The Accomplished Badger from London-based Fredric Effects is a preamp/booster pedal that will provide a degree of colouration to enhance your signal in a specific way.
It features two gain stages with an op-amp buffer/boost driving a germanium transistor gain stage that features individually selected vintage new-old-stock components, tested for optimal gain and low leakage.
While the pedal has been around for a few years, what we have here is a new iteration: the MkII version, which now incorporates an internal charge pump so it can run at 18 volts from its nine-volt input, and features an audio-grade Triad output transformer that is said to deliver a more musical saturation and break-up. You also get three DIP switches inside the pedal for more options.
A Volume knob controls the overall output and then individual knobs set the gain of the op-amp and germanium stages. Without any DIP switches engaged, the pedal offers a clean sparkly boost with a tightened up bottom-end at lower levels of the two gain knobs.
Turning the pair up pushes things into a nice gritty break-up and well beyond, all sensitive to guitar volume and picking dynamics. Juxtaposition of the two gain knobs offers variations on that theme as their different characters interact and you can find a sweet spot that works for you.
To take things further, engaging the first DIP switch actually doubles the gain from the op-amp stage, although things can get quite quirky at the upper levels of the gain knobs even without that, easing into glitchy and broken territory. At the extreme, with both gains up full, the signal can cut out momentarily if you hit the strings hard, offering some interesting spluttery effects that can be exploited with touch and dynamics.
The other DIP switches can greatly expand the tonal options, making it almost like having three pedals in one. One switch brings in a soft clipping circuit with two germanium diodes, offering some very usable drive tones. The other brings in an asymmetrical hard clipping circuit with three silicon diodes that puts a fuzzy distorted edge on things.
Benson Germanium Boost
Featuring a single rotary knob, this USA-made boost pedal has an error correction circuit to correctly bias the germanium transistor so it is impervious to component drift, leakage and sensitivity to temperature.
This boost with NOS Mullard Germanium transistors features seven different voicings accessed through a stepped rotary switch – achieved using seven separate, high-quality NOS capacitors and not by simply adding a tone stack.
Xotic RC Booster V2
This latest version includes the same 20dB of clean boost as the original RC Booster (discontinued in 2017) but has a second independently footswitchable gain channel for fatter tones. Two‑band EQ offers up to 15dB of boost or cut.
- PRICE: £140
- ORIGIN: UK
- TYPE: Germanium preamp/boost pedal
- FEATURES: True bypass
- CONTROLS: Ge Gain, Op-Amp Gain, Volume, 3x internal DIP switches, Bypass footswitch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
- POWER: 9V battery or 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 20mA
- DIMENSIONS: 67 (w) x109 (d) x 48mm (h)
- CONTACT: Fredrick Effects