Xotic EP Booster Review – Best Guitar Clean Boost Pedal?

Review of: Xotic EP Booster

Reviewed by:
On July 2, 2013
Last modified:October 6, 2016



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 one of the best guitar clean boost guitar pedals you’ll ever own.


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.

Power by 9-volt battery or 9VDC power adapter. May also be powered at 18-volts with the Xotic Voltage Doubler.

Visit Xotic for more info about the EP Booster.

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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. Like the Xotic SP Compressor and Xotic SL Drive pedals, the EP Booster and also be powered at 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.

UPDATE: I tested the Xotic EP Booster with the new Xotic Voltage Doubler (as shown in the video above). Now you can hear for yourself the difference of running this pedal at 18-volts. The difference is more of a feel thing for me. The more I play I also sometimes notice an added presence to the sound. It’s definitely worth trying. The Xotic Voltage Doubler can also be used with other 9-volt pedals that are capable of being used with 18-volts (Check your pedals’ manuals before plugging it in!). But it’s definitely worth checking out to give your EP Booster a little power boost.

Okay, let’s wrap this up.


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.


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  1. 18V seems to add a big fat lower-mids hump on the EP and SL. At times they sound a little congested and compressed while the 9V settings give greater transparency and clarity.

  2. 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. ;-)

  3. 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

  4. 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).

  5. 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

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

  7. 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 ????

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

    • 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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 :)

  15. 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 :)

  16. I love to try this pedal, it would def help me to round out my tone.

    I’ve been experimenting a bunch lately.
    Right now I got my Ibanez RG ( usually tuned to drop B ) with dunlop heavycore ( heaviest ) strings 12 16 20 32 42 54
    I’m trying out G# D# G# C# F A# for extremely heavy tone!
    But I just ordered the heavycore 7 string pack ( 10 13 17 28 38 48 60 ) and ill be mixing it with heavycore heaviest pack ( 12 16 20 32 42 54 )
    I hope to try in combination 16 20 28 38 48 60… lmfao I will finally be able to say “I use 16 gauge strings, top that!”
    Waiting till Friday until they arrive, hoping to try lower than G# tunings.. the curiosity is killing me.

    Tone experimentation doesn’t end here, with my Fender Strat I recently put 9 gauge strings and tuned it to F# B E A C# F#. It may been my first guitar but its probably the most violated fender you will ever witness

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

  21. 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…

  22. 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.

  23. 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

  24. 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

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

    Half the size… double the sound quality.

  26. 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!

  27. 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!

  28. 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. :)

  29. 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,

  30. 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!

  31. 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!

  32. 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!

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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) :)


  38. 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.


  39. 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.


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