QBoost - Stone Deaf FX

Sep 06 2021
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catalinbread sft
stone deaf fx qboost

I first discovered the Stone Deaf FX pedals when I was gushing at "Sound Like Josh Homme" videos. I flirted with the idea to get some version of the PDF, but was ultimately drawn to the simplicity of the QBoost.

The QBoost is a very elegantly designed frequency booster. It can fatten up thinner sounding single coils, push mids (pushing mids is what the guitars in Queens of the Stone Age are all about) and cut through a band mix or accentuate the upper mids for a treble boost effect.

I like the separate foot switches. The left switch turns it off completely, while the right switch toggles the frequency shaping on or off.

The vintage/modern switch gives you either a clean boost or some preampy crunch. Sounds to me as if the overdrive that's coming from the QBoost is constant and the preamp knob only controls the volume output of the pedal. That way, you can push another overdrive or your amp into more saturation.

In "modern" mode, I can still hear a very light crackle coming just from the pedal, so there is still some unique character added – which I also dig.

In the demo above, you can listen to the QBoost going into either the SM/BS Mini, the Catalinbread SFT or straight into the frontend of the Iridium. The Iridium is set to a pretty clean Vox-style amp. Since the preamp stage of the Iridium consists of cascading JFETs, it also nicely breaks up just like the other overdrive pedals.

The interesting thing about frequency boosts is that it saturates the next gain stage differently depending on how we set the frequency. If we accentuate the upper mids and then boost that accentuated signal, we get more saturation in those upper mids. That's very different to flat-boost into an overdrive, and then filter the signal afterwards.

The range of the frequency control is 35Hz to 6kHz, which is sub-bass to presence territory. I noticed that maxing out the frequency knob (boosting 6kHz) doesn't do much for my sound. The Mini and/or the Strymon might cut those highs a bit. But right before that, you can get that typical cocked wah sound.

The cocked wah is an old trick. It sounds very nasally on its own, but in a band mix, it really helps to stand out without bumping up the volume.

This is not only a boost for QOTSA fans, but a true utility pedal and tone-shaper. If you wanna let it rip, do it with the QBoost.

Signal Chain

  • Epiphone SG Special with Lollar Firebird pickups (bridge pickup)
  • QBoost
  • Strymon Iridium (Chime)
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
  • Garageband


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