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MF Boost worth it?

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MF Boost worth it?

Postby EMwhite » Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:21 pm

Looking to pickup a Boost, primarily for VCA duties and will have it at the end of my signal chain.

Yeah, it's a bit expensive for that, add an EP-3 and it's $180 bucks; As a guitar player, it's best to push your tube amp I think so my use case is a bit strange, in fact, I'll have it in my effects loop between my Mesa's tube front end and the solid state rear. But weigh $109 for a good quality volume pedal against $180 and I'd rather have my audio passing through a well crafted circuit rather than a $1.50 alpha potentiometer.

For reference, my bass rig is:

Fender '75 re-issue Jazz Bass or Fender 60's Roadworn w/flats into a Carl Martin Compressor/Limiter into MF-DRIVE
MF-DRIVE into a Lehle little looper which when engaged goes into TC MojoMojo -> GGG B:assmaster clone
Lehle exits and goes into Mesa amp

Then:

Mesa effect loop which is between Tube stage and solid state stage doesn't have any level on it comes out then into a EchoRec pedal and into TC Flashback x4 then back to amp.

I was going to put the MF Boost after the x4. Could use it for a rudimentary trem driven by LFO also.

I know this is a synth-heavy crowd but any feedback on the Boost in general?
'76 Minimoog, Taurus 3, Oberheim FVS + Son of 2-voice; Sequential ProOne; Juno 106; Moog Model 15; Kurzweil 250; Hammond M3; and a handful of Fender Basses Flickr!
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Re: MF Boost worth it?

Postby Alien8 » Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:35 am

My initial response is yes. The VCA ability is the reason, it sets it apart from all other boosters & volume pedals to us Moog cork sniffers.

That said, for the position you intend to use it, the $1.50 pot is better suited. If you are using the pedal as a VCA to do "guitar volume duties" it is better suited in front of your MF Drive, or in front of your pre amp. But don't let me tell you that. IMO it is more musical before drive... The tone enhancing part could be useful for note articulation on bass, and in this location it wouldn't affect the effect created by your delays etc.

I'm having a similar debate. I don't need it, have stuff that "tonally" does what this does, it just that damn VCA part (with added gain) that is completely appealing to me. Volume swells are cool, but being able to swell louder than your current volume is awesome. Being able to have a fully customizable & tap sync able tremolo is a huge plus, and the whole automated volume swell a la slow gear is geek. This thing fills gaps that I feel I have. Lol... Or I could practice more and figure out how to do this the manual way.

For guitar, the pedal is a great tool for the tone crazy. For bass it's useful, but only so much - at least for traditional playing. If I didn't have 2 EQs and at least 5 pedals all offering boost on my board, it would already be there.
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Re: MF Boost worth it?

Postby EMwhite » Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:16 pm

Alien8 wrote:That said, for the position you intend to use it, the $1.50 pot is better suited. If you are using the pedal as a VCA to do "guitar volume duties" it is better suited in front of your MF Drive, or in front of your pre amp.


You might be right except I spend so much money on pedals and cable to avoid tone sucking so don't want to lose anything if I can help it. There are pedals which say that they are buffered/have boost to avoid tone loss within the volume pedal but in the end they just have a TL072 op-amp and a few passive components; not exactly hi-fidelity.

I trust Moog with my signal chain and anticipate a broad range from clean boost down to massive attenuation which is what I want. I want my signal chain up and to this intended position to be at full dynamic range then just before output to final amplification, I want to be able to adjust the volume with my foot; not sure much for a built in effect (unless I can get the poor-mans trem going) but to play more dynamically as required by whatever it is that I'm playing not to mention to adjust the variability that I have elsewhere on my pedal board.

I found two volume pedals that look to do really good jobs at being NOT a $1.50 potentiometer in a metal hinged pedal and they are Hilton and Goodrich; both are more than the MF Boost and pedal combo and I think I get more options by going this way. If I pull the trigger, I'll update this thread. Obsession for the moment is trading my Schecter Hellcat Bass VI for a Fender Hoppus. I don't really need a 4th Fender but I want this one. It's ef'fing madness, and it's endless...
'76 Minimoog, Taurus 3, Oberheim FVS + Son of 2-voice; Sequential ProOne; Juno 106; Moog Model 15; Kurzweil 250; Hammond M3; and a handful of Fender Basses Flickr!
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Re: MF Boost worth it?

Postby stiiiiiiive » Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:06 pm

(Passion is not often about needing stuffs... :) )
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Re: MF Boost worth it?

Postby Vsyevolod » Wed Dec 25, 2013 11:27 pm

We die a lot longer than we live...

Stephen




.
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Re: MF Boost worth it?

Postby Alien8 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:45 am

Bought one. Will report my test findings once I have plugged it in. :|
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Re: MF Boost worth it?

Postby stiiiiiiive » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:50 pm

Please do :)
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Re: MF Boost worth it?

Postby Alien8 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:51 am

After testing a few different scenarios I'm still not convinced I have a need for it... At least regularly.

Yes this is probably the cleanest most neutral sounding boost I've heard. Yes it does actually do a zero to unity VCA duty. The tone knob is quite similar to the tone on the guitar when below 12 o'clock. Above 12 it does do some very useful EQing. Kind of like a bright switch...

Using an EP2 swells are nice and even the added boost is great & clean. Driving the exp with an LFO produces a very adjustable tremolo, providing what I will call the most versatile tremolo I've ever heard. You can make up "volume drops" natural to the tremolo effect easily. It sounds really nice as a trem.

There is enough gain to push pedals and amps into a good overdrive. And the tone helps keep the mud away.

What I didn't like was that you can't do a true zero to boost swell. You have some bleed thru a the lowest volume when the max is set to boost. The gain knob seems to select the max and minimum for exp control.

Also, it didn't like being driven. I sent a hot signal into it and I got what sounded like digital clipping! Yuck!

As a clean boost /volume pedal / bright switch - this is awesome. As a last in chain VCA you will need to control your level into it. There is some room for forgiveness, but not much IMO. EM, Try before you buy!
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Re: MF Boost worth it?

Postby stiiiiiiive » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:15 am

Thank you for the review :)
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Re: MF Boost worth it?

Postby EMwhite » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:43 pm

I thought I thanked you for the review also but I see that I did not.

But I bought before I tried, so buy before try I guess.

It's a hedge on the Volume pedal use case; albeit an expensive one but as I may have written prior, there are audiophile quality volume pedals out there for about $200; Happier going with this.

Interested in seeing how this might work as a VCA; I saw your note regarding the fact that you can't shut the VCA all the way off; I'll see what I can add to that.

Also interested in seeing how it might work with a high speed LFO of various shapes. I'm a sucker for Moog gear... will let you know.
'76 Minimoog, Taurus 3, Oberheim FVS + Son of 2-voice; Sequential ProOne; Juno 106; Moog Model 15; Kurzweil 250; Hammond M3; and a handful of Fender Basses Flickr!
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Re: MF Boost worth it?

Postby EMwhite » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:15 am

Boost = worth it

Got mine yesterday along with an EP-3. Very very nice. It serves the purpose; clean VCA for my pedal board/bass rig. Have also had a blast running a straight LFO and sequenced/slewed waveforms for trem effect. In both cases, it sits at the end of my chain between the Tube front end and Solid state back end of my Mesa amp.

Also tried it in 'front' which is to say, it's my Carl Martin Compressor/Limiter -> MF Boost; With all controls maxed (aka "High Gain" setting as prescribed in the manual), it drives my Mesa's tube stage into fuzzy warmth.

So now it's MF-Drive at the front of my chain and MF-Boost as the last pedal.

In the VCA use case, it's GAIN at 0, Level at about 2 o'clock, and TONE maxed for what I've confirmed as unity, no coloration whatsoever. Nice!
'76 Minimoog, Taurus 3, Oberheim FVS + Son of 2-voice; Sequential ProOne; Juno 106; Moog Model 15; Kurzweil 250; Hammond M3; and a handful of Fender Basses Flickr!
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Re: MF Boost worth it?

Postby Alien8 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:15 pm

That's good to hear! I returned mine, since I'm at the point where if it's not "100% essential" its going back. Great pedal - and I likely will reach a point where I do buy it to keep, just not now.

(lol - essential is a broom with a rubber band, but y'know what I mean).
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Re: MF Boost worth it?

Postby Alien8 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:57 pm

Lol, I came across an early version MF-Boost used at a really good price. I did some internet searching and re-found my post about returning it, with the stipulation that I will buy it again. Well, there you go.

It's better than I remember, and I'm using an EHX 8-Step to do tremolo stuff, and MIDI to CV volume swells with an expression pedal. My only complaint is the level of hiss produced when in the Boost mode, but the tone enhancement is worth the noise, so it's all relative in the end.
Vibration emanates from all things, even nothing. Using awareness to translate vibration into "music" is something that I am whole heartedly grateful for.
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