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Review: Maxon DB10 Dual Booster Pedal

One of the most popular applications of a Tube Screamer overdrive pedal is for “clean boost” functions à la Stevie Ray Vaughan, where the level control is cranked up, the drive control turned down, and the tone control is generally set to its most neutral setting.

The new DB10 Dual Booster pedal from Maxon (the company that invented the original 808 overdrive) is stripped down to the bare essentials needed for clean boost effects, and it provides a pair of independently voiced overdrive circuits (Vintage and Clean).

With separate inputs and outputs for each circuit, the DB10 Dual Booster functions like two individual stomp boxes in a single unit.

Features

The controls for the DB10 couldn’t be any simpler. The Vintage and Clean circuits each have a level knob that provides up to 20dB maximum gain, a footswitch, an LED and mono 1/4-inch input and output jacks. Those separate outputs allow guitarists to place a separate pedal in between each booster and/or run one boost circuit into the other. You can even change the order of the DB10’s boosters by running the Vintage output to the Clean input (Vintage Before Clean) or the Clean output to the Vintage input (Clean Before Vintage). Both boosters have 3PDT mechanical switches that provide true bypass. The DB10 operates either with a nine-volt battery or with an optional AC adaptor.

Performance

The DB10’s Clean boost lives up to its name, pushing an amp harder without changing its natural tone, while the Vintage boost rolls off high frequencies to provide warmer tone with a slight, perceived midrange boost (although the midrange frequencies are actually unaffected). Even when both boost sections are routed together and both level controls are maxed out, the guitar’s tone remains dynamic and uncompressed, dominated by the natural crunch of power tube distortion.

Cheat Sheet

List Price $299

Manufacturer Maxon, maxonfx.com

The Bottom Line

The Maxon DB10 combines two of the best clean boost overdrive effects available today with outstanding dynamics, low noise, and aggressive drive that can really make an amp and guitar sing.

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Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.