What a marvelous little golden robot.

I made a video to go along with the review. Keep in mind that I am an awkward teenager recovering from GAS, and that I had to displace mountains of fall leaves to earn the money for this pedal. I have adjusted my mic placement and amp settings so that the majority of the clipping you will hear is from my gear (on purpose), not the mic/recording quality. The video does not do the volume boost justice.


What is the Hotone Liftup? This pedal is a compact, cute, cost-effective clean boost. It works great as a (12 decibel?) boost or as a signal-pushing pedal for an amp or a distortion pedal.

How does it work? The Liftup utilizes 4 parameter knobs and general stomp-box switching, true bypass. The first knob is the volume control, which adjusts the overall output volume of the pedal. That knob needs to be used in conjunction with the boost knob, which adjusts the decibel gain added to the signal. The boost knob is placed on the top of the pedal, and is given individual number markings from 0 to 10. Placing the volume knob at max and utilizing the boost knob from 1 to 3 allows the user to achieve the cleanest decibel boost. When moving the boost knob beyond 3 and onto 4-10, the sound will start to push a speaker to clip, the severity of the clipping dependent upon the amplifier used. Adjusting the volume knob at higher boost levels can allow the user to control the overall volume of their over-driven amp. The third knob is a tone control, which adjusts from a darkened tone behind 12 o' clock to a brighter tone past 12 o' clock. The fourth parameter, the "warm" button, allows the user to round their tone to a warmer, fuller sound. This is particularly useful to scoop out any hard clipping or roll off unwanted bite. It runs on standard 9V power, 17 mA, center negative. There is no battery housing.

How does it sound? Exceptionally good. Utilizing the lower end of the boost knob gives your tone a fairly massive volume boost, which is definitely noticeable. The clean boost is also tweak-able with the tone and "warm" parameters. Using the upper region of the boost knob allows for clipping or extension of clipping to happen. I do not think the pedal has a clipping circuit, but the clipping it makes from affecting your gear always sounds warm and desirable, especially when using the tone/warm parameters. It works marvelously as driving a clean amp to overdrive, driving an amp on the verge of break up to warm crunch, and boosting the sound from a distortion pedal.

Cons? This pedal's issues are not even really issues at all depending upon your clean boost needs. One issue may be that it doesn't get extremely loud while staying clean. The pedal will most likely make your amp clip at maximum output (volume, tone, and boost knob maxed). Where it actually starts to clip is dependent upon your amp and other gear. Some clean boost pedals are designed to stay completely clean, others meant to drive an amp to distortion. This pedal is somewhat in between those two ideas. Another issue is that very little information is on the pedal. I had to search quite a bit to find out that it is a 12 decibel boost, and I am still not sure of that. There are seriously no written reviews on this pedal except for this one. Also, the Youtube demos are pitiful. It is also really small (I mean, 3 inches) so it could be prone to accidental crushing, confused as a child's toy, or it might fall through your board. If you are really into aesthetics, it can look puke-green in the right lighting. Lastly, the markings on the knobs might be annoying to get used to, compared to the simple tick mark on most pedals.

Pros/How do I (myself) use it? It sounds superb, whether you are using it as a clean boost or as a signal-pusher. The clean boost range is clean, workable, loud, and wonderfully utilized through the 4 parameters. The clipping it helps to create when boosting an amp's breakup always sounds warm, soft, and saturated. It's also really small, great for a tight squeeze on a board. Not to mention it looks like an adorable little robot, and the LED's light up underneath the boost knob. It's also fairly inexpensive, (60$ if you look in the right places), but reasonably well built. I use it as a clean boost at the end of my pedal chain, for cutting through a band for a solo or another part where I want my sound to be in the front of the mix. I would also use it as a clipping-extension for a distortion pedal, but then I would have to buy another and that would be tacky.

Conclusion: I have needed a clean boost for a while. The RP-155 has a gnarly delay when switching presets, and also with the whammy/volume pedal option, I could cut out my sound completely (another issue for another time). The Liftup pedal allows me to quickly boost my sound to cut through the mix and, just as quickly, come back down with no interruption or latency. It sounds superb, has many uses and capabilities, and is inexpensive. Clean boost settings: Volume at Max, Tone at Max, "Warm" On, Boost at 3. Pushing a breaking-up amp: Volume at 2 o' clock, Tone at Max, "Warm" On, Boost at 8-10. Rating: 9/10

Edit: I experienced a problem January 18th, 2015. The pedal stopped working correctly and when stomped, it muted my sound. The light still was active. The stompbox switch seems to have been scratchy, so I sprayed some contact cleaner and worked the peg so that it would leak into the pedals' switching circuitry. Problem solved.
Last edited by Will Lane at Mar 23, 2015,
Cool little pedal, nice video review
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Congrats on the new pedal!
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Nice review Sounds good in the video too

FWIW I think any boost pedal will drive an amp into distortion if the amp is set that way. but some boost pedals dirty up themselves, while others stay clean all the way up (i.e. no distortion from the pedal, but that doesn't mean it won't drive an amp which is just on the edge of distortion).
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How is its build quality? Is it sturdy? Do you think it can handle the normal "abuse" of being on a pedalboard used on regular gigging?
I've been GAS'ing for a Wally looper, but haven't had the chance to try a Hotone pedal yet.
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How is its build quality? Is it sturdy? Do you think it can handle the normal "abuse" of being on a pedalboard used on regular gigging?
I've been GAS'ing for a Wally looper, but haven't had the chance to try a Hotone pedal yet.

It is pretty solid. Considering the price, I wouldn't try to smash it. But I don't see ever having build quality issues in the future.

EDIT: Build quality issues experienced. Check the OP.
Last edited by Will Lane at Mar 9, 2015,