Brian May Guitars Treble Booster Classic

Available
October
2019
Brian May Guitars Treble Booster Classic
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 Brian May Guitars Treble Booster ClassicBrian May Guitars Treble Booster Classic 
UK/EU Discount Price :  £249.00 Inc. 20% VATExport Price - USA • Australia • Worldwide : £207.50

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The World's FIRST Multi-era Treble Booster


Treble boosters - simultaneously boosting gain and the high end of the tonal spectrum, whilst attenuating lower frequencies - have always been an integral part of Brian May's signal path, from Queen's earliest recordings to his current stadium-sized setup and the 2019 "New Horizons" single, and are an essential tool for any guitarist wishing to achieve a focused, cutting, overdriven sound, with clear note definition and string clarity.

The BMG TREBLE BOOSTER CLASSIC is a elegant and compact, multi-mode foot pedal designed by British electronics guru, Nigel Knight of Knight Audio Technologies, that combines three separate, uniquely voiced circuits that faithfully replicate Dr. May's most recognisable tones from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, providing modern guitarists with the opportunity to select the distinctive sound of their favourite May-era, at the flick of a switch and the turn of a level control, either to emulate the maestro or to explore their own new musical horizons.

Decades of Tone


Thanks to the unique access provided by his long term tech, Pete Malandrone, the sound representing each decade has been meticulously modelled after the actual vintage equipment used by Brian May during each period of his stellar career - his dynamic, germanium Dallas Rangemaster from the 1970's, the orange label, silicon BC149 transistor powered booster installed on his pedal board throughout the 80's, and an original 1998 Greg Fryer strap booster. Every possible technical nuance of these contemporaneous processors has been analysed in order to recreate the original circuitry and realise an astonishingly authentic reproduction of their tonal responses and output profiles.

Proudly made in England, the Treble Booster Classic is built into a compact, rugged, solid die-cast aluminium case and features a heavy-duty 3PDT footswitch for reliable, sustained use, true-bypass switching with LED status indicator, internal battery compartment, 9VDC socket for pedal-board power supplies, high quality Neutrik 3 pole jack sockets and a level control topped with a RS-style aluminium knob, so there is no mistaking the heritage of the tones therein.

Operating the BMG Treble Booster Classic


The BMG Treble Booster Classic is easy to set up and use.

With power supplied by an internal 9 volt battery, or via the 9VDC socket (battery/mains adapter NOT supplied), plug your guitar into the ‘IN’ jack and plug the ‘OUT’ jack into your amplifier.

It is essential that the Treble Booster Classic is the first unit in line after the guitar in the signal chain (if you are using a radio system, then the TBC must sit between the guitar and the transmitter pack). 

For a thorough explanation of the science behind this, please see the section below.

Select the era that represents the sound you wish to use via the slide switch on the top right-hand side.

The three position switch has three decades - 70's, 80's and 90's - marked on the right hand side with three corresponding icons - treble clef, solid star and outlined star - on the left hand side. These icons match the icons printed around the LEVEL control which indicate the point where the level (or gain) of the Treble Booster Classic matches that of the original vintage unit.

  • To match the tone and gain of Brian's earliest treble booster, simply slide the switch to the uppermost 70's position and rotate the level control so that the red dot indicator on the knob lines up with the treble clef.
  • For the eighties tone and level, slide the switch to the centre 80's position and rotate the level control all the way clockwise so that the red dot indicator lines upon with the solid star.
  • To emulate Brian's nineties sound, slide the switch to the bottom 90's position and rotate the level control so that the red dot lines up with the outlined star.

Obviously, these settings do not have to be strictly adhered to. They are simply there as guides to indicate at which point you will be enjoying a response exactly the same as Brian had all those years ago. The BMG Treble Booster Classic has more gain available than the original Dallas Rangemaster and Strap TB so you can adjust the level to suit your own sound and style or amplifier requirements.

Remember to unplug the input jack when not in use if you are running an internal battery to preserve battery life.

An insight into the dark art of Treble Boosting a Red Special

By Nigel Knight • November 2018


First and foremost, this is a treble booster, and so should sit first in line after the guitar in the signal chain. There has been much debate over the years as to why the TB should sit first so, to explain why, let’s start with the guitar itself...

Any Red Special-influenced instrument, in most modes of ‘BM’ style operation, employs at least two single coil pickups in series, whereas most single coil-loaded guitars configure them in parallel. This has the benefit of increasing the output level of the guitar, which helps drive the AC30s (or equivalent) further into saturation. In addition to this, in a number of switching set-ups, the pick-ups' polarity provides ‘humbucking’ qualities, thus reducing hum and noise. 

The theoretical downside is that it also increases the overall impedance of the guitar which renders it more susceptible to ‘tone sucking’ if plugged into a low impedance load. Now, most guitar amplifiers and effects stomp boxes are designed to offer the guitar a relatively high impedance load (at least 500Kohm for some stomp boxes and 1Meg ohm or more for amps). Alas, the humble treble booster has other ideas, as it sits far lower than that at less than 100Kohm.

Now, here’s why the treble booster must come first, straight after the guitar (and when we say straight after, we mean STRAIGHT AFTER, so if you are using a radio system, then the TB must sit between the guitar and the transmitter pack).

So, the guitar is high Z (impedance) and the TB medium Z. Under normal circumstances the treble booster would just suck the high frequency detail from the guitar and that’s just what it does when the guitar is at full volume. The volume pot is fully open, and the low Z load of the TB drags down the high frequency detail of the Red Special. This is what provides the creamy, warm, fully distorted tones we all love. However, when Brian backs off the guitar’s volume, the signal distorts less and cleans up to his renowned glassy tones. This happens because the guitar’s volume pot is wired to effectively provide the pick-ups with a constant high Z load, whilst driving the TB with a varying source impedance. So, when the guitar volume is backed off, the guitar’s pickups see a high Z load, but the TB ‘thinks’ it’s being driven (pushed) by a low Z source, and so the TB can’t suck the high frequencies any more and delivers the glassy cleans.

So, it is imperative that you make sure the guitar and the TB can ‘talk’ to each other and interact with each other, because that is where the magic happens.

Construction Solid machine, die-cast aluminium box with powder coat finish
Controls Heavy duty footswitch + Spun aluminium Red Special style output level control knob
Input/Output 3-pole Neutrik jack sockets
Footswitch 3PDT true by-pass with high intensity green LED status indicator
Performance Multi-mode treble booster selectable via slide switch and level control
Position 1 • 70's Modelled on Brian's Dal's Rangemaster • Peak Frequency : 12kHz • Peak Boost : 33dB
Position 2 • 80’s Modelled on Brian’s Orange label TB83 • Peak Frequency : 3.6kHz • Peak Boost : 32.7dB
Position 3 • 90’s Modelled on Brian’s 1998 Strap TB • Peak Frequency : 3.4kHz • Peak Boost : 29dB
Power From PP3 9 Volt battery (not included) / External 2.1mm DC socket - 9VDC Centre Negative Power Adapter (not supplied)
Current Consumption  ≤ 580uA
Protection Internal reverse polarity diode
Battery Life Approximately 500 hours • Disconnect power by removing INPUT jack plug
Dimensions (L x W x H) 111mm (4.37") x 67mm (2.64") x 46mm (1.81")
Weight 265g (9.35oz)
Origin Made in England

Creating the BMG Treble Booster Classic

by Nigel Knight • November 2018


The Brian May Guitars Treble Booster Classic has been a long time in the making and was originally destined to be a single function TB that would be modelled on the current system used by Brian. However, a spark of genius from Mr. Pete Malandrone manifested itself in what seemed like a very annoying question one day: “Why can’t you make it sound like TB's from all of Brian’s eras?” Now, Pete is renowned for his penchant for throwing the odd curveball, but this particular one was going to cost me a lot of time and effort to pull off, and so initially I said "no" explaining that I simply didn’t have the time to do it, and that a single function booster was the way to go. So that’s what we started designing. However, that niggling head-worm courtesy of Mallers kept very close quarters until, in the end, I figured we should, at the very least, give it a try. 

So how did we go about designing such a unique piece of kit?

First things first, I needed references of Brian’s TB's from each era, and so a trip into the depths of the maestro's lock-up would see Mallers and I pulling out box after box, trying to locate suitable candidates. The chosen units for each specific era were : his Dallas Rangemaster from the 1970's, old BC149 units from the 80's and an original 1998 strap booster by Greg Fryer.

These were then put on the test bench and analysed to the nth degree - gain, noise floor, peak frequency boost, peak frequency width and slopes were all measured and documented.

Well, that was the easy bit. Now I just had to design a single treble booster that could emulate them all with minimal controls and, most importantly, in a form that could be easily produced and sold at an affordable price.

After a lot of head scratching and swearing later, the first prototype was built and, as if it was just meant to be, it worked perfectly, straight out of the ‘metaphorical’ box. Much A/B testing was done, switching between units old and new, and a couple of component changes or additions followed, just to hone the responses to get them as close to the originals as possible, but the core circuit remained the same throughout. 

A quick look at the comparison response graph below shows just how close they are to the originals.

Average Rating (13 Reviews):  
Write a Review and share your opinions!

Rating:  
The perfect treble booster
Wednesday, 4 September 2019  | 

If you're looking to buy a versatile and great sounding treble booster then I would recommend you take a look at this one.

First of all, it does what it says on the tin - it boosts your guitar signal and pushes your tube amp into a glorious sustain and overdrive. In the case of a treble booster, it also tightens up the bass (well, reduces it, really) and pushes certain frequencies. That's the recipe for a million iconic rock'n'roll tones, for example those of Brian May. This particular treble booster takes things a step further in allowing you to choose between 3 different iconic treble boosters - here labeled as 3 decades of Brian's playing. In practice this gives your 3 very useful voicings to choose between when dialing in the tone you're looking for. They all sound different, and they all sound great!

Furthermore this pedal accepts a 9V power supply with center-negative voltage - this is great, because the old original circuits are center positive which can make it difficult to incorporate them with other pedals. No such problems here!

All in all, I cannot think of a more useful treble booster pedal, so this product will have to receive the highest rating from me, a solid 10/10. Try one!

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Rating:  
The BMG Treble Booster Classic Delivers!
Tuesday, 6 August 2019  | 

I finally had the chance to tryout the new BMG Treble Booster Classic. Opposed to early treble boosters with basically on or off, this offers plenty of flexibility for tonal options. You can recapture Brian's tone from 3 decades (70s, 80s & 90s)!

I haven't tried it through a cranked up yet, which I know that's where it really shines. I plugged in into my 1966 Fender Princeton Reverb and, even with the volume at 3, I was able to conjure up killer rock tones. Raw and aggressive when you want it to be.

So far, I love it at low volume settings and hope to play through a cranked up amp soon, where I know it will give me all the juicy tones it promises. There are plenty of YouTube videos already demonstrating its versatility.

Very satisfied with it.

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Rating:  
Best I've tried yet
Wednesday, 17 July 2019  | 

Having tried a number of treble boosters over the years (including the Guild BHM, and various Fryer ones, plus the Digitech pedal) this is my favourite so far. A high-quality, compact little unit which easily switches between the three eras of the 70's, 80's and 90's, and kicks out some really authentic sounds.

My only suggestion for improvement would be to make replacing the battery easier, but it's a minor inconvenience really.

Highly recommended, and especially well-priced.

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Rating:  
Outstanding
Tuesday, 16 July 2019  | 

This is an outstanding pedal boosting the level of the high strings.

I had some troubles with my Les Paul Studio because it emphasized the low strings but the B and E string had a very low output.

Now this is absolutely solved - thanks, Andreas

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Rating:  
What a great addition
Wednesday, 10 July 2019  | 

Got my hands on one of the TBCs and I have to say, it's absolutely amazing. Playing it through my VBM1 and my Vox Valvetronix, both sound amazing and it adds a whole new depth of sound.

The device feels well made and doesn't feel cheap at all and wont move about much if on the floor if you're playing live.

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Rating:  
Highly recommended
Wednesday, 26 June 2019  | 

Arrived last Friday, absolutely loving it. Not much more to say, the usual quality you would expect from BMG, does exactly what it says on the tin.

A perfect match for my Super!

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Rating:  
The Real Deal
Tuesday, 11 June 2019  | 

I happened to open my email right as I was wingin' away on my newly purchased Red Special and was really wishing I had a proper Treble Booster. Lo and behold, I glance over only to find this wonderful new pedal had been announced, as if the Dr. himself had read my mind. I snatched one up as fast as I could (considering how fast these sell out) and I've been very pleased with the unit upon arrival.

I don't own a Vox yet, so it took me a while to find a setting on my Line 6 Spider that was most suitable. The amp doesn't perform the nice chimey/jangley notes as well as I like. However, amp aside, this thing still packs a wallop. The entire neck just wakes up and provides such a crunchy/saturated action. Combining the tremolo bridge on the BMG with some healthy boost, the sustain on those high notes is unreal. It really is exactly what I wanted out of this thing. The price tag is a little high but it's really a great bargain considering this is three pedals in one. 90's tends to feel like a less aggressive/more clean 80's but Queen fan or not; this is one of the most comprehensive boosters on today's market.

For anyone serious about ridding the mud from their amp, this is the package for you. Wake it up and rock on!

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Rating:  
Can’t wait to try it
Thursday, 6 June 2019  | 

I recently received my BMG Treble Booster and have not had the opportunity to give it a go.

I am currently on the waiting list for a BMG Super which I ordered in November 2018. I’m looking forward to trying them together and at that time I would be more than happy to write a proper review.

Thank you for the prompt delivery of what looks to be a very special device. Thank you!

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Rating:  
Much better than expected...
Tuesday, 4 June 2019  | 

Such a wonderfully versatile pedal, equally at home in front of my AC30 as it is in front of my JCM800.

Brilliant job!!!

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Rating:  
Unique
Tuesday, 4 June 2019  | 

This is a unique piece of equipment in that it gives me many options to explore to mimic the tone used throughout his career as well as creating the tone I like. I have not yet explored all the possibilities available yet, but my favorite so far has been the 70's settings. This pedal fits nicely into my signal chain and adds the right amount of punch in the upper mid and treble frequencies my other pedals just cannot give me.

Thank you so much for making this pedal available to us Queen tone enthusiasts. I look forward to learning more about it and exploring its capabilities.

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Rating:  
The best booster on the market
Friday, 31 May 2019  | 

Excellent product, highly authentic sounds and easy to use, without question the best pedalboard booster on the market

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Rating:  
One Treble Booster To Rule Them All
Thursday, 30 May 2019  | 

Whether you're using a modelling rig or a bank of AC30s, the treble booster and its interaction with your guitar is the key to getting out Brian's tones. The booklet that comes with this pedal does an excellent job of describing that relationship. Many of Brian's tones come from adjusting the volume knob on the guitar and having a real treble booster makes for sparkling cleans that crunch with an extra strike of a sixpence and searing leads that really sing.

This is the treble booster that will get you there.

There are other commercial treble boosters that do an excellent job but this has some key features that put it as the best choice.

Brian did use a selection of different types throughout his career. The Rangemaster is the first one represented in this box and gives the gritty cutting tones of the first Queen album. Sometime in 1974, Brian started using the Cornish TB that offered more gain and a smoother tone. Finally, when he committed to a wireless system he started using a lower gain booster. All three are represented here.

It's not really likely that one would hop between the three in a gig but having the options is great. From a performing musician's point of view, it is the other features that are particularly noteworthy.

Having a bypass switch is great. Brian May treble boosters are usually of an "always on" design and tuning with a treble booster on isn't ideal. Being able to kick it out is fantastic.

The pedal has the option for mains power. It's never likely that you'll run out of battery at a gig but great to have piece of mind.

The big feature for me is the gain control. Not everyone's guitar is the same and few will have the same pickups as the original or a top end copy. Being able to tweak the boost to suit one's own set up is amazing.

Sound wise - it's fantastic.

All the sounds are there and well represented. The Rangemaster is also very useful for anyone chasing Rory Gallagher's sound or even Richie Blackmore's tone.

For the price this is an incredible unit and an essential purchase for those with a Brian May guitar or chasing his tone.

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Rating:  
Sounds that span the decades
Saturday, 18 May 2019  | 

As the owner of a BMG Special too, when I saw that BMG were bringing out a signature treble booster, I was excited to see what it was about. Then, finding out that it was being made in conjunction with KAT (Knight Audio Technologies), the excitement bumped up a notch. Nigel Knight has been involved heavily with Brian over the years and definitely knows a thing or two about his sound.

I badgered BMG for weeks for a release date for the TB (treble booster). And finally the very day they became available, I was there, debit card in hand. After a short wait I was notified of the despatch and waited with baited breath for it to arrive.

Upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised at the small size of the box and the enclosed unit. It is quite small for everything it does compared to other boosters on the market. Included were some great instructions and a few stickers from BMG and KAT. The unit itself is very nicely made and looks stunning with the red special matching control knob, it also came with an industrial Duracell battery installed, so it's ready to rock straight out of the box.

I've used a few treble boosters so have a decent idea of what to expect, but this thing totally rocks Brian's sounds. The sounds for each era (70's, 80's and 90's) are quite subtle in the changes but, then again, so was Brian's sound. No massive changes or ground breaking tech from each decade, just fine, further tuning as technology moved on for Brian and his sound. This has been finely replicated by Nigel (Knight) from the early 70's Rangemaster sound which when recorded gives the wonderful nuances in the sound of that era. The 80's sound captures the stronger drive heard on the likes of "Hammer to Fall" etc. To the 90's and current sound which has Brian's live sound down perfectly. Like I said, the differences aren't huge, but definitely capture the changes that were made perfectly.

The pedal is a fantastic addition to any set up, with the added bonus of you also being able to dial in more or less drive in each era's setting to get even more from the pedal that just the 3 era BM sounds.

Absolutely brilliant bit of kit and you'll never need another treble booster again

Thanks to Brian, Nigel, and the team at BMG for creating this.

Cheers

Dean

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.