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Blackstone Appliances Mosfet Overdrive 2S Pedal

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Blackstone Appliances Mosfet Overdrive 2S Pedal

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Quick Overview

 Blackstone Appliances  Jon Blackstone handcrafts guitar distortion devices that  generate low-order harmonics, and are responsive to  dynamics. This is the type of di...

 Blackstone Appliances 


Jon Blackstone handcrafts guitar distortion devices that  generate low-order harmonics, and are responsive to  dynamics. This is the type of distortion that re-shapes the  body of the note, instead of coating it with a noisy fizz. 


As a guitarist/inventor, Jon has pursued these  characteristics for many years, using a variety of  technologies including overdriven tube output stages.  Interestingly, he has achieved the best results not with  tube circuits, but with small-signal MOSFETs and an  unconventional input stage.


The Mosfet  Overdrive 2S provides two footswitchable channels, each  with its own drive and level settings, and true mechanical  bypass. 


Where the vast majority of overdrive pedals create  distortion with a pair of head-to-toe diodes, the Mosfet  Overdrive instead utilizes four gain stages, each  contributing a small amount of soft clipping. This avoids  intermodulation and the creation of fizzy high-order  harmonics, just as in the best vintage amps. Those amps  sound good in large part because the distortion does not  occur at just one point. 


The Blackstone circuit is also unusual in that it interacts  with the inductance of your guitar's pickups to get its  unique dynamic response. It is very sensitive to playing  dynamics, but translates them into changes in waveform  distortion, rather than passing them on as changes in  output level. This gives you a greater range of expression  in your picking technique, but at the same time evens out  volume differences. Because the guitar's pickups and  controls are actually part of the input stage, you can get  anything from a juicy, harmonic-laden lead sound to a  barely-breaking twang with just the guitar's volume  control. 


The Mosfet Overdrive is designed to provide these  sought-after distortion characteristics entirely on its  own. It is not a "boost" pedal meant to cause distortion to  occur in your amp. The ideal amp to use with it is the one  that best gets the clean sound that you like. The  Blackstone will take it from there. 



The 3 main ways in which the Blackstone sounds different: 


No fizz.  Like a good amp, the Mosfet Overdrive imparts  harmonics that seem integral to the tone, as opposed to a  disconnected fizz. This is not just filtering after the  distortion, but a tailoring of each stage to prevent the  generation of high-order harmonics in the first place. It's  glassy at low settings, becoming fat and midrangey when  cranked. This is the opposite behavior of most pedals,  which get thinner and fizzier at high settings.


Control it from your guitar.  Another area where the  Blackstone stands out is in how you can control it with the  volume control on your guitar. If you listen to this mp3  soundfile, you'll hear how the TS-808 tubescreamer, the  Klon Centaur and the Matchless Hot Box just get a little  brighter when the guitar volume is increased from 6 to 10,  while the Blackstone runs the gamut from almost clean to a  fully saturated sound. The Blackstone must be the first  effect after the guitar to acheive this. 


It doesn't "plink". Many distortion devices tend to  over-hype attack transients, giving each note the same  "chirp" regardless of what you're doing with the pick. The  Mosfet circuit exhibits a minimum of this tendency. It only  spits when you dig in. It emphasizes the body of the note,  making it easier to get notes to hang on, but with none of  the "auto-pilot" feel of a gain-riding compressor. 




The controls on the 2s are slotted-shaft pots flush with  the etched steel nameplate on the top of the pedal. They  can be easily turned with your thumbnail, yet hold their  settings when the pedal is stuffed into a gig bag. The  post-distortion EQ control morphs between the original  Blackstone voicing and a 10dB mid cut. 


At higher drive settings, the Mosfet Overdrive is very  sensitive to the differences between pickups. For this  reason, the drive control for the "red" channel is divided  into two ranges - one which causes single-coil pickups to  sound fatter as maximum drive is approached, and one which  tightens the bass when humbuckers or P-90s are used. In its  standard mode, the circuit interacts with the guitar's  pickups, so it needs to be the first effect after the  guitar. There is now an internal switch that puts the pedal  into "buffered" mode, permitting use after other effects,  wireless systems and active pickups. 


It's important to remember that recommendations you hear on  overdrive pedals often stem from somebody getting a good  sound out of a combination of a certain pedal with a  certain amp, when a lot of the distortion was actually  occurring in the amp. Again, the Blackstone is intended to  get the distortion on its own, into whatever amp is  suitable (or available) for the gig you're playing. 


Distorting the electric guitar is a very subjective thing.  Probably every pedal, preamp or amp out there, no matter  how it sounds, is the perfect thing for somebody out there.  But if "fizz" or "plinkiness" bothers you, and you want  something that inspires expressive playing, check out the  Blackstone.


Fabulous, natural-sounding overdrive. Not fizzy at all.  Extremely responsive to picking technique. Lets the natural  tone of your guitar through. Friendly with downstream  pedals. Hands-down the best construction quality I've ever  seen in a pedal, boutique or otherwise.


As with some vintage fuzz pedals, the Blackstone circuit  interacts with the inductance of your guitar’s pickups,  translating playing dynamics into changes in waveform  distortion, rather than passing them on as changes in  output level. The Blackstone pedal also allows adjustment  to the internal circuitry. Removing the backplate reveals  (in addition to the 9-volt battery) a small switch that  converts the pedal from unbuffered to buffered. In  unbuffered mode, it is recommended that you place the pedal  immediately after your guitar in your effects chain, like  some fuzz pedals. If you need to place it after another  effect, engaging the buffering prevents fizziness at  high-gain settings.




Bypass footswitch

Channel footswitch

Pilot light

(red or amber to indicate channel, off to indicate bypass)

“Red” channel drive adjustment

(minimum at 12:00, clockwise increase for single-coil  pickups, counterclockwise for humbucking)

“Red” channel level adjustment

“Brown” channel drive adjustment

“Brown” channel level adjustment

Post-distortion EQ adjustment

(cuts midrange at 750Hz, up to 10dB)



Input: 1/4" phone

Ouput: 1/4" phone

Power: 5.5 x 2.1mm barrel jack, center negative



one 9V battery, alkaline recommended

or 9VDC AC adapter (not supplied)

Power consumption: ~ 17 mA


Internal adjustments:

Stage 2 Gain, Stage 2 Treble

(adj. w/jeweler’s screwdriver)


Bypass switching:

True mechanical bypass


User-replaceable components:

Socket-mounted capacitor that limits output presence

Socket-mounted capacitor that tunes Red Channel bass at  counter-clockwise setting



Cast aluminum chassis with power-coat finish, Carling  switches, FR4 (Epoxy-Fiberglass) plated-through-hole  circuit boards, No electrolytic or tantalum capacitors in  the signal path. Made in USA.*



4.4(112mm)W x 2.4(61mm)D x 1.25(32mm)H to top of enclosure,  2(51mm) Ht