Blackstone Appliances MOSFET Overdrive 2SV3 Pedal
The Blackstone Appliances MOSFET Overdrive model 2SV3 is a unique pedal that uses small signal MOSFETs instead of clipping diodes to generate distortion. The circuit uses four gain stages, each contributing a small amount of clipping much like a tube guitar amplifier. The circuit also interacts with your guitar’s pickups giving it a very dynamic response.
There are two footswitchable channels, Brown and Red that are annunciated by a single LED turning red or a yellow/brown corresponding to its channel. Each channel has its own Drive and Level controls and the pedal is true bypass. A common mid control (which is post distortion) keeps the mids flat or you can adjust for a 10dB cut at 750Hz. This control is very useful when using different guitars and different amps. The mid control is much more effective than a tone control found on many overdrive pedals. The Drive control for the Red channel is divided into two ranges clockwise from center for single coil pickups and counter clockwise from center for humbuckers. An internal switch lets you switch from buffered mode for use with wireless systems or after other pedals in your pedal chain and standard mode for using the pedal with a wire directly from the guitar into the Blackstone. Also inside there is a socket mounted capacitor that limits overall presence and another socket mounted capacitor for tuning the Red channel. Either of these capacitors can be changed to tailor the pedal. With two small pots also located inside the pedal you can adjust second stage gain and second stage treble with a small jeweler’s screwdriver. There is a lot of flexibility in fine tuning the Blackstone to your personal taste.
The test guitar that was used was a Telecaster type guitar with Jason Lollar Imperial humbuckers. This guitar had a swamp ash body with a maple neck and was based on the Jeff Beck Tele-Gib that Seymour Duncan built for him.
The test amp was a 5F6-A Bassman clone using Mercury Magnetics transformers, Sozo caps, carbon comp resistors, a Larry Rodgers tweed covered pine cabinet and 4- Weber VST, 10A125 speakers. Current production Sovtek 12AX7LPS’s and Tung Sol 5881’s were used and the GZ34 was an N.O.S. General Electric. The amp was hand built by me here at 300Guitars.
The Tele-Gib was plugged into the Normal channel of the amp with the Volume at 10 o’clock, Treble 2 o’clock, Bass 9 o’clock, Middle 2 o’clock and Presence at 2 o’clock. With these settings the guitar straight through the amp sounded fantastic and the Lollar Imperials will have their own review in the near future. Jon Blackstone recommends that you set your amp with a great clean sound and let the pedal take care of the overdrive. This is a different approach than having the amp slightly overdriven and your overdrive pedal of choice drive it the rest of the way. So with a great warm, clean sound dialed up the Brown channel was engaged. There was no popping sound when engaging the unit and the pedal was very quiet with no hiss or background noise. The Drive was set at 2 o’clock and the Level also at 2 o’clock. The common mid control was set at straight up 12 o’clock. This setting yielded a really nice, fat, light to medium overdriven sound. And just as stated in the literature the pedal was very dynamic responding to your picking attack. With the guitars volume control rolled down the sound cleaned up and had a nice shimmer to it for rhythm work. So far the Blackstone sounded fantastic. Up next was the Red channel. The Drive was set to about 8 o’clock in the humbucker zone and the Level set to about 11 o’clock. The overdrive sound was amazigly 3D and juicy. It made the amp sound huge but not bloated or overbearing. There was a nice push in the mids that cut through the stage volume without any problem. The Red channel was then tried at 4 o’clock in the single coil range even though this guitar had humbuckers. The overdrive got fatter and juicier and sounded even better. This was probably due to the fact that the Tele-Gib with the swamp ash body and maple neck was not as dark as a Les Paul or similar type guitar to begin with. So the word here is experiment with this pedal! Again there was no popping when switching channels or background hiss. The Red channel sustained quite well and again when rolling down the guitars volume control the sound cleaned up for rhythm work.
The next test was done to confirm what you hear on the Blackstone’s mp3 sound clips. The Tele-Gib was plugged into the Blackstone and out into a boutique TS-808 clone making a chain of two pedals. The 808 clone was set with the Drive at 3 o’clock, Tone at 1 o’clock and Level at 2 o’clock while the amp and Blackstone remained set the same way. The 808 clone had a great sound with nice clarity and a singing overdrive tone. Not too shrill or broad cutting through stage volume exceptionally well. This is a classic sounding pedal that is very useable in many types of settings. But compared to the Blackstone it sounded somehow anemic and lacked dynamic expression. The depth of the Blackstone is amazing and the sound will make you think that you are actually playing through a tube amp and there is no pedal. This just may be the best overdrive pedal on the market today.
Inside the pedal the workmanship is excellent and all the components and hardware is top notch. This unit is built to last indefinitely. It is small (4.4″x 2.4″) and will not take up a lot of real estate on your pedal board or space in your gig bag. Power requirements are 9V DC with a current draw of 17mA. You can use either a battery or a 5.5 x 2.1mm barrel jack center negative power supply.
The Blackstone MOSFET Overdrive 2SV3 is an excellent overdrive pedal that deceives the listener into thinking that the sound is not coming from a pedal but from a great tube amp. It is extremely touch sensitive and is very versatile. This is a must have pedal for players that like natural vintage sounding overdrive. The pedal is available directly from Jon Blackstone. Ordering is easy and pedals ship almost instantaneously. The direct price is $225.00 plus $9.00 shipping.