In 2012, I had a crazy idea for a tone shaping device that had never been done before in the world of guitar pedals. I wanted to create an effects pedal that replicated the hard-to-achieve sounds of “direct-in” electric guitar recordings that I loved. Bands like the Beatles, Spoon, Wilco, and Steely Dan had used this technique for years, but it was nearly impossible to recreate live.
I wanted this pedal to transform my guitar rig into the tonal equivalent of a Neve studio console, and that was no small task. After lots of trial and error, experimentation, and re-works, this concept evolved into something far beyond what we had imagined.
In 2014 as we filmed the first demo videos at Abbey Road Studios in London and this idea had evolved into the most unique product we had ever made. The Colour Box was a full-fledged studio-grade preamplifier, EQ, and distortion generator with multi-instrument compatibility. It did what I had always wanted it to do, but it did so much more!
On its release day, I wasn’t quite sure how it would be accepted, but I knew that I loved it. As a few months went by, we saw something amazing begin to happen; this pedal was showing up in all types of environments. Producers, engineers, and artists were emailing us, tagging us on socials and showing how they had put the Colour Box to use. Studio vocals, live vocals, kick drums, acoustic guitars, bass, keys, overhead drums, stereo buses, room mics, synths, re-amps, and some incredibly large stage setups had it on almost every instrument! This unit can be heard on dozens of recordings from U2, Wilco, The National, Spoon, Collective Soul, Muse, the War on Drugs, and Phantogram amongst others. As proud of this pedal as we were, we wanted to make it better, so we did.
JHS Colour Box V2 Preamp Pedal Features:
- Preamp and EQ pedal for guitar, microphone, or line-level sources
- 100% analog signal path, based on the design of vintage mixing consoles
- Lundahl input and output transformers
- Dual gain stages with over 39dB of gain give you everything from subtle sweetening to full-on distortion
- Re-creates the classic sound of plugging a guitar directly into a mic preamp
- Powerful tone-shaping potential, featuring a 3-band EQ with Shift controls and a wide-ranging variable low-cut filter (60Hz–800Hz)
- Pass 48-volt phantom power to condenser mics, active ribbon mics, and mic activators