Following on from last year’s decision to release the Classic V9 pedal without a valve, Radial has added two new tubeless variations on that theme: the Hot British V9 and Texas Pro. The former is already available with a valve, while the Texas Pro is a new addition to Radial’s product palette.
Hang on, aren’t tubes the be all and end all of good tone? Why take them out? And it’s not a big deal releasing pedals without valves in them, anyway, If your company has built a reputation on valve technology and made a lot of noise about how great it is to have a tube in the circuit, how believable is hyping up the next product as providing the “soul and character” of the original?
Well, there are advantages. By removing a valve you can achieve things like allow it to run off a regular 9V power supply, make it smaller and, of course, produce it for less. So let’s concentrate on the positives, because if these are as well built as Radial’s usual output, then they could be pretty sweet.
Hot British V9
With a distinctly ‘Marshall’-like connotation and obviously aimed at those players after the classic ‘Plexi’ sound, this new version of the Hot British V9 is a scaled down update of the original valve-based unit.
I have yet to hear this new version, but I have owned a few of the Radial pedals myself in the past. I imagine that it will be well made. It will boil down to how it sounds compared to the original version. The pedal has a buffer which cannot be switched off, but then so do Boss pedals and who doesn’t own one of those? The whole True Bypass argument is useless if you play live and use long cable lengths or have multiple effects pedals anyway.
A well-designed buffer can be very useful indeed, so I’m not too concerned about this aspect myself. I really would like to hear some A/B tests with this new version and its predecessor, though, before passing any judgement on its tonal qualities.
RRP $169 plus shipping/taxes
Radial Hot British V9 product page
Poor choice of name, this, as it makes it sound like it turns tricks for money! Anyway, this box aims to give you that Texan tone made famous by players like Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Stevie Ray Vaughan and every other Blues Rock player that uses that sizzling overdrive.
Again, I have yet to hear this pedal, but as it is a totally new circuit. It looks as though Radial are going to be expanding this series with additional new circuit designs going forward. The company stresses that it can achieve many variations of overdrive via the Vintage, Modern and Maximum switches, then you can dial in the Level, Tone and Drive controls to taste. The Class-A Booster gives you a volume boost of up to 22 dB and you get an effects loop as well, which could make this very flexible indeed.
RRP $169 plus shipping/taxes
Radial Texas Pro product page