Steel Guitar Black Box additional info for guitar
analog man guitar effects
The Steel Guitar Black Box is the ultimate tone enhancer for amplified
musical instruments. It is a simple device using a single 12AX7 vacuum
tube, yet it has a profound effect on just about any instrument signal that passes
though it. The SGBB is a true, audiophile quality, vacuum tube pickup driver
(buffer/impedance matcher) especially designed for enhancing and preserving
the tone of magnetic guitar pickups, yet it has proven to be very effective with
acoustic instrument pickups, electronic keyboards and drum machines, studio
line-level audio signals, and much more.
When used with steel or electric guitar, the Black Box is placed directly
after the pickup and before any effect or volume pedals. This pickup/tube
interaction is central to the SGBB's maximum effectiveness. By having the pickup
directly "see" the tube, all of the benefits of the tube are maximized, and all of
the potential of the pickup is captured. The exception to this placement rule
is with the use of fuzz, booster, and some distortion type pedals which
should always be placed first in line as they need to directly interact with the
pickup and guitar's volume control. In those cases, the "fuzz" pedal would go
before the Black Box in the chain.
The Black Box's low output impedance will easily drive just about any device
without subjecting your sound to tone-killing capacitive loads or inadequate
input circuits as found in many effect units. The Black Box runs extremely
clean, capturing an amazing amount of detail and nuance. There is also a harmonic
enhancement that is naturally created by the tube which adds a fat, warm,
sweet and musical smoothness that you just can't achieve with the use of
transistors or digital modeling devices. This natural tube characteristic is at the
heart of the Black Box's ability to bring out and enhance the richness of an
The Vari-Z variable impedance control acts as perhaps the most musical tone
control you'll ever hear on a magnetic pickup. It ranges from a dark and
mellow 33kOhms to a crisp and clear 1MegOhm load, a common tube amp input
impedance. The Steel Guitar Black Box is a unity gain device. It is not a booster.
That way your other level settings such as compressor threshold, overdrive, or
amp gain levels will behave much as they did before the addition of the SGBB.
For years there have been impedance matching devices for this purpose of
conditioning or buffering the pickup's signal so that it doesn't suffer tone loss
as it works its way thru volume pedals, effect units, long cables, etc. on its
way to the amp's input. The biggest complaint over the years seems to have
been that when compared to tubes, these transistor devices lack the harmonic and
dynamic richness and warmth that steel and electric guitar players desire.
Being a purely tube device, the SGBB not only preserves the pickup's signal, it
actually enhances it.
The SGBB has found its home both on stage and in the studio whether it's
driving an amp, a chain of effects pedals, or a direct input. It can also breathe
real tube life into your sound when used before a digital modeling device.
When used with piezo type acoustic pickups, the Black Box does an amazing job of
taming that typical hard, brittle, crispy high end, as it turns the sound into
something much more natural, sweet, and musical. The end result is an
acoustic instrument that sounds much more like wood and strings, and a lot less like
a pickup or transducer.
Unlike so many tube products out there today, the SGBB is designed like
audiophile or very high-end pro studio gear. No starved plate voltages here. The
tube is run extremely clean with a robust 300V B+ supply as well as a
humless DC heater supply. The Black Box is not an overdrive unit. The circuit uses
only the finest, hi-grade components to preserve and enhance the richness and
complex overtones generated by amplified, stringed musical instruments.
Handmade exotic film and foil capacitors imported from France, and carefully
selected Kiwame carbon film and Vishay metal film audiophile resistors help
contribute to the warmth, sweetness, and high performance of the SGBB. A dedicated
tuner output jack is also provided so your tuner can stay out of the direct
signal path. And with the use of a volume pedal placed after the SGBB, you can
silently tune on the fly, and with great ease.
Hand built in the USA, the Steel Guitar Black Box is the finest pure-tube
buffer device available today.
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