THE HOT BRITISH tube distortion is one of the most popular pedals from Radial Engineering's award-winning Tonebone pedal series, revered for its ability to accurately create the tones of a modified "Plexi" stack. Since its initial offering, Radial has received praise for the pedal's tone and numerous requests for a more feature-laden British-style pedal. The company's response comes in the form of the new tube-driven Plexitube (opens in new tab) distortion pedal.
FEATURES Indeed, the Plexitube picks up where the Hot British left off. In addition to recreating the sound of the original Hot British pedal, the Plexitube has a second high-gain channel, more control over the distortion, several voicing options and an effect loop insert on channel 2 (lead).
The new Plexitube distortion creates its immense range of Brit-style distortion and tone through an onboard 12AX7 preamp tube and a specially designed multistage solidstate drive circuit. Of course, the pedal features true-bypass operation when turned off. Features include a drive knob for both channels, global high- and low-frequency controls and independent output level controls.
The EQ can be adjusted further with switches for voicing, midboost and top-end response and independent contour knobs for each channel's midrange. For players who like to run one channel with effects and one without, channel 2 features an insert loop that lets you add effects. This greatly enhances the Plexitube's flexibility, making it possible to switch between a chunky rhythm distortion and an intense high-gain lead tone that features delay, chorus, flanger or whatever effects you want.
PERFORMANCE I plugged the Tonebone Plexitube and a Burstbucker-loaded Les Paul into my Fender Vibro-King. The Plexitube's two channels offered modern edgy distortion that was very lively. Channel 1 featured slightly less gain than channel 2, but the unit overall provided a very bright attack, screaming harmonics and tons of sustain. The Plexitube's tonal options kept me busy for days, like a kid let loose with a mad scientist's kit.
THE BOTTOM LINE The Plexitube provides everything you need to generate layers of searing Brit-style preamp-derived gain.