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Review: MXR Booster Mini

As a reviewer, there are two kinds of gear you dread writing about: volume pedals and clean boosts. A, they kind of do only one thing, and B, um, that’s about it. So, imagine my anxiety when I heard I was covering yet another clean boost. However, all apprehension was put aside when the MXR Booster Mini showed up on my desk for review, because A, it’s MXR, and B, it definitely does more than one thing—and does it extremely well.

The MXR Booster Mini is actually two pedals in one, combining the sought-after boost found in the MXR Micro Amp and the subtle gritty edge from the Echoplex Preamp, which also offers a touch of musical compression.

The Booster Mini comes in a lightweight mini-housing and features controls for volume and tone. The volume control offers up to +25dB of boost, and the tone control is a studio-grade high-cut knob. What makes the Booster Mini useful is an internal preamp level trimpot that adds gutsy gain, which is a great way to fatten up single-coil guitars and increased drive for humbuckers.

I tend to put boost pedals after my drive pedals, and the Booster Mini works well in this capacity. Setting the internal preamp control about a quarter of the way, the Booster Mini is surprisingly loud (even at 9 o’clock on the volume) with a slicing saturation that works great for solos. The musical tone control removes high-end harshness and smoothens unwanted frequencies. Using it as a boost in front of an amp, the pedal responds with warm sustain and ballsy overdrive. It’s hard to believe MXR has packed this much firepower in a mini boost. And that’s no small wonder.

STREET PRICE: $99.99
MANUFACTURER: Jim Dunlop, jimdunlop.com

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Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.