JHS Colourbox

Another of HornFX’s favorites. In 1961 Rupert Neve started a company that would eventually produce one of the most important pieces of electronics in the music world: The Neve Console. Through this piece of hardware, we were given the sounds of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Quincy Jones, to name a few. The Colour Box is a tribute and reimagining of that console. This preamp will allow you not only to convert your microphone’s signal so that it can be put through your pedals, but it will give you wonderful, musically intuitive tone shaping that will give you a huge smile.

External Control: None
Cost: $$$

HornFX Review

Interface:  4/5
This is a very simply laid out pre-amp pedal, with incredibly intuitive controls. The input switch to change from XLR to ¼” can be difficult to get to without a small tool or a pen.

Versatility: 2/5
This pedal has one main function and it achieves that with brilliance. Other than a great mic pre-amp, it has some very nice drive capabilities with the gradual gain increase controlled by the step button. But do be careful about adding drive too early in our signal chain.

Tonal Reproduction: 5/5
This can clearly and pristinely reproduce your tone, but it’s true sonic strength is its EQ functions. The recreation of the Neve recording console can serve the user incredibly well when looking to manipulate your tone in applicable and musical ways.

Complexity: Medium

Complexity: Medium

Live application: 5/5
If you need a way to convert your XLR to ¼” to run into pedals, this is one of the best solutions. Not only can you have your use of effects be made possible with this nicely sized pedal, but you can shape and color your tone a number of beautiful and musical ways.

InterfaceVersatilityTonal ReproductionLive ApplicationTotal Score

Product Information

1. Gain (RED)
The gain structure is made up of three parts:
–The Pre Volume (labeled "Pre-Vol") can be used the same as you would a Drive knob on an overdrive pedal. In this circuit, the Pre Volume is between the two gain stages, and the setting of the Pre Volume determines how much signal continues to the second stage.
–The Master Gain (labeled "Master") is what would typically be considered as a Volume control. Other terms are "master volume" or the "output trim."
–The Step Gain (labeled "Step") changes the gain of each preamp stage in five stages. Rotating the "Step" knob from left-to-right will increase the gain by the following:
1 is X 18 db
2 is X 23 db
3 is X 28 db
4 is X 33 db
5 is X 39 db

2. Equalizer / Tone Control (BLUE)
The tone control section is a highly modified Baxandall type that is tuned for less control interaction and more boost/cut capability.  The center frequencies are Treble 10kHz, Middle 1kHz, and Bass 120Hz, with +/- 17dB of control.

3. Highpass Filter (YELLOW)
The Highpass spans from 60Hz to 800Hz with a 6dB per octave slope. This control allows you to only let high frequencies pass. In return you will find a vast palet of tones that sit perfect and inspire textures that you have never heard from your rig. The toggle switch will turn the Highpass on or off.

In and Out Jacks
You will notice that in addition to the normal 1/4" instrument input/output found on a guitar pedal, we added an XLR input and output so that The Colour Box can be used as a vocal, bass, acoustic, or keyboard preamp live or in the studio. The 1/4" mono output and the XLR output are independent and allow you to run parallel outputs to two destinations. For example, run the 1/4" mono out into your guitar amplifier and at the same time run the XLR output to your front-of-house mixing board. Another example of using parallel outputs would be to track amp tones and the "direct in" sound of your performance onto two separate tracks. We achieved the parallel output by way of a discrete shunt-feedback circuit.

Input Selector Switch
The input selector switch located above the input jack lets you choose line or microphone input. In the down position it is in Instrument mode. In the up position it is in XLR mode.

The Colour Box runs on 18v DC negative center power. We supply an adapter but you can also use any standard 18v DC pedal power supply or voltage doubling cable

Product info from the JHS website