Rubber Soul

(Released 4-2019)(1st 22 have original SAG knob, Marc changed it after)

guitar preamp that emulates the sound and feel of a small British tube combo

Goes from pristine clean to hot and jangly to smoky, slightly ragged overdrive, with a 2-band eq that is voiced just right. Transparent when bass and treble are at noon and plenty of flavors available including mid scoop, mid hump, bright, dark, thin, and fat.

All that is followed up with an optical compressor circuit designed to emulate a sagging GZ34 tube rectifier, a saturated output transformer, and over-loaded voice coils & speaker cones for that ultimate small combo experience. But the compressor is subtle, mainly a limiter and not super squashy, especially when the drive, bass, and/or treble are set low. Virtually zero effect when drive is set all the way down.


Update: I have stated in the manual and elsewhere that the sag control is a subtle limiter and does not get squashy. This is mainly because a pre-production prototype was suffering some unwanted fizz being injected into the audio when used full bore. The production version introduced some very effective means to eliminate that cross talk between the optical circuit and the audio circuit, so I am now revisiting the sag function to make it go full squash. Will bring down the volume level when turned full up at this stage in its development, but I’ll try to minimize that effect as much as possible.

If anybody wants the full-squash mod/upgrade to their Rubber Soul (for any serial # before 22), I’ll pay your shipping… Okay, so now full-squash is accomplished without an accompanying excess volume drop at full sag control setting. Done starting with serial #23.

“…Matter of fact, the original idea for the RS was to be the “clean” side of a big, multi-drive workstation. There was to be a Fender alternative to go along with the Vox voice for the clean side, then on the dirty side, it could alternate between an in-betweenish Marshally dirt and a full-out high-gain Marshall disto.

But I couldn’t wait and just had to get this Voxey thing out right away.”

“… I have the Rubber Soul and the Hybrid Overdrive both on my board at the same time. The Soul has a wonderful chimey jangle (although not in any over-the-top, cartoonish way–still has a natural and versatile quality) that is tight and cuts but not very sustainy, where the HOD is great for a more open and sustaining sound (and yes airy). Stacked, they remind me of some live Gilmour tones, where the articulation is right up front and the tone is beautiful and crunchy and of course sustains but is never swamped out or over-powered by the effect.”

(grubgoat asked) ” And how does this compare to the Dynamic Mids Enhancer? And is the limiter function similar to the limiter on the Skrecho?” MARC: “

The DME is not an amp emulator, it is an audio signal revitalizer (cleanly adds sparkle, articulation, and dynamics). The gain-emphasis controls on the DME are not “tone” controls, in that they do not subtract anything from the signal and do not impart any phase shifts to the signal and do not fight against one another. The Rubber Soul is essentially an amp-like overdrive, voiced like a Vox, with lots of clean available in the lower regions of the Drive control, lots of cleanish, hot jangly sounds in the mid region, and a smokier nature, slightly ragged rather than all-out fuzzy, in its higher, most aggressive regions. It has a more traditional amp-like tone stack, which creates losses and phase shifts like any normal tone stack. So I wouldn’t really compare them as similar.

The compressor/limiter on the Rubber Soul is a clean (opto) circuit somewhat similar to other standalone opto compressors. The limiter on the Echo is not; it is a very, very subtle signal clipper that clips both the input and the output of the delay chip but only once it reaches very high peak levels.”

” It will be affected by whatever amp you run it through, and if one’s amp is already very strongly idiosyncratic and heavily voiced, then obviously that character will not be over-ruled by running an amp-in-a-box through it. But any amp with a decent amount of headroom and a neutral-enough set of tone controls should be able to serve as a platform for any amp-in-a-box style pedal with good results. The cleaner, the better, so that the voice of the pedal is dominant, of course.

But generally if one already likes the tone of their amp, they should find good use for the Rubber Soul–it’s even great for stacking with other overdrives (adds articulation, cut, and gain); so it’s not strictly limited to just trying to sound like a Vox amp, per se. It’s a very well-behaved, chimey overdrive with a Voxy response, a versatile 2-band tone stack, and an opto compressor at the end. It is what it is. Maybe it would make your amp sound like a Vox, but even if not, you’ll almost certainly like it a lot unless you’re expecting it to do something it does not do.