Aug 18, 2013
Bogner Amplification have done a cool thing recently. Realizing that for many guitarists, amps like the Uberschall and Ecstasy are holy grail amps that sit just out of reach due to financial constraints, they’ve gone ahead and distilled those classic tones into three larger than life stompboxes that represent the core of the Bogner legend – Uberschall, Ecstasy Red, and Ecstasy Blue.
Thanks to The Amp Shop, NZ’s one stop shop for boutique/high end amps and pedals, we’ve got all three to review!!
Today we’re going to start off with the black beast – the Uberschall pedal.
Uberschall means Super Sonic in German. In English, and in the guitar world, it means one thing – brutality. The Uberschall has become one of the holy grail amps for metal and heavy music, serving up crushing low end with a distinctive midrange bark that is unmistakable. Let’s take a look at its pedal equivalent:
In 2001 Bogner launched the Uberschall amplifier. More than a decade later, Bogner still hand builds each one, right here in Los Angeles, California. Dubbed “Armageddon in a Box”, the ferocious Uberschall pedal derives its thunderous hi-gain tones from the notoriously brutal Bogner Uberschall amplifier. While the Uberschall pedal offers a significant range of classic lower and medium gains, its true nature comes forth when delivering savage, face-melting, high-gain aggression – don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Reinhold designed the Uberschall pedal with five discrete Class A gain stage without diode clipping, mirroring circuitry of the Uberschall amplifier’s high-gain channel. This revolutionary approach provides clarity, touch sensitivity and note separation never before achieved in distortion pedals.
The Uberschall pedal is powered by a standard 9V battery or 9VDC power supply. Reinhold’s advanced circuitry internally elevates the voltage a substantially higher level. This higher voltage provides a greater dynamic range which closely resembles the feel of the Uberschall amplifier’s legendary tube design.
Master Controls: volume, treble, middle, bass and gain
Boost function with independently lit volume control
Jacks: input, output and remote.
Remote jack allows control of the On/Off and boost functions via a remote switching unit
Low Battery Indicators: LEDs blink when battery voltage drops below critical threshold.
Premium components include: Double sided gold plated circuit boards, German WIMA capacitors, Japanese Nichicon capacitors and gold plated relays, Carling switches and more
Best part? They didn’t bother replicating the clean channel on the Uber… since, well, it’s rather terrible. But who the hell buys an Uber for cleans anyway? That’s like buying a Fender Champ for death metal, or something.
Toe to little toe
Any person in their right mind wouldn’t really expect the Uberschall pedal to match up 100% to its much bigger brother – even if it were possible to squeeze the tone of a raging 100W tube beast into a tiny box of resistors and diodes and whatnot, Bogner would be majorly shooting themselves in the foot if they actually marketed it!
So, realistically what I wanted to find out was whether the essence of the Uberschall was preserved – the midrange bark and huge low end that I was talking about earlier.
Controls on the pedal are fairly straightforward – your usual treble/mid/bass tone stack, gain, and volume. There’s also a footswitchable lead boost with adjustable level, which gives you a bit more of push in both gain and volume to my ears.
I put together a little track to showcase some rhythm and lead tones – time to press play! I’ve recorded this with my Ash Customworks Heilo, loaded with Rio Grande BBQ Bucker in the bridge for those beefy tones. It’s going straight into my Focusrite interface, and running through my new favourite plugin – the Scuffham Amps S-Gear 2 which we did a demo of just last week! It’s turning out to be a really really cool and authentic platform for demos and I’m looking forward to using this more often. Anyway, enough of me getting carried away – here’s the clip.
I felt that the pedal sounded most “correct” (in my admittedly limited experience playing the real thing) with the gain maxed out. That unique midrange certainly is in there, and with the Boost engaged it’s capable of getting to liquid lead land for those aggressive shred runs. String definition was pretty damn impressive considering the gain was maxed out – I played some half open chords across all 6 strings in the rhythm riffing and it certainly did not descend into mush.
Obviously the tone you get out of the Uberschall pedal is also shaped and limited by the actual amp that you’re putting it through – you can’t expect this to turn a little Fender Tweed thing into a fire breathing beast. I found that it worked best into an already slightly driven amp, with the bass control on the amp opened up a fair bit in order to let the massive low end of the Uber shine through.
Reinhold Bogner, doing things like a boss as usual. There’s nothing I can fault on this beast – construction is rock solid from what I can see, it’s well laid out, and it certainly accomplishes what it’s meant to! It is kind of a one trick pony though – so before you put down your hard earned dollars, make sure that’s the trick that you want to have on your pedalboard. Thanks once again to the Amp Shop for the review units – if you’re in NZ and in the market for one of these, you know who to call!
4.0 F*ck Yeahs – don’t forget to tune in next time for the Ecstasy Red and Blue reviews!
Come have your say on the Uber pedal: http://forum.sixstringsamurai.co.nz/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=264