Blackbox Music Electronics (2001)
The x-ray is a full range clean boost/overdrive/distortion designed for guitar and bass. The x-ray does not bleed off low frequencies so it can be used with a wide variety of instruments and signal sources with good results. The x-ray is very responsive to your picking strength as well as the volume knob on your instrument. When distorting, the x-ray clips your signal asymmetrically (much like the amplification stages on a tube amp when overdriven), resulting in a much warmer tone. The x-ray comes in blue on black and purple on black (purple on black pictured above) and is also available in a model optimized for bass called the x-ray bass!.
- More - Controls both distortion and clean boost gain. With the shape knob completely counter-clockwise, the x-ray provides "more" distortion. Completely clockwise provides completely clean boost/overdrive. The mix of overdrive/distortion varies in between the two extremes.
- Louder - Controls the output volume
- Shape (x-ray) - Controls the onset and shape of the distorted waveform and the resulting sound and tone of the distortion. At the counter-clockwise position, the x-ray provides thick, rich distortion. At the clockwise position, it provides a more subtle "saturation" of the signal. When the more knob is turned to the "overdrive" position (clean boost), the shape knob has little or no effect on the signal.
- Drive (x-ray bass) - Controls the amount of post boost/distortion gain. For a clean boost, set it between 9:00 & 12:00. When the drive knob is set towards its maximum, it begins to squash the signal before finally distorting.
Here are some suggested uses of your x-ray to get you started. Experimentation w/ the x-ray is key to finding settings that work well for you and enhance the sound of your instrument.
- For dense, warm distortion: Set the more control all the way counter clockwise. On the x-ray, turn the shape knob completely counter clockwise. For more subtle distortion, turn the shape knob clockwise to the preferred setting. On the bass model, dial in the amount of amplifier overdrive and additional distortion using the drive knob. For a nice "fur" which preserves the clean attack and brings the distortion in around the body of the note, turn the shape knob to about 8:00-9:00 with the more knob completely counter-clockwise (the bass model has the shape fixed at this setting so this effect is especially noticeable. The initial "thump" is preserved and the distortion slowly creeps in under the note).
- For milder overdrive/distortion tones: dial the more in from about 9:00 to 12:00. On the x-ray, play with the shape knob to get the desired distortion tone. On the bass model, dial in the amount of post distortion gain using the drive knob (which can also add some distortion of its own at higher settings). From 12:00 to entirely clockwise (depending on the input signal strength) the more knob controls the amount of clean boost (very little to no distortion is introduced).
- For completely clean boost/overdrive: turn the more knob all the way to the clockwise position. On the x-ray bass model, dial in the amount of additional overdrive using the drive knob. From 7:00-12:00 will give you more of a clean boost. From about 12:00-5:00, the x-ray bass can round off the waveform and possibly even begin to distort, depending on the amount of input signal.
- Try the x-ray in front of a wah pedal: This gives your sound a very peaky "vocal" quality.
Dial in the "louder" knob for the amount of amplifier overdrive you desire. Picking strength and your instrument's volume knob setting also has an impact on the amount of distortion and/or overdrive. On the x-ray bass, the drive knob also has a significant impact on the amount of amplifier overdrive.