You are here

Koch Pedaltone

Tube Guitar Preamp
By Paul White

Housed in an impressively tough stainless steel chassis, the Koch Pedaltone uses four twin‑triode valves, one of which is in the output stage, enabling power amp saturation to be replicated. A speaker simulator is included for recording or DI'ing.

KOCH PEDALTONE tube guitar preamp.Eight jack sockets on the rear of the unit provide enough flexibility for most live and studio requirements, though power comes from a consumer‑style external adaptor. Latching footswitches cater for performance control, while 11 knobs set up the sound for each of the two channels and for the power amp drive simulation. A rear‑panel Channel 1 Enhance switch allows you to introduce a subtle tonal change, adding a little more top and making the mids sound slightly scooped, for that 'more Stratty than Strat' rhythm sound.

The overdrive characteristics and playing dynamics of the Pedaltone are, unsurprisingly, very similar to those of a tube amp, and clean sounds with just enough drive to add a hint of jangle are nicely authentic. For recording, I feel the overdrive sound is somewhat let down by the speaker simulator — the mid‑range is pretty authentic, but there's no real bottom‑end kick even with bass EQ boost, and the high end has a somewhat fizzy edge which might (generously) be interpreted as sounding slightly American. Played through a guitar amp, however, even at very low levels, these problems are swept aside and the results can be extremely good. If you record using a small amp miked up, the Pedaltone therefore makes an excellent front end, but for DI recording I'd prefer the results from a good modelling preamp.

Pros

  • Flexible two-channel control layout.
  • Amp drive emulation is very good.

Cons

  • External PSU inappropriate for live performance.
  • Speaker simulator lacks depth and allows a lttle too much buzzy top end through.

Summary

A well-made preamp that sounds great through a small guitar amp, but less effective when DI'd.

information

565 Euros (about £350) including sales tax.

Koch Guitar Electronics +31 (0)174 515015.

www.koch-amps.com

Published February 2002