Updated May. 10, 2022

Tubesteader Sunkeeper

The Canadian folks at Tubesteader don’t mess around with the build of their pedals, maybe also because they like to fit them with rather fragile tubes to deliver the best possible tone. The Sunkeeper, a dual-channel preamp/overdrive recreating the sound of the Orange amps, is the third stompbox in the company’s roster, and the second one to feature not one but two 12AX7 vacuum tubes.

Designed to be connected into the front of the amp, into an FX return, or directly into a power amp, the Sunkeeper features two non-stackable channels: a Clean channel with Treble and Bass control and an OD channel with knobs for volume, gain, and bass, middle, and treble EQ. The Channel footswitch will alternate between the two.

A side-mounted OUT LVL switch offers two output options: a full output for connection to a power amp and an attenuated output with a slight high-cut for connection to an amp.

For those with peculiar vacuum tube preferences, the 12AX7 can be easily swapped with other models.

Here are the first videos of the Tubesteader Sunkeeper Preamp.

Tubesteader Sunkeeper, Builder’s Notes

The Sunkeeper is a fully-featured pedal-style preamp that meticulously recreates the authentic sound of the Orange amps. It’s designed to be connected into the front of the amp, into an FX return, or directly into a power amp. With an all-tube signal path and a pair of 12AX7 vacuum tubes operating at a high voltage of around 260V, it delivers the sound and feel of a real Orange amp, yet tamed and awaiting command at your feet.

Channels

The CLN channel features a non-master volume circuit and provides volume, treble, and bass controls.

The OD channel has volume, gain, and bass, middle, and treble EQ controls. Both channels are fully independent of each other, allowing you to dial in a vast range of tones with just about any guitar.

The side-mounted OUT LVL switch offers two output options: a full output for connection to a power amp and an attenuated output with slight high-cut for connection to the front of an amp.

Connect the Sunkeeper:

• INTO THE FRONT OF A GUITAR AMP
Flip the OUT LVL switch down to engage the attenuation mode. Adjust the amp’s tone control(s) to flat or centered. Let the Sunkeeper handle EQ and Gain preferences. The Sunkeeper may be chained with other pedals. Where
there are no rules, we suggest running overdrive or distortion pedals in front
of the Sunkeeper with ambient and modulation devices behind it.

• DIRECTLY INTO A POWER AMP or powered speaker. Flip the OUT LVL switch up to enable full output mode.

• INTO FX-RETURN JACK
Since the FX-loop circuits differ between amp models, the choice of output level will depend on your amp.

• INTO A MIXING CONSOLE OR RECORDING INTERFACE
Flip the OUT LVL switch down to engage the attenuation mode.

Tube Selection

The Sunkeeper comes with a pair of 12AX7 vacuum tubes installed.
To explore additional tonal possibilities, the stock tubes can be swapped with equivalent preamp tubes from other brands.

When powering up from a cold state, please allow the Sunkeeper to warm-up a few minutes before playing. The tubes run warm to the
touch under normal operation