[review] T-Rex ToneBug Booster (by LordRiffenstein)

LordRiffenstein, all-around tone freak and purveyor of great tone.

Tonebug series

T-Rex Engineering has been around for a lot of time, making high quality pedals and accessories that can be found on pedalboards all over the world. Although they have a vast range of pedals from delays and modulation to overdrive and distortion, they decided to release a new range of pedals a couple of years ago: Tonebugs.

The Tonebug series of pedals is bringing the T-Rex quality in smaller packages, for less money. The range currently has 10 different pedals. All the pedals come in the same enclosure and have the same look: 2-3 dials and some little switches depending on the model. I also gotta give props to T-Rex for shipping the pedals in a nice box, it makes the pedals a bit more special.

Booster controls

All the Tonebug pedals come in a nice metal enclosure, with curved edges and it feels pretty sturdy. The controls are set on a brushed metal background and are easy to see on dim-lit stages. There’s the obvious input and output and an input for a power supply (9v DC). You can also use battery power, via the compartment that’s easily accessed in the bottom of the pedal. The Booster only has 2 controls. “Boost” is pretty obvious while “Scoop” might not be the best name for what actually is an EQ control.

The pedal in use

This is a BOOST pedal, there's no way around it so T-Rex did not muck about and you basically have unity gain with the Boost control at its lowest setting. YES, that is good news because this means there's plenty of range. I don't know how many dBs you can boost but there's plenty for sure. The Scoop control might be misleading because it controls the EQ of the boost. It does not impact your original tone but works on the added signal.

I have tried the Booster in a couple of situations and the results were very good. I have to say that the Booster doesn't add much noise. You will obviously get a bit more nice running the boost high into a high gain sound but it is really not bad. Keeping the Scoop control at 12:00, I played around with the amount of boost. The results obviously depend on the amp and setting you are using but even with the gain high, the Booster was always able to add just that little bit extra. I found it worked best with low and medium gain settings but that's to be expected. High gain tones are more compressed and boosting them will only compress them more without adding a lot of gain.

The Scoop control had me puzzled at 1st. I honestly thought it was broken. I was running the Boost pretty much flat out and the Scoop didn't seem to do much. So when I backed off the Boost and ran the pedal into a lower gain tone, I discovered that the Scoop did work and lets you make small tonal changes to your boosted tone. The Scoop control has less impact if you have the Boost high or are running the pedal into high gain settings. It still changes the tone a bit but it can get VERY subtle.

I`m not going to use the T-word here but this pedal works VERY well, has only as much impact on your tone as you want and it does perfectly what it says on the box. One funny thing to add! The manual that came with this pedal has an error. The description of the Scoop control is copied from the Sensewah and describes the yoy-yoy effect you can get from that pedal.

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