During the past year, I’ve been on a learning curve; learning how to control the amount of gain from my Marshall Vintage/Modern combo purely using my guitar volume control. I’ve found from time to time though I still need an extra gain stage and as I’ve always wanted to retain the natural tone of the amp, I chose to purchase a boost pedal in the form of the ZVEX Super-Duper. Recently however, I’ve acquired a Moollon Signal Boost pedal – but how will this unit compare against the ZVEX?
…the entire experience of opening the Moollon box, to examining the amazing artwork up close, through to finally plugging in and playing, means guitarists across the globe can expect a highly pleasurable and complete guitar experience…
In a recent Guitar Jar interview, Moollon manager Andreas Roselund described how the vision of the company is to produce effects pedals, guitars and pickups to the highest possible standard, not just sonically but also visibly.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen a Moollon pedal up close (sometimes there are a few models at Vintage & Rare Guitars) but I have to say they truly are a thing of beauty. The Moollon website does an excellent job in showcasing the amount of detail in their effect pedal artwork, but to be honest, it’s only when you hold one in your hand you realise how stunning these pedals really are. According to Andreas, “no two pedal enclosures are exactly alike”.
Moollon really seem to push the boat out in the presentation of their pedals. The unit came shipped in a nice box, of which the pedal itself rests on a bed of colourful tissue paper – it’s a small feature, but has a very subtle and appealing impact. Along with the shiny Moollon branded sticker & tortoiseshell plectrum, I found the dedication to the small attention to detail made the whole experience of opening the pedal, plugging in and playing extremely enjoyable.
In addition, when I opened the pedal to view the inner workings, the layout of the components and the soldering work applied is faultless and looks immaculate. A high quality 9V battery is fitted as standard.
The Moollon Signal Boost includes a custom buffer circuit to ensure ground noise is at a minimum. For the “official” features and specifications, details can be read on the Moollon website.
This pedal is as basic as it gets; just a simple gain control potentially allowing the guitarist to add up to 12 dB of boost. From the guitarists perspective, you plug in, dial the amount of boost you desire and play to your heart’s content. It probably took me about 5 seconds to get the right amount of boost required for my needs.
I almost always use the HDR (High Dynamic Drive) setting on my Marshall Vintage/Modern, with the pre-amp drive set fairly low, allowing me to open up the master volume as much as I’m allowed to get away with.
With the pedal switched on and the gain control set to zero, there’s no difference to my ears in volume or tone. As expected, when the signal is increased, both the volume and the gain of the amplifier increases at a smooth and steady rate. The rise in volume is greater on cleaner amp settings and although there’s still an increase of volume when running your amp fairly dirty, it’s the additional gain increase that really makes this pedal shine, pushing the amplifier valves even harder whilst retaining the amps original tone.
I think I’ve got a serious addiction to the sound of my Gibson SG plugged into the Moollon Signal Boost then into my amp. When engaged, the amp roars and sounds so musical and you can still hear the individual notes that are played.
Tone Rehab: “And who are you and why are you here?”
Sam: “I’m Sam and I’m addicted to the roar of a very cranked valve amp…”
I’m not expecting this pedal to break in a hurry. It’s absolutely solid and the inner guts of the unit look immaculate. The pedal comes shipped with a warranty card and in my experience the guys at Moollon are extremely pleasant and very quick to respond to enquiries. As a company, I don’t think they will be going away in a hurry – with leading guitarists such as Crispian Mills, Steve Stevens & Doug Aldrich all using their products, you’re in good company.
The Moollon Signal Boost Pedal really lives up to the vision of the Moollon brand. With the hand-designed artwork and the brilliant sound quality, this pedal does exactly what a good boost pedal should do and a lot more.
So how does the Moollon Signal Boost compare to the ZVEX Super-Duper? Well in my mind, they’re fairly different pedals. For a start, the ZVEX is a twin boost pedal and although it’s a really good unit, I’ve noticed that it seems to have a slight treble addition when engaged. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes that’s good but I’ve always wanted a boost pedal that retains the natural tone of the amplifier as much as possible and the Moollon seems to do that very well indeed.
To finish, I have to be honest in saying I feel very smug at the moment because I own such a visually stunning effects pedal. I’ve found myself daydreaming at my desk at work over the past few weeks wondering what it would be like to have a plethora of Moollon pedals at my feet. That’s got to be an awesome sight! Now I’ve got my eye on their compressor but it’s their vintage wah that’s really got my juices flowing.
Moollon is a great company who produces some of the world’s finest guitar pedals – not just sonically but also visually. As I mentioned previously; the entire experience of opening the Moollon box (with the subtle visual additions of coloured tissue paper, shiny sticker and plectrum), to examining the amazing artwork up close, through to finally plugging in and playing, means guitarists across the globe can expect a highly pleasurable and complete guitar experience.
I recently had the pleasure to hang out with Steve Coates who played his Epiphone Dot through a Fender Blues Deluxe amplifier using this pedal. It was nice for me to hear the pedal used with a different “rig” to my own.
The Moollon Signal Boost packs a serious punch and when engaged, the pedal really pushed Steve’s amp, allowing him to create driving bluesy chords and a smooth lead tone. All in all, I’m really pleased with this pedal and it’s nice to hear it used both with a Marshall and Fender setting.
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