Ease of Use: Radial products are known for their inventive professional sound solutions. Major players in the music industry have come to realize Radial is a company of master technicians with the serious tone freak in mind. I learned at the 2009 NAMM conference that the list of players using Radial products is miles long, but the company does not give any of their products away for endorsement deals. Serious players require serious tone preservation of their prized instruments and amplifiers; the Radial PB-1 Power Booster is in a class of its own.
Although the PB-1 is a boost pedal by nature, it is actually equipped with several notable features. First of all this is a Class-A booster, not a standard stomp box made with an integrated circuit chip or op-amp. To put it quite simply: this pedal is made to preserve tone. The PB-1 is also equipped with a variable pickup load correction circuit called Drag. This is a fantastic bonus feature that is designed to match your guitars output impedance to the amp's input impedance restoring the natural relationship between a guitar, cable, and amplifier. (More on the Drag control later.) // 10
Sound: After using this pedal on my main live rig for over 3 months now, I can assure you that Radial's enthusiasm over this product is well warranted. I put a booster at the end of my huge pedal board hoping it would restore my signal loss and provide me with a considerable volume jump for solos. After trying a few signal boosters I came across the PB-1 and have been extremely happy with the results.
First, the buffer inside the pedal immediately provided me with considerable signal restoration. Without even activating the boost and adjusting the drag control I noticed improvements. The boost of the pedal immediately surprised me with how clean and effective it was going into an already slightly overdriven amp. The first gig I used the PB-1 my solos were jumping over the loud stage volume of the band with no problems.
The Drag control again is a fantastic bonus for this booster pedal. You will notice a definite brightness suck when using a lot of stomp boxes which comes from signal degradation and impedance skewing. The Drag circuit counteracts the effects of a buffered signal to retain the natural tone of the guitar/amp relationship. My Live amplifier is very revealing of tonal nuances and I could definitely hear a major improvement over signal quality after introducing the Radial PB-1 into my rig.
The PB-1 actually works great for slamming an already driven amp into full on saturation territory with volume. Check out the audio sample! Sample 1 is the same guitar and same amp at the same setting. The rhythm was done with the PB-1 off and the lead with it on. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I have been using this pedal for over 6 months and its probably seen 100 gigs at least. The build quality is top-notch. Radial really makes their products for the pros and after a few drops and spills this thing has kept rocking without faltering once. // 10
Overall Impression: I would go as far to say this is the best booster on the market, and if there is a better one I haven't heard it yet. I really love the Keeley Katana but even it does not compare. It is an expensive pedal (140 USD Street) but well worth the cost. Combined with exceptional build quality combined with high quality components in a class-A circuit, the PB-1 is hard to beat. The Drag control makes this pedal all Radial. Guitarists with wireless units, long cables runs, or large pedal boards will find this product to be a complete tone saver. I give this pedal my highest rating yet with a strong A+. // 10
- Josh Johnson (c) 2009