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Two notes ReVolt Guitar & ReVolt Bass

Two notes ReVolt Guitar & ReVolt Bass

These new all‑analogue simulations run a real tube on a high‑voltage supply, and cover a useful range of tonalities.

Two notes are well known for their digital amp and cab simulators, but several years ago they released the analogue LE preamp series, and in many ways the new ReVolt amp and speaker emulation pedals can be regarded as their successors. The ReVolt pedals not only feature analogue drive and tone circuits, but also all‑analogue speaker emulation. It’s a path that’s already been trodden successfully by Tech 21’s SansAmp range, and a refreshing change from the myriad digital emulations now available. There are two separate models, one intended for electric guitar, the other for bass guitar.

ReVolt Guitar

The Revolt Guitar is a three‑channel pedal that incorporates a 12AX7/ECC83 valve in the signal path, and this runs on high‑voltage power rails, with a view to ensuring that the pedal delivers an authentic valve tone and responsiveness. The pedal includes send and return jacks plus outputs on both an unbalanced jack and a balanced XLR DI feed. There’s also a 3.5mm ’phones output and a 3.5mm aux in jack for use with ‘play‑along’ tracks and the like. Note that the cab sim is applied only to the headphone and XLR outputs, which means that the always ‘unsimulated’ jack output of the pedal can be plugged into a guitar amplifier — obviously a handy feature for on‑stage performances, where you can plug into your amp while sending the speaker‑emulated XLR feed to the PA.

Measuring just 19.2 x 11.7 x 7cm this pedal weighs a reassuringly hefty 830g, and its three footswitches are used to select the three amp channels (bypass is achieved by pressing the first two pedals at the same time). Each switch has a different‑colour status LED, while the valve, which is visible through a small window, also has a backlight. The pedal requires a 12V DC power source capable of 600mA or above, and a suitable laptop‑style PSU with a short mains lead is included. An internal voltage multiplier provides the high voltage (200V) for the valve circuitry. The balanced XLR DI output is protected against the application of phantom power.

Of course, even those of us who use amps and pedals work with DAW software these days, so Two notes have thoughtfully included a lifetime licence for their Torpedo Wall Of Sound plug‑in, along with a selection of 10 of their DynIR cabinets, which means you can experiment with different speaker types and virtual mic setups when recording as an alternative to using the built‑in analogue simulator. (Further DynIR cabinets are available to purchase.)

The three channels are all based on the characteristics of real amps. Channel 1 is designated American Clean, and it wouldn’t be over‑reaching to suggest that this is inspired by early Fender amplifiers; it ranges from clean to a warm saturation, but stops short of full‑on distortion. Channel 2 is British Crunch so, again, no prizes for guessing what this is designed to emulate — especially when we see the word ‘Plexi’ in the description. Channel 3, called Modern Lead, is for those who like loads of gain. With its tight lows and harmonically rich distortion, this channel lends itself well to high‑gain rock and metal.

Clearly there isn’t space to give each amp its own three‑band EQ, but the top‑panel control layout for each amp section comprises four knobs. Gain and Volume are provided for all three. American Clean has Bass and Treble EQ controls, while the variable Boost, with its white knob, is located in the British Crunch channel, which just has a Bass control for EQ. Modern Lead has EQ for Mid and for Treble. The Boost, which is adjustable up to 20dB and centred at 1.1kHz, can be used with any channel by pressing the active channel footswitch to toggle it on or off; when active the backlight behind the valve changes from orange to red.

All three ‘amps’ have their distinct sound and respond well to playing dynamics, which in turn lends them a comfortable playing feel.

The front panel hosts the two mini‑jacks used for the headphones output and aux input, as well as small toggle switches for cab sim on/off and for ‘4‑Cable’ pedal connection mode, the latter activating the insert sockets. All the main power and signal connections are located on the rear panel. These include MIDI in and out on mini‑jacks (defaulting to channel, bypass and effects loop switching) and effects loop jacks, as well as the main input and output jacks and the DI balanced XLR, which has a ground‑lift button. When using the balanced XLR output the maximum signal level available is +11dBu. There are also options for using MIDI to recall channels with a user‑defined default effects loop state. An online link for the instructions to achieve this sent me to a 404 error page, but I’m told this page is now live (the pedals weren’t yet available for purchase during the review period).

If you plan to use the ReVolt Guitar for headphone practice you’ll find the insert points very useful, since any guitar amp models heard dry can tend to sound rather sterile when there’s a complete lack of environmental acoustics; add a little ambience reverb or a simulated spring reverb from another pedal and the sound really comes to life. This isn’t a problem when playing live, of course, as the venue will have its own acoustic properties, and you may well also be using a pedalboard to add delay or reverb effects. In the studio, there are so many reverb and delay plug‑ins available that adding life to the sound is just not an issue.

All three ‘amps’ have their distinct sound and respond well to playing dynamics, which in turn lends them a comfortable playing feel. Being analogue, there’s absolutely no latency to worry about and although the analogue speaker sim doesn’t have quite the detail of an IR‑based approach, it certainly sounds very believable — and it’s sure to keep your live‑sound engineer happy too! In the studio, I’d be temped to take a clean feed into the computer and to use the Wall If Sound IR‑based plug‑in, so as to give me more tonal options. Channel 1 delivers well‑balanced and very usable clean tones, with the boost adding some useful ‘hair’, but I particularly liked the second channel with its ‘Milton Keynes’ UK vibe, as it can go from a sweet almost‑clean tone to a nice bluesy crunch, or you can kick in the boost and go up to classic rock. Channel 3 gets you into Black Sabbath territory and edges towards that ‘veins in your teeth’ Scandi metal sound.

Both pedals feature effects‑loop jacks on the rear, to allow connection of other pedals between the amp and speaker emulations.Both pedals feature effects‑loop jacks on the rear, to allow connection of other pedals between the amp and speaker emulations.

ReVolt Bass

The ReVolt Bass comes in the same physical format, and again includes the valve stage and offers three channels. The first, Classic Clean, is voiced to deliver the big, solid sound of an Ampeg SVT ’76. I found this channel to have an exceptional tonal range, covering everything from a soft and deep Motown thump to twangy funk, and even with the gain right up, it remains relatively clean.

Channel 2 is called Vintage Dirt and is inspired by Marshall’s JMP Super Bass MkII, built in the early 1990s. Again, this is a powerful sound but it has the ability to add in a little dirt. It can replicate the sound Jack Bruce obtained from earlier Marshall amps when playing with Cream, or any of the classic rock bands that followed, come to that!

Channel 3 is an original Two notes amp, designed to offer a lot of gain while remaining ‘tight’. With the treble and gain up full this produces a very authentic fuzz bass tone, and this benefits from just a little clean sound being blended in, to keep the sound solid. Back off the drive and pull back the treble for a still dirty but less fuzzy sound. (You might want to try this channel if you’re in a Stranglers covers band!)

All three channels have Gain and Volume controls, but again the tone controls are different. The first channel has Bass and Treble; channel 2 has Bass and Mid; and channel 3 just a Treble control, with the remaining knob being used as a Dry/Wet blend for that channel only.

Final Thoughts

As amp replacements, then, both these pedals sound good and clearly have a lot to offer, and you can also use these pedals with an amp, to expand the range of tonal options. To do that you could plug directly into an existing guitar/bass amp that’s set to clean, though this approach means you also get the preamp of your ‘real’ amp colouring the sound, so to make this work you may find that you have to make some top‑cut and bass‑boost EQ changes. If your amp has one, going into the loop return jack might produce more accurate results — this way, you’re just using the amp’s power stage and speaker.

The circuitry of both these pedals is creditably quiet, and if you do hear unwanted noise the chances are that it will be coming in via your guitar cable rather than being generated by the pedals’ circuitry and, of course, unwanted pickup noise does tend to get louder when you turn up the channel gain.

With sensible pricing, solid build quality, simplicity of operation and appealing sonic performance, both of these ReVolt series pedals do a fine job with the absolute minimum of complication.


These two all‑analogue devices run a real preamp tube at high voltage, and do a great job of replicating the sound of a useful handful of guitar and bass amps, whether for use in combination with a real amp or to replace one.


£349 each including VAT.

$399 each.

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