The first thing I noticed about the Purple Humper mid booster is how badly I wanted to keep it after receiving it for review. Hearing it online, though informative, will not be sufficient to truly fathom the Purple Humper’s awesomeness. What follows is my genuine—though surely lacking—attempt to describe that awesomeness in words.
This is serious. Let’s Talk.
The “mid hump” is real. Though you may never have heard the phrase, you already know the sound: iconic songs from US and British classic rock and rhythm and blues feature guitar tone with a cutting presence that defines the archetype of The Guitar Player. It is unfortunate that genre so prolific as pop and electronica often give up mid-tones in order to emphasize bass and treble, a phenomenon often referred to as “scooped mids.” It is, after all, these magical middle tones that give rock and blues the meaty, poignant angst for which they are so loved.
Never fear! The Purple Humper from One Control has this magic in droves. It will save us all, and it will be glorious. Further, this little purple box contains unexpected versatility that promotes it from accessory to necessity for your pedalboard . With great potential as a potent “always on” pedal, the Purple Humper is a miniature mid-boost that surgically extracts quintessential rock tones from your amp.
Dial In Your Sound
Don’t confuse simplicity with a lack of versatility. The Purple Humper has one, sparkling dial that provides a profoundly broad palette of guitar tones appropriate for rock, jazz, soul, blues, and fusion, just to name a few. At 7 o’clock, the Purple Humper secretes a mild tone coloration at unity gain. As the signal increases, expect more coloration, warmth, and analog gooey goodness. Between 9 o’clock and noon, tones emerge that are perfect for jazz comping, playing clean leads and rock rhythm progressions. Things get sexy between noon and 3 o’clock, with swampy blues tones and classic rock sounds when playing an amp already on the edge of breakup. If you want more overdriven sounds or a singing lead tone, crank the pedal and ride the volume knob on your guitar while using your neck pick-up. Dial the volume back and everything cleans up nicely. Bump the volume back up when you want it to scream.
Get More With Less
As a boost pedal alone, the Purple Humper provides a modest 15 decibels of signal increase. However, the coloration that comes with that boost faithfully preserves the overtones of your base sound. Guitarists revere this as “transparency,” when you can still hear your dry sound peeking through the effect. There is definitely nothing worse than dialing in a great sound from just your guitar and amp, only to find out that stomping on your favorite pedal makes everything sound as dead as a doornail. The Humper takes this all a step further by genuinely enhancing your sound with additional mid-tones while still responding naturally to picking dynamics with the same, beautiful overtones you can coax from your dry signal. Want even more options? Experiment with where you place the Purple Humper in your pedal chain and consider stacking it with other dirt pedals to tease out more tone.
Overall, the combination of modest signal increase, quality tone enhancement, and tiny footprint makes the Purple Humper a great option as an always-on pedal, boost, and subtle tone enhancer used to stand out in the mix without drowning out your band mates.
What We Like: Simplicity, versatility, small footprint Iconic rock and roll tones Boost mids while preserving overtones.
Concerns: A little pricey for a mini boost at $146.