REVIEW: HomeBrew Electronics Detox EQ

Review by Steve Turner

Signature gear. Who really needs it? Often the signature tag is merely an advertising tool selling hardware that probably bears no real resemblance to the equipment used by the artist whose name is plastered all over the marketing materials. There are exceptions of course… The perceptive reader will at this point be predicting that I am going to suggest that the Detox EQ is one of those exceptions. This is indeed the case, and for very good reasons.

My personal path to finding the Detox EQ was pretty straightforward. I have been using HBE (HomeBrew Electronics) pedals in my live rig for quite some time and have always been very happy with the sound and build quality. I have run their CPR Compressor, UNO MOS boost, THC Chorus and Germania 44 in various environments and they are all keepers.

I am also a fan of Mr. Paul Gilbert. Really, who isn’t? One day whilst trawling the internet for information on his effects rig I noted that he was using three of the same HBE pedals that are in my own rig. In addition he was using a then unfamiliar unit – the Detox EQ. Given I was already very happy with HBE pedals I was intrigued to know what the new pedal was doing for Paul’s sound.

The origins of the Detox EQ are based on Paul’s use of a single channel amp running with high gain and his need to be able to create a clean tone with minimal effort. Paul had been using a Boss EQ pedal for volume cut and tone shaping but found that it added extra noise and the EQ spread was not quite right for his purposes.

The Detox EQ is a very simple concept which HBE have realized in a very elegant and functional stomp box. There are four dials: level, treble, middle and bass. The pedal is powered by a typical 9vDC source (battery or external power). As with all HBE pedals it also features true bypass. It is a great looking pedal too – and we all know how much that matters – the yellow is quite striking and it just begs to be used.

The Detox EQ volume pot can be used as a signal boost to add saturation or as a cut to clean up the tone of raging, multiple tentacled high gain monster amp. The EQ facility also allows some additional tone shaping and the available frequencies are quite musically placed. The EQ dials do not give massive amounts of extra boost or cut to any of the frequencies but can create quite a consistent curve.

Running the Detox EQ with my highest gain amp, a Bogner Uberschall, the results were positive across the board. As a boost the Detox is nice and subtle – not as aggressive as the HBE Uno Mos or other clean boost pedals but certainly creating a very nice EQ shape when engaged. Due to the fact the pedal is so quiet you might be tempted to turn on, dial up and leave on at unity gain for a bit of extra flavour.

As a cut, the Detox gave me a gritty clean tone reminiscent of early Dixie Dregs with a nice amount of attitude in a much cleaner signal than the Bogner high gain channel would usually provide. Working with the two channel Uberschall the Detox running as a signal cut gives me a virtual third channel in between the angelic clean and high class hooker, dirty tones.

Running with a Bassman clone I was able to dial the amp hard to get some really nice power amp breakup and then rein it in back to a more sparkly clean by engaging the Detox with a small amount of cut. As a quick experiment I plugged the Detox into my Pod X3 and found that it added some very pleasing tonality to the digital signal output to my workstation. I think some people would definitely find that it adds a bit more of a natural tone to the digital modeling of the Line 6 and comparable units.

Cutting amp saturation by reducing guitar signal is not a new idea. People have been doing it for years by dialing back guitar volume pots. The benefit and value that the Detox adds is that you can EQ the signal to account for any frequency shifts that might occur based on dialing back the signal – something that can not be done through a guitar on its own. Plus, it happens instantly and the signal boost or reduction is predictable based on your pre dialed setting.

I am very pleased to say that the Detox EQ pedal is another winner within the Home Brew Electronics line of products. It is very, very quiet when engaged and I am considering buying another so I can run one as a cut and one as a slight boost with EQ curve around the mids. The tone when engaged is very articulated and adds a really nice flavour to picked notes and chords alike.

If you have heard Paul Gilbert’s Silence Followed By a Deafening Roar album then you have definitely heard the tone of this pedal as a cut and as a signal shaper at unity gain. This is one of the few examples of signature gear that really lives up to the name of the player and the hardware designer alike.

No, this pedal will not make you sound like Paul Gilbert nor will it magically make your amp sound just like the tones on the Roar album. What it will do is bring out some really nice characteristics of your own amp that you might not be able to achieve otherwise. I would consider it a good pedal to keep in a guitar case for gigs where you are running through gear that is unfamiliar.

If you are interested in how Paul uses this sweet pedal you can head over to the HBE site and check out his personal guide on how to run the Detox. I can confidently say that this pedal definitely does what it says on the packaging. What more can you ask for? Maybe some private lessons from Paul Gilbert? Good luck with that!

Steve Turner is a guitarist from Melbourne, Australia. Check out his website here, his Myspace here and my interview with him here. 


NEWS: New Dream Theater single for free download

Just saw this on Blabbermouth.net:

DREAM THEATER: New Single Available For Free Download For 24 Hours Only – May 5, 2009


Starting on May 6 at 12:00 a.m (midnight) EST, click here to download a free MP3 of “A Rite of Passage”, the first single from DREAM THEATER’s upcoming album “Black Clouds & Silver Linings”, due in stores June 23. The free MP3 will be available for 24 hours. After that, the track will stream on RoadrunnerRecords.com.

In addition to the standard-version CD, “Black Clouds & Silver Linings” will also be available on vinyl LP, as well as a three-disc, special-edition CD that will include the full album, a CD of instrumental mixes of the album and a CD of six cover songs.

Six weeks prior to the June 23 street date, Roadrunner will release one cover song per week through digital retailers.

DREAM THEATER commenced work on “Black Clouds & Silver Linings” — the band’s second for Roadrunner, following up 2007’s “Systematic Chaos” — in October of last year.

Drummer Mike Portnoy and guitarist John Petrucci are once again at the helm as producers, while Paul Northfield mixed the record.

“Black Clouds & Silver Linings” track listing:

01. A Nightmare to Remember
02. A Rite of Passage
03. Wither
04. The Shattered Fortress
05. The Best of Times
06. The Count of Tuscany

NEWS: Sonoma Wireworks updates FourTrack iPhone

A couple of weeks ago I bought Sonoma Wireworks’ FourTrack iPhone app. At the time I thought “Hmm, that’s handy, but not quite handy enough. Where’s the metronome? Where’s the ability to bounce tracks?” Well it seems like Sonoma must have downloaded the Read Peter’s Thoughts app, because they’ve just released v2.0, which includes these features and more. Read all about it here, but here’s an excerpt.

The FourTrack iPhone multitrack audio recorder has been updated to v2.0 with highly anticipated song tools including bounce, duplicate and a metronome with real drum recordings.

FourTrack is the only iPhone multitrack recorder available with calibrated faders and meters, panning, latency compensation, metronome with live drum recordings, bounce, and wifi-sync directly into a companion desktop application (
RiffWorks). Everything from the multi-touch fader, to the spinnable pan wheel was designed with the iPhone in mind.

FourTrack 2.0 New Song Tools:

Bounce – Mix your song to track 1 and 2 of a new song. This makes room for two more tracks while preserving the originals for syncing to desktop recording software.

Duplicate – Make a backup of your song and continue working on it in a different file.

Metronome – Maintain a consistent tempo by recording along with real drums (not MIDI) using FourTrack’s built-in metronome. Select a tempo by entering a number or by tapping. Choose from seven sounds including three beats by celebrity drummer Jason McGerr on his signature Ludwig kit recorded in his Seattle based studio, Two Sticks Audio. Other sounds (Block A, Block B, High Hat, and Pop) are samples of live drums and percussion courtesy of Discrete Drums, the original multitrack drum library. Time signatures include 3/4, 4/4, 6/8 and X/4 (which are unaccented beats that can be used to play 5, 7, 9 and other odd meters).

NEWS: Mike Keneally wraps up Scambot Volume 1

Hot off the presses (well, Myspace actually), Mike Keneally says he’s finishing work on the first disc of his multi-album mega-project, Scambot, at this very minute.

Here’s an excerpt from Mike’s Myspace blog posting:

I’m finishing Scambot today

volume one of it, anyway…I’m posting regular updates from the studio on my Facebook and Twitter pages if you want to check out that action. Right now we’re bouncing down the final mixes of each song from the album in sequence.

SPOILER ALERT! Here’s the names of the songs on the album:

Big Screen Boboli
Ophunji’s Theme
Hallmark
Chee
Tomorrow
Cat Bran Sammich Part 1
You Named Me
Cat Bran Sammich Part 2
Saturate
M
Cold Hands
We Are The Quiet Children
Foam
The Brink
Life’s Too Small
Behind The Door
Gita
DaDunDa

You can follow real-time Scambot updates on Twitter.

Also, here are the dates for Mike Keneally and Bryan Beller’s Taylor tour:
Monday, May 11, 2009 Buddy Roger’s Music 7647 Beechmont Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45255 7:00 p.m. Admission $5 Info: 513-232-0777

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 Guitarworks 996 South State Road Greenwood, IN 46143 7:00 p.m. Admission $5 Info: 317-885-1510

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 Tumbleweed Trading Post & Guitars 7831 Airport Highway Holland, OH 43528 7:00 p.m. Admission Free! Info: 419-861-3512

Thursday, May 14, 2009 Firehouse Music 3125 28th Street SW Grandville, MI 49418 7:00 p.m. Admission Free! Info: 616-532-3473

Friday, May 15, 2009 Midlothian Music 15645 South 94th Avenue Orland Park, IL 60462 7:00 p.m. Admission Free! Info: 708-389-4041

Monday, May 18, 2009 Music Makers 3611 W. Willow Knolls Drive Peoria, IL, 61614 7:00 p.m. Admission Free! Info: 309-692-9000

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 Heid Music 2201 South Oneida Street Green Bay, WI 54304 7:00 p.m. Admission Free! Info: 920-498-2228

Thursday, May 21, 2009 Cascio Interstate Music 13819 West National Avenue New Berlin, WI 53151 7:00 p.m. Admission Free! Info: 262-789-7600

Friday, May 22, 2009Steilberg String Instruments 4029 Bardstown Road Louisville, KY 40218 7:30 p.m. Admission $5 Info: 502-491-2337

Monday, May 25, 2009 Martin Music 1659 Poplar Avenue Memphis, TN 38104 6:00 p.m. Admission Free! Info: 901-757-9020

NEWS: Parker Vernon Reid Dragon Fly

If you’re following Living Colour’s Vernon Reid on Twitter you have probably already seen this. If not, here’s prototype #1 of the Parker Vernon Reid Dragon Fly.

A few points of particular interest:

* New body shape

* Floyd Rose bridge, instead of Parker’s usual model

* Synth pickup

* New headstock shape

Looks like it’s shaping up to be a very versatile and innovative guitar. Can’t wait for further updates!

NEWS: New Megadeth album almost finished

In a posting on the band’s official forum (free membership registration required), Dave Mustaine has dished out further details of the new Megadeth album. Can’t wait to hear this one, which will be the band’s first recording with Chris Broderick on lead guitar. If you don’t know already I’m a bit of a Megadeth fanboy – I’ve seen them 5 times, including 4 times since 2005. So forgive me if I do a little wee of excitement about this.

Dave also used the forum post to draw attention to Megadeth’s bitchen new Myspace layout.

“Well, some of you have no doubt heard the samples of the songs that have been being worked on by me and the boys that I have been leaving for you at TheLiveLine. It has been a real blast for me to call in, hold the phone up and let you hear what a great job Andy is doing, and how he really does know me better than anyone I’ve ever worked with, and how he really does understand MEGADETH, and how he really does have metal know-how and sensible suggestions, and most importantly of all, how he does have class — English class, I should say.

“I must say that after spending this last year working almost exclusively with Andy, and working with my amazing amplification team, the one and only Marshall Amps, that I have had one of the most refreshing and rewarding year of my career.

“How can I not say that? What with this years events and all of the great things that happened for myself and for MEGADETH, which only made the MEGADETH experience that much more enjoyable for us all, I would be a fool not too. We just got back from one of the funniest tours we have had in a long time on Priest Feast, you guessed it, . . . more Englishmen (and women).

“And now as we are nearing the completion of the new record, I will tell you, it is fast, it is heavy, there is singing, yelling, speaking, and guest voices (maybe not singing — more like in ‘Captive Honor’), the soloing is insane, and I am just starting my parts and so far I have been playing like mad! Both of the two solos I have gotten down are as fast as anything I have played on.

“We have some great song concepts, like ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ a song about having been wiped out, like so many Americans, from the recession and potential depression years of 2000, or ‘Bite The Hand That Feeds’ which is a song about the greed of the fiduciary leaders of the financial world and how they just didn’t care about the responsibility they had to the public. There are also songs like ‘1320’ a song about nitro fuel funny cars (something I enjoy), ‘How The Story Ends’ and ‘This Day We Fight’, both inspired by warrior creed from the great Sun Tzu with the use of drums and flags in ancient war, and an impassioned plea from Aragorn to his loyal fighters in ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, respectively. I also have some bizarre songs like ‘Headcrusher’ which is about the medieval torture device, and ‘Endgame’ which is about a bill that ex-President George W. Bush signed into law that gave him the power to put American citizens in concentration camps that are actually called ‘detention centers’ here in the United States, and a favorite lyric of mine on this record about the North Hollywood bank robbery of 1997 (or 1998).”

Be sure to go to TheLIVELine daily to hear snippets of music from Chris and I, in the background while we finish up the record these next 12days and . . . . . . .

CHECK OUT THE NEW MEGADETH MYSPACE!

CLICK HERE to buy the Dean Dave Mustaine Signature VMNT Electric Guitar Silver from Music123.

CLICK HERE to see the Megadeth eBay store.