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MI Audio Tube Zone Overdrive v4:
The Tube Zone is the top of the line, most flexible MI Audio overdrive pedal.
The following commentary was provided by MI Audio founder, Michael Ibrahim.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, the Tube Zone is my favourite overdrive pedal. It has grown somewhat over the last 4 years, and may seem a bit challenging at first. But for those of you who are prepared to put in a bit of time understanding the way it works, you will be rewarded with gorgeous tone, and unparalleled flexibility.
Drive Control: The gain control adjusts the gain of all 4 gain stages. As mentioned previously, the Tube Zone gets it's unique tone by mimicking the signal path of modern valve map, and by clipping the signal up to 4 times. This doesn't just make the Tube Zone great as a high gain pedal, but also as a low gain pedal. By having the Drive control control multiple stages at once, you can effectively control how many of these stages clip. With the gain turned down low, it may be that just the last stage clips (or maybe last 2 stages). As the Drive increase, more stages 'light up'. This is very different to the way that pedals normally work, where one stage has it's gain changed dramatically in order to cover higher gain sounds. One interesting feature of the Tube Zone is that I have designed drive control to have a very unique sweep. With the drive set to 50%, you're actually only using about 3% of the available gain. By designing the Drive sweep like this, you're able to get a lot of control over the lower gain sounds. So despite that fact that the Tube Zone has about 250% more gain than the most popular 'metal' pedal on the market today, you can still have very fine control over the lower gain sounds (which are just stunning!)
Character Control: This is a feature which is not available from any other manufacturer (as far as I know!). This is effectively a pre-overdrive bass control. By controlling the amount of bass in the pre-overdrive signal, you can change the character or feel of the overdriven sound. By turning character all the way down, you can get great, tight, high gain sounds, wonderful for palm-muting. Turning up the character adds more 'momentum' to the tone, and works wonderfully with single note work. Most other pedals will only have one static 'character' for the overdrive.
Tone Control: This is a 'balancing' control. Unlike other designs which progressively roll off the top end of your guitar sound, this tone control affects both the low and high frequencies. It's effectively like having a 2 band low/high EQ. As you turn down the tone control, the lows increase, whilst the highs increase. Visa versa as you turn up the tone control. This, in conjunction with the mid, brightness and internal presence controls means that you can dial in almost any tone you like.
Mid Control: The first generation of Tube Zones had a 2 position mid switch (mid hump, and mid cut). the second generation had a 3 position switch (mid hump, 'flat' and mid cut). For the latest Tube Zone, the mid control has evolved into a continuous external control. The reason for this is that the mids are probably the most important frequencies for determining the overall sonic footprint of the pedal, so the more control the better! The mid control featured on the Tube Zone is unique in that it is highly interactive with the tone control.
Brightness Control: This was initially an internal control (like the character control), but has been turned into an external control. The brightness control was initially designed to allow users to match the brightness of the pedal for their rig and taste. It was intended as a set-and-forget controls for people with a consistent rig. However, a common request from many professional players who found themselves using different 'house-rigs' every night was to make this control external so that they sound set the brightness from night to night. This is the last tone shaping control in the signal path.
Presence Control (Internal): Another request I've received from users is a way of controlling the neutral 'shape' of the Tube Zone's tone. You see, my ears tend to gravitate towards a full low end. I like pedals to move a bit of air. Some people found that there was a bit too much low end with the Tube Zone, and that they had to turn the tone control up a bit too much in order to reduce the low end. So I came up with the idea of adding this 'presence' control. Of course, it's not a true presence control (which is a power-amp feedback control), but the way that this control affects the frequency response is quite similar to the way that a presence control works on modern tube amps. Hence the name. This control adjusts the top 'band' of frequencies. By turning this up, you can make the top band more promiment, and hence create the feeling that the lows are not as boomy. Similarly, this allows people who prefer a huge low end to dial in an even more extreme low/high ratio.
Other Features: Of course, the new Tube Zone contains all the standard features of all MI Audio pedals, namely, True Bypass switching, highest quality components, die-cast enclosure, and a power supply which can run up to 25V DC with a suitable external power supply. But the Tube Zone also features genuine chrome plating for the enclosure, as well as chrome knobs and an ultra bright (13,000 mcd) blue LED.
Many Samples Here
REVIEWS & USER COMMENTS: Coming soon...
HARMONY CENTRAL USER REVIEW 9/18/2005:
"If you the opportunity to by this pedal, whether second-hand or new I would buy it. Had some one told me earlier I would of never of bought the other pedals, They are now useless, does someone want to buy them? I have never been so happy about my distortion tones, on guitar and bass, AND ITS FROM THE SAME PEDAL...freaky."
HARMONY CENTRAL USER REVIEW 5/10/2004:
"This thing sounds awesome. I have owned literally hundreds of pedals - vintage and 'bouteek' and most of them overdrives - this is the one I use the most."
ALL HARMONY CENTRAL USER REVIEWS