Xotic EP Booster Review – Best Guitar Clean Boost Pedal?

Xotic-EP-Booster-Review-Best-Guitar-Clean-Boost-Pedal-01

Once upon a time there was a legendary piece of guitar gear. It was called the Echoplex (EP-3). Many great guitarists from lands distant and near used this epic device to create tones of legend still sought after to this day. These noteworthy guitar giants include, to name but a few, Jimmy Page, Eric Johnson, and Eddie Van Halen. The EP-3 had a distinctive preamp section which such guitarists used for its subtle, yet mythical effect on their tone. Xotic sought to capture the magic of the EP-3 in a tiny little box. In our Xotic EP Booster review, I’ll tell you a tale about what might be the best guitar clean boost pedal you’ll ever own.

Features:

Up to +20db discrete FET design clean boost

Internal +3db dip switch for setting the minimum boost level to 0 or +3db gain

Internal Bright Switch for adjusting the EQ from a normal FLAT EQ setting (ON position) to a darker, VINTAGE setting (OFF position)

True Bypass for eliminating any signal interference when switched off

Find out more about the Xotic EP Booster here.

Sound & Performance:

Okay, time to get serious. I have to first start out by saying this is a difficult pedal to talk about. Why, you ask? Well, because it does something. And it does something pretty amazing. But it’s hard to describe exactly what that is.

First off, I plugged my Strat straight into the EP Booster and into a clear clean amp channel. I struck a simple G chord. Then I kicked in the EP Booster with its single knob set around 9 o’clock and strummed again.

Xotic-EP-Booster-Review-Best-Guitar-Clean-Boost-Pedal-03It’s almost as if my guitar was dead before and it suddenly came alive. It’s hard not to speak about this pedal in abstract terms. It’s as if the EP Booster reveals a previously hidden dimension to the sound of your guitar.

I originally thought I was hearing a boost of some kind to the low and high frequencies, but after repeated A/B listening to the sound with and without the EP Booster it’s as if simply adds more harmonic depth to the sound.

I’ve realized that it’s hard to accurately explain this pedal in any way. You just have to hear it for yourself. Every tone-obsessed guitarist owes it to their ears to try the EP Booster. It’s like this pedal sprinkles magic all over your tone.

With the +3db switch off and the knob rolled all the way down, the signal matches your bypassed tone with unity gain. With the pedal engaged, the pedal somehow evens out your tone ever so slightly. It’s subtle, yet distinct at the same time. This pedal is full of strange contradictions in the best possible way.

Flipping the Bright Switch to the off position gives your tone a noticeably darker, vintage sound. The EP Booster shaves off just the right amount of high end to wrap your guitar signal in a gentle warmth. My only complaint with this pedal is that the dip switch functions aren’t located on top as tiny flip switches. I can’t decide which mode I like more, bright or vintage, and I’m sure I’d find a frequent application for both if I didn’t have to open the pedal. Although once you find the setting that works for you, you may never have to touch the pedal again.

On clean channels the knob serves to add a considerable amount of boost, great for defining a boosted lead tone. But considering how the mysterious magic of this pedal increases as you turn the knob, you may want to turn it up to a level that suits you and tailor your amp tone and volume level around the EP Booster. It may just become that indispensable to your sound.

The noise floor does rise as you crank the knob, so only a little bit of this pedal’s characteristic boost may be necessary. But no matter how you use it, it’s hard to get a bad sound from the EP Booster.

On high gain amp settings, the volume boost from the EP Booster becomes diminished, but the mojo from the pedal remains ever present. Seriously, you can just leave on and forget about it. Its subtle character enhancement sounds good for any sound.

For the duration of this test I used the Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 to supply current to the EP Booster. I spent some time switching between 9V and 18V. The sound is just as clear and full at the higher voltage, and while the difference is again subtle, there is a slight jolt of additional power and impact from running the EP Booster at 18V. It’s an option worth considering if you have an 18V power supply available.

Okay, let’s wrap this up.

Xotic-EP-Booster-Review-Best-Guitar-Clean-Boost-Pedal-04Overall-Rating-5.0

The Xotic EP Booster really is a magical little box. Once you play through this pedal you may never want to play without it again. The EP Booster will add a new dimension to your tone, revealing a harmonic character that seems to upgrade your sound in the best possible way. Warning: only try this pedal if you’re able and willing to make a purchase. This is one you’ll want to take with you. It may not only be the best guitar clean boost pedal you’ll ever use, but the missing link to crafting your perfect tone.

That concludes our Xotic EP Booster Review. Thanks for reading.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT: Andy Richardson of ZVex Effects has passed away. Andy's generosity and friendship helped make Best Guitar Effects what it is today. Please check out the Auction for Andy @ Reverb.com running from October 6-12 where you can bid on tons of cool and rare pedals. Or consider making a contribution to the Memorial for Andrew Richardson to help his family during this difficult time. Thank you. ~ BGFX
 

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Comments

    Speak Your Mind

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  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your
    efforts and I am waiting for your further write ups thanks once
    again.

  2. By the way, it’s “tailor” not “taylor”

  3. Dale Royce says:

    You hit the nail square on the head.

    I thought i was looking for a pristine clean booster till i tried the EP BOOSTER.

    Its harmonic additions just make you want to play. Job done.

    I’m still looking for a pristine booster, but I’m grabbing one of these first. ;-)

  4. The first paragraph of this review is absolutely perfect. It does something!

    This is one of those pedals that is great for people who want to push their amp a little more in a space where they can’t. IE an apartment or something. I’m liking

  5. Nice box!

  6. I’ve wanted to try this brand. Sure hope I win one.

  7. never tried a booster, but i think that can be very usefull…peace and love, greeting from croatia! :-)

  8. Thanks for great review, really hoping to win!

  9. Tried out a friend’s EP pedal and was amazed. Would love to get one of these. Xotic continues to make great pedals (loving the SP compressor so far).

  10. Have tried this in a shop. Very transparent , and usable even in the fx loop. It’s so small you can put it everywhere. Great

  11. one of the best clean boosters ever!

  12. Nathan Bell says:

    Such a great boost pedal!
    Love to have it!

  13. i WANT ITTTTTTTTTTTTT

  14. Cool booster pedal!

  15. Wow.
    A nice sparkling boost.
    I’d love having one!

  16. Cynthia Alvarez says:

    Looking to start a pedal board and this would be a great first pedal!!

  17. Been wanting one of these for a while now. Sparkle!

  18. Just what I need! <3

  19. That last demo was good.

  20. Ryan Opel says:

    Literally double the intensity!

  21. Mike Carpenter says:

    I’ve played around with Xotic pedals at a music store before… they sound amazing, super responsive, but out of my price range…

  22. Mike Garrett says:

    still a classic

  23. bob barnett says:

    nice review. great way to isolate the tone enhancement of an old echoplex!

  24. I have always loved Xotic pedals…..I play blues and need a boost pedal to be the happiest guy in the world !
    May the EP come to my pedalboard, there is a place dedicated for it……great pedal, awesome sound and options in a such small enclosure !
    EP Booster, How did you play before ????

  25. Russ Mains says:

    Great review. This little guy looks like a great pedal.

  26. Ralf Schilberz says:

    Wow, what a clearity…Sounds nice to my ears

  27. Nils Bryant says:

    This pedal is a classic, had one for a while, really miss it…

  28. Reallly love that pedal. Gotta have it.
    Steph

  29. Andrew Estes says:

    This thing really does sound like it’s making the guitar come to life. I’ll have to look at getting one to try for myself sometime.

  30. love the small footprint and look! very sweet

  31. Could always use another.

  32. I need a second boost and with little space on my board this would be perfect.

  33. Use a bunch of effects through my guitar and rhodes, and have some pedals that both instruments share. It results in some uber signal loss for my guitar’s clean tone. This boost would be a life safer for sure. It gives my obnoxious setup more purpose. Thanks for the consideration!

  34. I want to eat this pedal so that it could live inside me. Nothing weird about that. Thanks for the review.

  35. Jeremy R. says:

    I’d love to see how it would respond to my Les Paul! Fingers crossed!

  36. Frederick says:

    Heard so much talk about this pedal, would love to try it out myself!

  37. awesome sound comes in a small package.

  38. Joseph Earl says:

    Classic Booster!

  39. A tiny boost is just what I need for my crowded pedal board. These things sound pretty good.

  40. These 3 pedals look great!

  41. John Schmidt says:

    This is one pedal I would really like to have on my pedal board!

  42. the other guitar player in the band uses this and it sounds awesome. i might pick one up myself (IF i dont win the contest wink wink)

  43. this is really good if you need a booster that doesnt take a lot of space.

  44. Joel Wolfe says:

    I want it!

  45. Bob Taylor says:

    I have heard nothing but rave reviews from my guitar player friends that have the EP Boost, and they use a lot of pedals.

  46. Sounds like an exciting experience for those who use this pedal! Would love to hear how this pedal could unleash my guitars full tonal potential.

  47. Can’t help but love the fact that they are making pedals smaller and smaller. Just means I can fit more on my pedalboard!

  48. Clean, Lean, Tone Machine. Transparency galore.

  49. Very nice pedal!

  50. Pgbouchard says:

    I have the AC+ and I think this one would go very well with it ! :)

  51. Bill Siepierski says:

    Sounds like a great addition to anyone’s arsenal.

  52. Carl Martin says:

    Super cool pedal and I love the size of it!

  53. I like the fact that it’s so small. reminds me of those Mooers. I wonder who first thought of this design?

    • This was released in 2009 so it came out before mooer. I like that unlike TC and some other companies, Xotic have managed to cram a battery in it as well

  54. so cool i want it!

  55. Alexander Ivchenko says:

    After such review you cannot walk by that pedal without trying. Will check that for sure.

  56. Dominik Šandor says:

    This pedal needs to be in everyone’s pedalboards. it’s a MUST HAVE

  57. Classiest enclosure I’ve ever seen. I really like how it brightens the signal without the muddy attack clipping that other boosts and comps have.

  58. I’d gladly check this out

  59. Good review, it sounds really interesting.

  60. Heard this pedal on a friends pedal board. It sounds amazing, and I felt it did that little extra to his board!

  61. Yair Hollander says:

    This pedal will take my overdrive sound over the top which is exactly what I need. The review is great here and everywhere as well.
    Great job Xotic.

  62. one of the best booster ever made

  63. EP Booster is fantastic. I was suprised with great sound.

  64. The boost is great. I have borrowed my Son’s Ep boost to play with my Strat and Fender Woody Pro Jr. It does add that something extra that is very hard to define, adn you really do want to leave it on all the time. It is like there is added depth to your tone.

  65. EP booster is awesome. I always connect it to my amp’s Fx loop and it sounds better than it is in front of the amp.

  66. This thing sounds so amazing, and best of all it seems like it would take any rig from 10 to 11. Seems really well build as well. I’d love to confirm these guesses :)

  67. Haik Sahakian says:

    SO… pretty much all pedals from Xotic are capable of creating a pure golden tone. I cant wait to get my paws on one and hook it up with my overdrive pedal. I sincerely hope that Best Guitar Effects can give me the fix I need :)

  68. Would love me an ep booster!

  69. I haven’t managed to get my hands on a really impressive clean boost.So far I’ve heard nothing but good things about this pedal.

  70. This is on my board and on all the time. I set it to 9 o’clock and forget it!

  71. Could use a boost :P

  72. sounds great.

  73. Would love to have the EP Booster on my pedal board.

  74. Fantastic “always on” pedal!

  75. finally I understand how sometimes size doesn’t matter.

  76. brent stewart says:

    Sounds like a great little boost pedal – I could definitely use that!

    Thanks

  77. This pedal sounds great! A must have for any guitar player.

  78. Very small, very nice sound, very allround. Who doesn’t want one of these?
    This pedal is absolutely a must!

  79. warm sound and small on a board, would love to own one!

  80. it sounds great! I heard only good things about it!

  81. Sounds great and I dig the retro look.

  82. Great boost, warm sound, I like it!

  83. If it’s as good as it sounds on YouTube videos through my beat old computer at work alone that would be awesome.

  84. Rafael Alves says:

    I want this OMG!

  85. WEI-CHEN CHENG says:

    The small real estate makes it the top choice!!

  86. After reading the review, this pedal is EXACTLY what I need for my current board.
    The interesting dynamic this Booster will give me just may set me apart the way I have have looking for.
    Great review, keep up the good work. So nice to come to a site where you can find so much great information all in one spot!
    Hopefully I will be able to pick one of these up soon!

  87. Nice pedal, great review ! Thank you !

  88. Peter Homoki says:

    very nice

  89. GREAT WARM BOOST FOR ORANGE ROCKERVERB

  90. Carolina S says:

    Oooh, i wants!

  91. Xotic is amazing. Would love to own this pedal!

  92. jeff ledoux says:

    nice little pedals; i think the ep would be my first pick

  93. Stuart Morton says:

    This sounds like a top pedal. I have only ever heard great reviews for Xotic pedals. Might just have to get hold of this one.

  94. I’ve only ever heard awesome things about this pedal.

  95. This sounds like a great pedal. You’ve done a great review, I will have to try it out. I’ve owned the abba booster and really liked it, and this sounds like it could be an essential item.

  96. Sweet and subtle.~.
    I need a nice boost for a couple of fuzz pedals!

  97. Love Xotic pedals. Love the EP Boost, and great demos.

  98. This looks like a sick little box! I love a good, clean boost.

  99. Xotic makes great pedals! Hoping to add the EP Booster to my pedalboard

  100. i want this on my pedalboard!!

  101. Seems like the perfect boost; compact, warming and packed full of character. Would love to whack one of these on my board! Great review

  102. Nice demo, I’ll be sure to check it out soon

  103. Nice booster…Used to love my Echoplex but never thought about it boosting gain. Blackmore used to put a reel to reel in front of his amps to add gain, I imagine this is a similar idea…

  104. Nathan Mumford says:

    I’ve heard amazing things about the booster. I typically don’t use a compressor but the only one I have tried was by BOSS so I would like to give this one a whirl. I am always interested in testing a new drive so I would also like to try the SL Drive.

  105. Chris Faricy says:

    Wow!!! I heard this pedal used at a gig last week by a local Band. There was a significant clarity in the mid and high frequencies that Cut thru the Rhythm guitar and drums Soaring so Clean and full of Sustain. I’d LOVE to win the Xotic EP Booster and just keep it on throughout my playing. So simple and small. 1&1/2 thumps up. Please send me mine before I must buy one

  106. bob morgret says:

    I really want one now!!

  107. Daniel Santos says:

    Incredible sound, I want it!

  108. It seems great! Can’t wait to try it!

  109. Chris Faricy says:

    I think that the Bright (on My Guitar) could be too “trebley” as it boosts the signal so The Off position on the “Bright ” interal switch Would Work PERFECTLY for the Tone Utopia I seek :-) Feisty lil’ Bugger

  110. I must try this!

  111. I was skeptical of the smaller/compact pedals. After playing one, I was blown away.

    Half the size… double the sound quality.

  112. I’ve been wanting one of these for some time. It really sounds great!

  113. Michael Jacobs says:

    I’ve had great results with the Xotic compressor. I bet the rest are up there too.

  114. Wow, this looks fantastic!

  115. I’ve been thinking about one of these for a long time. I think 2014 is the year.

  116. Great sounding pedal, my other guitar player in our band has the Exotic EP booster and that pedal rocks!

  117. Again have heard nothing but great things about this little pedal! Definitely on my GAS list for 2014.

  118. Tried one of these on a friend’s rig recently. My Les Paul came alive!

  119. luis neiva says:

    i want one, this looks amazing

  120. Mike Woods says:

    Haven’t owned one yet, but I will be an owner of one of these very soon! they’re amazing.

  121. chris fox says:

    Love this thing!

  122. Peter Mahoney says:

    Great review for a great sounding pedal !

  123. Sounds like a great boost. I bet it would be good in front of my 6505+. Thanks again for doing the great reviews.

  124. Jason Murphy says:

    I want it

  125. very cool looking pedal with a sound i’m looking for (my current boost has lost its luster).

  126. really awesome pedal. I love the tiny size, and also with the sound, this pedal is really can boost your guitar character. Nice work Xotic!

  127. Bob Morgret says:

    Very helpful review. I played one of these pedals today at the local music store and it sounded very full, at any volume.
    This IS the boost pedal I want!

  128. Daniel lunsford says:

    Sounds sexy. Me like. Need.

  129. Very curious about this pedal, I keep reading about it and seeing it turn up in pro rigs.

  130. It sounds really nice, seems to add warmth to your tone

  131. Can I just win all three of these? That would be best for me.

  132. Clean boost works best with a tube amp, not sure what it will do to a solid state.

  133. Jeremy Judelson says:

    love it!

  134. Inever understood this pedal until I read this. Thanks.

  135. EP-booster + SG. 2014 is going to be a good year.

  136. nice boost

  137. A good boost is a mysterious, inspiring, freeing effect. I play 7-strings, and I’d be very curious to find out what an EP Booster could do for my tiny pedalboard. :)

  138. mike reynolds says:

    I wish there was a local dealer, id love to try these out.

  139. looks cool

  140. Looks a great pedal… really need a clean boost for my board!

  141. Best Guitar,

    Your spiel describing this lil’ wonder made me take notice, as if I may be missing something important. The video sound demo’s of the EP Boost, completely made me aware I was naked. Now, for you guys out in Calif., where the weather’s fine, I could see life w/ out one, but here in Louisiana, the EP Boost must be an integral part of any 6 string wardrobe.

    Thanks for your demo and efforts,
    Steph

  142. boost, dropkicks solos in the mouth

  143. raymond seto says:

    gimme a boost!

  144. Alan Grimes says:

    I always loved the sound of an Echoplex as a boost, this thing sounds like a dream come true.

  145. christina marie says:

    Entering to win this for my boyfriend! :)

  146. Boosta powa! haha Sick little pedal!

  147. Yes, please.

  148. Bert Meyers says:

    I’ve seen, heard and used this pedal on boards of touring bands I support as a roady/technician… now that I’ve made my way from playing bass to playing guitar… I absolutely want and need one! It’s awesome! The review does it justice, it’s the best out there!

  149. adds some more cojones to your sick rig. I wish I had one.

  150. I’ve been looking for a good boost for my board.

  151. Jonathan G says:

    I can’t afford an echoplex but this pedal is within anyone’s reach at that price

  152. Also good to have a clean transparent boost. Nice.

  153. Jack Weisberg says:

    As my son likes to say- I need this.

  154. I need something to replace my big ole EHX LPB-2!

  155. Jamie Lepage says:

    I want one

  156. Mike Harris says:

    Cool little pedal that does exactly what you want it to and doesn’t take up a lot of room doing it.

  157. Joseph Bugg says:

    I know a guy who has this on his board, and this little box rocks! Has such a tone enhancing quality to it that he leaves it on all of the time! I would absolutely love to win this awesome pedal!

  158. Sick pedal. To be honest, this is one of the best boosters on the market today.

  159. My board could really use a booster.

  160. I’ve always used an extra overdrive pedal as a boost, now I consider shifting to something like this…

  161. Nicosonic says:

    I need it !

  162. best compact boost available. sick addition to any pedal board.

  163. Zsolt Dubravcsik says:

    I would be really-really impressed if I could put this on to my pedalboard. I love those small nuances it adds to the tone. Great pedal!

  164. Seth Okrend says:

    I’ll take one!

  165. Peter Trott says:

    A great addition to any board. Thanks for the contests!

  166. Dylan Thomas says:

    Thank you so much for having these giveaways! I could really use this on my board, this is an amazing boost pedal.

  167. Dan Sidoli says:

    I have one and it’s always on! Love it. I want a second one to kick in for a lead boost!

  168. I’ve noticed for years that a lot of pro players who could have used the tubed EP-2 preferred and used the EP-3. Something about that circuit that the EP Booster gives you.

  169. Luke Payne says:

    Yes please!

  170. Demian Rojas says:

    i want it!! love the size!

  171. Robert Abernathy says:

    very cool little pedal – I was thinking that I might need some sort of boost going before my dirt

  172. xrussianx says:

    insaneee pedal. i love how compact it is! cheers to xotic for their great work

  173. Pete Gaeta says:

    I’ve heard good things about the EP Booster, and I’d really like to try it.

  174. I’d love one!

  175. I own an EP Booster and love it. I run it before my dirt pedals and would love to add another after them. You just have to hear this pedal as the review said. It just adds another dimension to your sound.

  176. Mark Nason says:

    When I was researching a pre-amp/boost pedal, the EP was a hot contender for me. Maybe I can win this one!

  177. Had an original echo plex for a long time. It would be great to get that sound back again!

  178. I’ve been wanting a pedal like this since I heard Phil X talk about his setup. Small footprint is clutch too on a tight pedal Board.

  179. I really love how compact this booster is; it’s simplicity as well.

  180. You may have just convinced me to try another boot pedal. Hmmmm.

  181. I just put up for sale a clean Boosta Grande pedal b/c I wasn’t using it, but this article is making me think I should give boost pedals another try.

  182. Jerry Burrus says:

    I need this for my board.

  183. I dont have a booster, if I were to purchase one this is the one Id get.

  184. This is a really cool pedal. I ended up selling it and an SP compressor since I have a Strymon OB.1 (Optical Compressor and Boost). It was easier to sell the SP compressor and the EP booster than the Strymon OB.1.

    Really wanted to keep it, but I thought it was a bit overkill to have 2x boost/compressors.

    I’d recommend this one! (And the SP Compressor) :)

    /Edson

  185. Looks like another winner from Xotic. I’m a big fan of echoplexes, but had never considered using one simply as a preamp, fascinating…

  186. sounds amazing!
    and a PRS 7c in the first video… awesome!

  187. I could use a compact and quiet booster.

  188. Sounds torrific !

  189. Great balance between your voice level and the guitar’s level! Thanks!

  190. Alan Bunn says:

    Killer boost.

  191. Keith Sather says:

    This pedal sounds awesome!

  192. I made a clone of this, and a *verified* one, cause I could not afford to buy one authentic… But nothing beats the original… man, this little box of miracles is awsome! :)

  193. Sounds great.

  194. 5 stars very well deserved

  195. don hutchko says:

    Sounds like the kind of pedal I would like

  196. robert koch says:

    I like that you gave it 5 stars

  197. i want this!

  198. Cody Budd says:

    Awesome! I want this.

  199. Great review. Really explains what the pedal does, albeit in abstract terms (it really is hard to pin this pedal down.)
    One thing I will mention is that I have 2 electrics I tend use live and in the studio. An Epiphone Casino and a Strat. When I take the strat out this little piggy come with me, without fail. When I take the Casino out this little piggy stays at home. The Casino’s PUPs are pretty hot and the EP Booster doesn’t do much for the tone except loose it’s “twang”… hard to explain but the guitar just doesn’t have that “clonk” or that “twink”… that “plaaang” to the strings…. with the pedal engaged… you know? However, I wouldn’t play a strat again without this pedal, there’s just no turning back.

    :)

  200. I just bought this booster. I can’t wait to get up on the stage and try it out.

  201. craig Hurst says:

    OMG!!!!
    I gotta get this pedal.
    thanks for the review.

  202. Im considering getting this or the RP booster. Both are great pedals. Awwwww, hard decision!

  203. Sounds like I need to try this pedal. I own the EP Booster and BB Preamp pedals and love both of them. The build quality is great and so is the tone I get from them.