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Source Audio seeks to “make everything sound better” with its new ZIO Analog Front End + Boost

Source Audio has announced the ZIO Analog Front End + Boost, a preamp/boost pedal designed to “make everything sound better”.

To achieve this ambitious goal, the ZIO offers four distinct preamp circuits, with the option of up to 20dB of output boost to fine-tune your tone. Its modus operandi is taking a guitar’s high-impedance signal, polishing it up with those preamps, then outputting a low-impedance signal that won’t get dampened by any buffered pedals down your pedal chain.

Those four preamp circuits include a transparent JFET offering; tighter Low-Cut setting; Pultec Trick-inspired Studio, which cuts muddy frequencies and adds midrange distortion; and E-Plex, an homage to the gritty preamps of vintage Echoplex tape delays.

There’s also a neat Tone toggle, which switches between three levels of capacitance (aka simulated cable length) for additional tone darkening or brightening.

The digital specialist’s first all-analog design, the ZIO was developed in conjunction with SHOE Pedals’ Christopher Venter, who you might recall from his collaboration with DOD on the Looking Glass overdrive.

Source Audio ZIO

(Image credit: Source Audio)

Internally, high-fidelity Burr-Brown op amps promise low-noise performance, while the pedal’s name is an acronym for impedance (“Z” being the electrical symbol for impedance), Input (“I”) and Output (“O”). So now you know.

The ZIO is shipping to retailers right this second, and street prices will clock in around $199. Want more info? Source Audio has what you need.

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Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as the best part of 20 years performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.