Tuesday, April 15, 2008

TONE FREQ- Creation Audio Labs' MK.4.23

Creation Audio Labs’ MK.4.23 BOOST PEDAL
By Aljon Go - April 14, 2008 – for www.geartrap.com


Guitarists the world over have searched for the perfect boost pedal. More often than not guitarists have had to settle for what was available. Since discovering the warmth of tube amps I’ve always wanted to use a boost but have never found one that I like. Most boosts pedals end up coloring the tone of my guitar and come off sounding too harsh. Then I heard about Creation Audio Lab’s MK.4.23 Boost.

The pedal claims to offer zero to +24 dB of transparent boost, no tone coloration, no signal distortion, no phase reversal and true bypass with quiet switching. It comes with an ultra quite power supply and is hand-built in Hermitage Tennessee, U.S.A.! Using George L’s cables I plugged a Gibson Les Paul Custom into the unit and then ran it into a Gibson Les Paul Jr. Amp. It delivered nice and smooth gain when increasing from the zero position. It was able to give me what I wanted – more of my guitar tone and none of the unwanted aftereffects of most boost pedals – noise. Later I was able to try placing the Boost in line with some of my other effects. As suggested on the Creation Audio Labs website I tried it as a gain tool in front of my amp and then afterwards as a volume boost after my pedals. For the longest time I actually placed it before my delay. After reconfiguring my board I found that I prefer using it as the last pedal in my chain. I have even used it as the last pedal and have kept it on in the zero position keeping my tone in tact! After speaking with Gary "Sarge" Gistinger president of Creation Audio Labs he told me that by using the MK 4.23 as the last pedal that it would help the impedance matching issues that are common to all guitar, effect and amp set-ups. In a nutshell Sarge tells me that the MK 4.23 removes those issues and delivers the best signal possible. It also has a flat e.q. response so there is no change in the tone of your guitar and settings from pedals placed before it – what a great concept! I also appreciate the small package of the pedal. I’ve been known to pack as many pedals on my board as possible and with the placement of the input and output jacks on the rear makes it an easy addition to the board not taking up precious real-estate. More pedals on my board – yea! It also has a place to mount the pedal to your board with screws on the bottom. If you choose not to do that the bottom of the pedal is smooth for Velcro, no gummy rubber to remove for that Velcro to slip off!

This pedal looks like it could have been made by the Terminator himself. Built like a tank the chassis is made from sleek stainless steel enclosed in epoxy. It is also hand-wired with pro-audio components with a very nice white LED when activated. The laser cut logo on top even lights up when given power – way cool! You can’t get much simpler than the operation of this pedal with no-nonsense operation with one level knob – what’s not to like? Out of habit with most pedals with that type of switch I usually make sure to punch it on and off a couple of times to get rid of the initial pops when first powered up. Sarge mentioned that there shouldn’t be any pops at all due to the circuitry in the pedal. I have never encountered any noise or problems with the switch or the unit in general.

The MK 4.23 Boost makes good on all its promises. Creation Audio Labs has taken the time to craft one killer pedal – one to slay all other boosts out there. So maybe instead of the Terminator reference it should probably be more like the Highlander of Boost pedals! I have had this pedal now for over a year and have taken it with me on every gig and session. It has never let me down! The staff at Creation Audio Labs are also great people and very helpful to their customers. If you happen to be at a guitar show they invite you to stop by for some tone tips! The facts are that it’s durable, easy to use and it sounds excellent. Kudos to Creation Audio Labs for making good on those promises and making a difference you can REALLY hear!

*TONE FREQ RECOMMENDED* I use it for every gig! It’s for TRUE TONE aficionados!

COST: $225.00 USD (as listed on CAL's website)

MANUFACTURER LINK: www.creationaudiolabs.com

Aljon Go is considered to be a “pedal junkie” by his peers often asked for advice when building pedal boards. He toured the world with his award winning band Mink and was the artist relations/marketing pro for a musical accessory company. He currently spends his time bringing new and exciting tones to regional acts Jaux King, JonesWorld and Mister Happy. He is also host of the long running “Local Buzz” radio show in Nashville and product specialist for a leading guitar company. Freq’n out? E-mail Aljon: tonefreq(at)gmail(dot)com.


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