Rhapsody in Red
Ever wondered what a Vox preamp section injection into a tight and woody class A-B power amp would sound like? We all know and love the soft-pillowed low end of a tube-rectified English combo, but I for one, have always wondered about the sound of all that characterful chime and grime pumped out of a beefy British stack-attack. This new oxblood sparkle box from Modtone is for those who want the best of both worlds, without committing to an expensive new amp or combo form-factor. The MT-BD cans this experience in an attractive, no-frills stompbox. What we have here is the usual suspects of Volume, Tone and Drive and a handy +/- switch that acts like a Top Boost that sends the upper-mids and spiralling top-end zing into orbit. In plus mode, Brian May fans will love winding back the volume knob on the guitar for a warm legato flute-shoot of star-studded solo tone.
The Boho OD can be used in many different ways. One thing I personally love about amp-in-a-box pedals is the ability to jack straight into a DAW, adding analog realism to cab sims and modelling software. Because there is some serious thump in this circuit, the MT-BD makes for an amp-like recording experience when one doesn’t wish to wake the baby or neighbors during a session. Jacking into a solid-state or tube amp opens up even more tonal options—turn a beautifully clean Fender amp into a roaring Marshall-esque fire breather or, if there is already a Brit-valve amp on-hand, use this box as a semi-transparent Top Booster.
With Volume set to noon, the Drive at 10 o’ clock and the Tone wound right up, the non-boosted mode can take one from my favorite proto-punk Vox veterans Radio Birdman tone territory, straight into early Damned, The Jam, Buzzcocks and beyond. On the more Marshally side of things, riding the volume knob and using touch dynamics made for a seriously authentic rendition of “Little Lover” from AC/DC’s High Voltage—one of the greatest rock records ever made in my opinion. Winding the Drive up and pulling the Tone back a bit while engaging the Plus toggle cleared the road for some “Hot Rockin” 80s’ Priest. Smacking the wide open chords to “Desert Plains” brought tonal visions of riding a leather-clad iron horse into the sunset.
The MT-BD doesn’t mind mingling with American-style stompers either. Pump a furry booster such as a Way Huge Red Llama into her input and have a “Last Dance with Mary Jane” right there in the bedroom, studio or stage. Or, eliminate the need for an effects loop and get everything one needs right on the pedalboard. Running the Bohemian Overdrive into a Strymon El Capistan set to multi-head repeats can get one dangerously close to the elusive “Brighton Rock” solo tapestries Doctor May concocted for the eargasmic break that kicked off the Sheer Heart Attack LP.
What We Like: Robust construction, killer Brit-valve tones, versatile rig integration and easy-to-dial-in operation make this a no-brainer for those looking for Voxy-Marshall tones without the hefty price tag. The MT-BD is easy on the eyes, ears and wallet. As they say over here in Old Blighty: “get amongst it.”
Concerns: None, considering one is after a toppy, sparkly drive with plenty of bark and bite.