Even though I’m a guitar player, I try not to be too guitar-centric in this blog, especially on New Music Gear Mondays. But every now and then something special catches my eye and I want the rest of the world to know about it. The new Unobtainium amp simulator pedal from Crazy Tube Circuits is one of those pieces.
Why is this particular guitar pedal so special? Unobtanium emulates two of the most sought-after amps ever made – the boutique Dumble Silver String Singer and Dumble Overdrive Special. Then it adds the near impossible to find Klon Centaur overdrive pedal. Unobtainium indeed!
If you’ve never seen a Dumble amp, then join the club. Alexander Dumble was a genius amplifier tech but as unreliable as the day is long. All of his amps were hand-made and took so long to build that it would take years to get one even after you’ve paid full price, and he was lucky if he turned out 10 a year. But the tone was spectacular and Dumble’s amps were always held on the highest pedestal as “the ultimate.” Just to give you an idea, used Dumbles are selling in the $70k to $150k range.
Owners of Dumble amplifiers include cream-of-the-crop guitarists Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, John Mayer, Keith Uban, Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, Eric Johnson, Carlos Santana, Joe Bonamassa, and many more.
So now you can see why a Dumble amp simulator is so exciting.
The D Side
The Unobtainium pedal doesn’t disappoint. The left side is for the Dumble emulation while the right side is for the Klon. The Dumble side features a Volume control, Gain control, and a Tone control that adjusts the amount of post overdrive high end frequencies. An Emphasis control sets the pre-drive EQ to control presence and bottom end response.
A toggle switch allows you to go between the Silver String Singer (labeled SSS) and the Overdrive Special (labeled ODS) voicings. An external footswitch input makes it possible to switch between amplifier voicings on the fly, and internal trimmers adjust EQ and volume boost of the overdrive voicings.
What’s the difference between the amp sims? The Silver String Singer, just like the amp, is for clean and organic overdrive sounds while the Overdrive Special provides smooth high-gain overdrive with enhanced mids.
The K Side
The right side of the Unobtainium pedal provides a reproduction of the mythical overdrive circuit of the Klon Centaur, including the fabled germanium diodes. The Volume and Gain controls provide a huge amount of boost and wide variety of smooth overdrive tones. The Treble control allows you to adjust the upper harmonics should they become harsh due to the overdrive.
There are two small toggle switches. The one on the right switches between the stock Centaur mode and a popular mod that enhanced the gain and compression. The one on the left switches between a buffered bypass and one with a buffer to add the ability to run long cable runs.
There’s also a passive series effects loop via ¼ inch jacks on the right side to make it possible to connect other pedals between the two sections, or use them separately as independent effects.
The Unobtainium pedal retails for $299, but guess what? It’s sold out! As I said before, unobtainium indeed.
Click here to find out more, or watch the short video below (there are a ton of them with much more detail on YouTube).