I don't think it is an exact clone.
     
    J Bird likes this.
  5. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Good ears, and nice to know I have the better version :)

    Apparently the Joyos are schematically an amalgam of the first Tech21 Character pedals, 1st version(Note they don't have a speaker defeat). So all the Joyos share the same PCB, just the values of the components will vary a little.
     
  6. TSims1

    TSims1 Friend of Fred

    Jun 18, 2013
    Atlanta
    The Joyo stuff sounds good. I found the opposite though with the Liverpool scenario.......the Joyo version sounds really really good, while the Tech 21 sounds even better.

    Glad to hear you found something in the end!
     
  7. gtttrrr

    gtttrrr Synchromatic

    Age:
    51
    692
    Dec 7, 2011
    United States
    Anybody try the Joyo american or the liberpool in front of AC15?
     
  8. TSims1

    TSims1 Friend of Fred

    Jun 18, 2013
    Atlanta

    No, but wouldn't a Liverpool(Vox simulator)into a Vox amp be redundant?
     
    emicad likes this.
  9. J Bird

    J Bird Gretschie

    194
    Dec 2, 2016
    Washougal
    I really like my joyo American, too. I thought I'd replace it some day with a tech 21 blonde v2, but after reading this thread, I'm happy to let her ride.
     
  10. Byron

    Byron Synchromatic

    511
    Sep 4, 2009
    uk
    Is that first version of the tech 21 blonde regarded as good? I have that without the speaker sim. Plus I'd like to sell it cheap so it will be on eBay soon.
    Also tempted by that Roland blues cube. Great specs but I worry too about the tweed vibe....I have a love/hate relationship with that sound
     
  11. jklotz

    jklotz Gretschie

    443
    Mar 24, 2013
    Atlanta
    Yea, if you do decide to upgrade, seriously, check out the One Control Sonic Blue Twanger. It's killer!
     
  12. jklotz

    jklotz Gretschie

    443
    Mar 24, 2013
    Atlanta
    I totally agree with you. For me, it and the Sonic Blue Twanger seems like it will be a workable solution. At the end of the day, I'd rather be gigging with a twin reverb (or similar), but the weight, cartage, volume restrictions of some of the venues and maintenance make it impractical in my situation. I just got the pedal - let me get it out in a band situation a few times and I'll report back.
     
  13. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Age:
    54
    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    I thought this would be a contender?

    150219000000000-00-500x500.jpg
     
  14. jklotz

    jklotz Gretschie

    443
    Mar 24, 2013
    Atlanta
    Yea, that and the Wampler black 65 would have been nice to add to the comparison, but a guy can only do so much.
     
    ZackyDog likes this.