Xotic Effects shouldn’t be a secret to anyone that has their nose in the boutique effects pedal marketplace. They’ve already made quite a name for themselves with the BB, AC, and RC boosters as well as the often heralded EP booster.
This particular offering is from Xotic’s Custom Shop line that also features a BB and an AC with Compression toggle as well as a few signature pedals developed with Andy Timmons and Scott Henderson.
The enclosure is a standard issue brushed aluminium case with the screen-printed Xotic plate on top. So yeah, it’s pretty (if you find that sort of thing important). Its is True Bypass and built like a tank. I wouldn’t have any reservations about taking out to gig or on tour. Standard 9v DC power with negative tip but it will also run on a 9v battery as well. The BB circuit is built with the idea of replicating a Blues Breaker type overdrive sound and it does this as well as you can expect for a stomp box but that is really just a jumping off point for the BBMB. You have 4 standards knobs controlling the volume, gain, bass and treble plus, you have 1 additional mini knob for the mid boost. My only complaint is the mini knob. Its incredibly useful to coax a variety of tones but my fat fingers just can’t reach it easily enough to tweak it on the fly.
Guitar wise the BBMB sat well with my strat, tele, and SG but it really shined with my P90 equipped LP Junior into a slightly modded Marshall DSL401 on the clean channel. The tones were pure rock and roll from the outset. I started with everything at 12 o’clock and did some tweaking from there. I ultimately arrived at my favorite settings (shown in the pic). This allowed me to control the amount of gain from from gritty to ‘about to break’ with the volume knob. Xotic’s tone controls are very usable, allowing you to really shape your tone and make the pedal work with your amp and guitar selection. I bumped the mids just a shade (between 1 and 2) with the P90s but found myself looking for more with the humbuckers (settling on 3). I expected to quickly find the standard tones I love like The Who & AC/DC as well as other harder rocking sounds. The BBMB didn’t disappoint. It was a lower gain setting that surprised me a bit. Taking the gain down to 10 o’clock, I discovered a very passable Rage Against the Machine sound and coulnd’t help myself from jamming on ‘Killing in the Name’ for a minute or 3.
Long story short, the Xotic BBMB sounds great and is extremely versatile. I wouldn’t call it transparent but that isn’t always a bad thing either.