Korg introduces two new build-it-yourself Nutube-driven Nu:Tekt pedals – the TR-S tube amp emulator and HD-S Distortion

Korg's new Nu:Tekt effects pedals
(Image credit: Korg)

Back in January 2020, Korg captivated NAMM attendees with its Nu:Tekt OD-S – a neat Nutube-driven overdrive pedal that could be assembled entirely by hand, but with no soldering required.

Naturally, the novelty behind the pedal, along with its impressive set of tube-like overdrive tones – we awarded it four stars when we gave it a go – made the OD-S a popular piece among pedal fans who sought to get both stompbox-assembling expertise and solid sonic performance.

Now, Korg has introduced two all-new Nu:Tekt build kits to join its flagship OD-S: the HD-S Harmonic Distortion and TR-S Power Tube Reactor.

Just like the original build-it-yourself kit from Korg, each pedal boasts a solderless design for easy assembly, and comes accompanied with all the tools required to take it from box to stompbox as quickly as possible. 

No time frame has been given for the assembly of both the pedals, but since the first Nu:Tekt offering promised a speedy 45-minute build time – something we confirmed when we built one ourselves – we imagine it's a similar story this time 'round.

Another returning design element is Korg’s patent-pending Nutube technology – found in the TR-S Power Tube Reactor only – which promises to give guitarists the "feel of a tube amp even when recording or playing through a transistor amp".

The basic design layout is also loosely the same – each pedal features four control knobs, a bypass footswitch and LED light – though this time out Korg has equipped each unit with a small screen and three additional internal parameters.

In terms of stompbox-specific specs, the HD-S compiles three different distortion circuits that supposedly deliver "never-before-heard harmonic distortion". Whether that’s actually the case remains to be seen, but Korg says the HD-S can be used with guitars as well as other instruments, making it fairly flexible.

Notably, the harmonic distortion was created in collaboration with Fumio Mieda – the brains behind the Jimi Hendrix-favored Uni-Vibe – who labeled the HD-S as "a new kind of distortion based on harmonic synthesis that covers both traditional and all-new sounds".

Such tones are dialed in using external Volume, Tone, Gate and Gain controls, while a trio of internal trimmer pots help adjust the balance between each distortion circuit.

The TR-S, meanwhile, vows to serve up tube-like compression and amp-style tones by way of its Nutube, which is said to operate "exactly as a triode vacuum tube". In practice, it promises rich overtones and the same dynamic response as conventional vacuum tubes.

Control-wise, the external knobs are for Volume, Power Sag, Tube Gain and Mix – which goes from Direct to Tube – while the internal trim pots take care of Tone, Sustain and Threshold.

There’s no official US price just yet – only a UK price point of £199 – but since the OD-S currently weighs in at $299, we imagine these new offerings won’t be far off that.

For more information, head over to Korg UK (opens in new tab) or Korg US (opens in new tab).

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.