As promised, here is the review of the HBE Dos Mos dual mosfet preamp/buffer. 

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The usage:

I put it at the very end of my chain on the preamp setting to give my signal a boost after running through my chain. I was hoping to warm it up and bring some of the treble and mid-highs back that your sound loses after running through cables and pedals.

The findings:

–Wow. Incredibly warm preamp setting. Does not squash or kill your tone. Fairly transparent….not as transparent as say, a Tim pedal, but surprisingly close. Also surprising that it doesn’t need an eq….it just boosts your signal, without any compression, or adding of bass, treble, mids….very nice.

–Nice. Brings out the highs nicely. A bit of gain, but not too much.
–Cool. Gain is not thin or overpowering.
–What? Can double as an ABY box? Very cool. You can set it to cascade the two channels into one output, or set one for each output, and connect two amps. Really cool feature.
–Even cooler is that you can set each channel for a different guitar if you use two varying output guitars, and still run it through one output.
–Strongly built, true bypass. Knobs are very sensitive, which is cool.
–Buffer setting is okay, but didn’t effect the sound enough for me. I liked the preamp setting better. 
–Responsive. Some buffers and boosts kill the dynamics of your playing, but this one let it through for the most part.

The results:

–Not for me.

Wait a second…..I know. How can a pedal that got such great reviews not be for me? Or even more, how can a pedal that got such great reviews from none other than myself, be not for me? It’s oxymoronic! (Hmmm….. it’s entirely possible that I just made that word up.) But it’s amazing how many times you find a pedal, or an amp, or a guitar, or some piece of gear that logically, should be a great sounding pedal….. but it just didn’t do it for you in your rig. That’s what this one was like in mine. Which is interesting, because of course I love the one channel version of this pedal in Jason’s and Erin’s rigs (a couple incredible guitarists I know). But for me, I remembered why I got rid of my preamps and buffers and clean boosts in the first place….. for some reason, I’m on this purist kick of coming as close to straight in amp sound as possible. Now, I can say that if I hadn’t taken my volume pedal out of the chain, I would have loved this pedal. But removing the volume pedal did more for my tone than a preamp…… I wish I had done it earlier.

So, great pedal, and I’ll probably buy it again one day when my thought processes change again (which is probably in like two weeks), but for now really, really I need to break myself of the habit of buying pedals when I don’t like my tone. I’ve been backwards for so many years……. scrimping on the guitar and amp, but having like, $1300 worth of delay pedals. (See? I told you it was a sickness.) A few years ago, I even started experimenting with amps, and finally got a nice one that I am incredibly happy with. But the main source of your tone is a guitar….. so why do I always scrimp on the guitars? My current belief is that you can take a great sounding guitar and run it through cheap pedals and a solid state amp and it will sound better than a cheap guitar through a great amp and great pedals. Now, that’s arguable, and it works to run a cheap guitar through a great amp, also, but I don’t think it works as well. Best case scenario is to get a good guitar and a good amp, and then pedals are the afterthought. I’m really unsure, and I’m kind of just musing out loud right now and nothing amusing or even mildly humourous is coming out, so my apologies if this has put you to sleep. (Plus, Edge is playing the anti-solo to Love is Blindness right now on my itunes, so I’m not really thinking about what I’m typing….. that’s the U2 guitarist, for those of you who haven’t read the 18 posts in which I’ve shared my adoration for his playing.) So, guitars are on their way in, pedals are on their way out in order to pay for said guitars, and reviews are to come. 

But here’s the thing: that HBE Dos Mos is in custom colors and it has bright blue led’s, and cool marble knobs, and I want it on my board. I don’t even need to hook it up, just leave the lights on in a corner of my board. It looks so good! I wanted so badly to like it while I was testing it, because not only does it have killer looks, but the way the jacks are arranged, it allowed me to run my cables much more cleanly on my board. See, without it, I have to prop up my control box with a piece of wood to connect my cable to my amp while I wait on Mark Stoddard to build me another cable. But with the Dos Mos, well here:

Without:

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(Gross.)

With:

 

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(Mmmmm……. blue led’s…….. notice that I also took the ‘with’ picture at a much cooler angle with softer lighting than the ‘without’ picture. Little trick I like to call ‘marketing’. Cheesey, yet effective.)

I seriously can’t believe I would keep a pedal I don’t like the sound of in my rig because it looks cool. Maybe that’s why I never buy guitars………

Okay, apologies for the long and boring ‘stream of consciousness or random thought’ post. Anyone who’s not crazy like me want to buy an awesome HBE pedal? :-) If you don’t like it, I’ll probably buy it back from you in a couple weeks when my lofty and staunchly firm ideals change again. hehe

Splendid.
Karl.