JHS Colour Box

Unless you have Dave Grohl kind of  money, you are probably only familiar with the charms of the Neve console indirectly. Used on famous recordings by artists from The Beatles to Nirvana to Daft Punk, Neve consoles are a big part of analog recording mythology.

While the rest of us can’t afford these prized British babies, thanks to JHS, we can summon the mojo of at least one channel with the Colour Box (get it? The British like to spell stuff differently, and drive on the left). The killer thing about this pedal is that it can be applied in two ways: you can use it like a normal stomp box, between your guitar and your amp. In this configuration, you can achieve live tones normally achieved in the studio by bypassing your amp, and plugging your guitar and effects chain straight in to the console. In my tests, with a clean Sunn Model T with the “Step” knob all the way down, I was able to get “O Darling” and Kinks-type sounds. From there, cranking up “Step” (which controls the second gain stage) will dial close-mic Surfer Rosa era Pixies tones.

The other way to use this pedal is as an actual preamp channel. The pedal includes a XLR input and output, so you can use this after a mic/keyboard/whatever, and record with impressive results. Additionally, when in XLR mode, the pedal’s 1?4” output stays live. Using both outputs, it is possible to achieve a nice mix of DI and mic’ed amp tone when recording.

Considering a Neve studio channel is > 500, this pedal is a serious deal. The fact that it is a faithful reproduction of the classic Neve pre means you know it will sound great. All that, plus sharp mod looks, what’s not to like? – Nathan Smith