Gearphoria Volume 7, Number 1

GEARPHORIA SEP/OCT 2018 59 GEAR REVIEWS u Benson Preamp BENSON AMPS PREAMP Controls: Treble, Volume, Bass and Drive knobs Dimensions: 3.7” L x 4.6” W x 2” T Price: $249 stead of tubes, it clips harder than its amp counterpart would. But then again, it’s not really meant to transition from clean to dirty in that unique way that Benson amps do. Rather, it’s meant to push the front end of your amp. What’s interesting about the Preamp pedal is that it still maintains the feel of an amp, and it maintains aspects of the Chimera’s character. The Preamp’s circuit was origi- nally designed for the Chimera, and like the Chimera, it’s very versa- tile. It covers a ton of ground using four simple controls: Drive, Bass, Treble and Volume. So much so, that’s it’s hard for me to pinpoint one characteristic and say, “This is what the Preamp pedal sounds like.” It’s an excellent clean boost, thickening the midrange and add- ing an immediacy that makes it feel like your notes are jumping out at you. It’s a good light to mid-gain dirt pedal with a nice compression and a bright midrange, touching on areas usually belonging to classics like the Klon or the Tube Screamer, while never being harsh or ice- picky the way mid-range boosting distortions can get. Or, depending on your settings, it can also be a warm and smooth mid-to-lower high gain distortion. It never really does high gain distortion or real fuzz, but that’s not what it was designed for. But, speaking again to its versatility, you can get a very warm, classic rock-esque articulate fuzz tone out of it that sounds beautiful with delay or reverb. So when pressed how would I describe the Preamp? Amp-like feel, with a touch of Benson’s unique compression that imparts an immediacy to the notes you play. Tonally, it’s got a bright sweet mid-range, with an over- all warm, almost smokey British character that tempers the high midrange and prevents it from becoming harsh. Will it take a cheap rig that isn’t dialed in and make you sound like David Gilmour? No. Can’t hurt, but no. Is it a wel- come and unique drive sound in a world full of Klons and Tube Screamers? Absolutely. G TONE FATHER: The circuit in the Benson Preamp pedal is based on the one that appears in his Chimera 30 amplifier.