The new Zio Analog Front End + Booster is a first for Source Audio. Normally associated with digital pedals, this is the company’s first all analogue pedal. The pedal is an all-in-one solution for the front end of your signal chain has some neat features designed to benefit your overall guitar tone.
Source Audio ZIO Analog Front End + Booster
The new ZIO from Source Audio comes with four preamp circuits, each with up to +20dB of additional output boost available. It is also Source Audio’s first all-analogue pedal, designed in collaboration with Christopher Venter, the owner and sole engineer at SHOE Pedals.
The word “ZIO” is an acronym for impedance (“Z” is the electrical symbol for impedance), input (“I”) and output (“O”). Designed to work with a high-impedance guitar signal, it enriches the sound with one of its four preamplifier circuits. Then finally, it is output as a powerful low-impedance signal that is not distorted by the effect pedals following the signal chain. In essence, it helps condition your signal, almost like a kind of Buffer / Preamp / Booster all in one.
High-quality, noise–free Burr Brown operational amplifiers give the ZIO maximum transparency and responsive pick dynamics, while maintaining fullness. The input impedance of 1 mega ohm is ideal for guitar pickups. The impedance of the output is 150 ohms, which is optimal to other pedals, or your amplifier.
The four different preamp circuits are:
- JFET offers completely transparent signal amplification without colouring or distorting.
- LOW-CUT reduces “beaded” bass and ensures tight sound with more headroom.
- STUDIO is inspired by the well-tried “Pultec trick”, a studio technique that provides more clarity by cutting off the muddy frequencies and improving articulation in the middle frequency range.
- E-PLEX captures the focused and subtle sound of the preamplifiers that can be found in old Echoplex Tape Delay devices.
Cable Length Simulation
The unique TONE switch of the ZIO, labelled Bright/Med/Dark, offers three different capacitor stages (for simulated cable lengths). You can use this to brighten or darken the sound of your guitar. This is great for adding some high-end, or removing too much of it, to tailor your tone just the way you like it.
Bypass & Outputs
If you do not want to use the ZIO as an on/off boost, set the bypass toggle switch to “MUTE“. This mutes the pedal when the button is activated, and the signal is sent via the additional mute output. This is useful for when you you need your tuner for silent tuning, or when you want to change guitars at a gig without any pops.
There are some very useful features on this pedals, and I can see it being an invaluable tool for many players. Especially those that work with various setups, or do a lot of live work. Overall, a well thought out design with some good tonal choices.
RRP – USD 199