#1
Has anyone used the new Tech21 character pedals?

The one I'm looking at the 'California' (advertised as Mesa tones).....I'm also considering the SansAmp GT2

I plan to use these as a pre-amp and run directly into the effects return on a little 5 wall tube amp...

The demo's on the website sound great but I can't find any reviews on the California....

(I've seem plenty of reviews on the GT2, most of which rate it very highly).
#2
I recently got a Tri-Ac which I bought for the 'California' emulation and its great! I had listened to the online samples and when I got it I wasn't disappointed.
Ibanez SAS32FM
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Big Muff (Russian)
Vox Pathfinder 15R
Vox AC30CC2
#3
So the sound clips on the wen are close the the real thing then? It's the 'california' emulation I like to that's why I can't decide between the GT2 and California pedal.

I'm also looking at the Trademark amp that uses the same cuircuits as the GT2, though im not sure if this will sound better than me using the pedal as a pre-amp feeding into a 6L6 valve amp...
#4
Yeah, pretty close to the samples. I think the mesa emulation on the GT2, Tri-Ac and california pedals are pretty much the same - some of them I recall don't have a midrange setting though? Maybe the Gt2. As far as I remember the california pedal has drive, bass, mid and treble. The distortion on it has sort of a scooped midrange sound, so be careful of getting one without a midrange selector. I wouldn't go for the california pedal though, the price is only slightly cheaper than the Gt2 or tri-ac which have way more features.

I haven't tried the Trademarks, so can't comment on that.

I run my tri-ac before my AC30 - the AC30 does colour the sound a bit (makes it sound more vintagy). It sounds a little closer to the original in the FX loop, but I get too much feedback this way.

edit: those samples on the site sound a little better than the real thing, but thats a studio recording for you If thats the "type" of distortion you're after, then thats the pedal you need.
Ibanez SAS32FM
Dunlop Crybaby
Korg Pitchblack
Boss LS-2
Boss SD-1 + 2 x Clones... all modded of course
Fulltone GT2
Hardwire DL-8
Big Muff (Russian)
Vox Pathfinder 15R
Vox AC30CC2
Last edited by nbroers at Sep 3, 2008,
#5
My personal fav is the British setting boosted with an OD pedal. High gain heaven.
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#6
Thanks for all the info......Finally made a decision and went to the California (it dose have 'mid' on the EQ)

It should be with me tomorrow so I'll let you know what is sounds like....
#7
Quote by Van Noord
My personal fav is the British setting boosted with an OD pedal. High gain heaven.


Cool, I'm gonna try that Happen to have an sd-1 in front of it at the moment.
Ibanez SAS32FM
Dunlop Crybaby
Korg Pitchblack
Boss LS-2
Boss SD-1 + 2 x Clones... all modded of course
Fulltone GT2
Hardwire DL-8
Big Muff (Russian)
Vox Pathfinder 15R
Vox AC30CC2
#8
Update: California pedal arrived today...Went home during my lunch break to have a play.

Great little pedal, really pulls of Santana type tones, but I don't think it's quite right for me as I'm looking for a bit more 'teh brO0talz'.

Gonna return it tomorrow, guy at shop recommended a Blackstar tube powered pedal - DistX, so think I'm gonna give that a try.
#9
Really? I would have liked a little more gain on my tri-ac, but its a lot more br00talz than Santana tones, thats for sure What guitar / pickups do you have?

I managed to pull off a sort of big muff sound yesterday, not too fuzzy, just nice and gritty. Guitar (volume way down, neck pickup) > tri-ac (full gain) > AC30 top boost (gain at 9 o'clock). Awesome stuff.
Ibanez SAS32FM
Dunlop Crybaby
Korg Pitchblack
Boss LS-2
Boss SD-1 + 2 x Clones... all modded of course
Fulltone GT2
Hardwire DL-8
Big Muff (Russian)
Vox Pathfinder 15R
Vox AC30CC2
#10
Guitar I used was a Jackson dinky with jazz in the neck and JB in the bridge. ....Will try again later with my Tele.

Obviously its gonna take more than an hour to dial in some good setting, but I was not instantly impressed with this...I still prefer my metal muff right now.

When the gain was cranked right up to supposed 'recto' tones I found things a little fuzzy, very bassy and individual notes did not stand out at all. No good 'chug' either....

I tried running this as a pedal before the amp and also as a pre-amp straight into the effects return and got similar results.

Maybe I'm expecting too much from the California comparing it to a high-gain distortion pedal??

I do really like my metal muff, but find it a little thin sounding, so hope the Blackstar DistX will be a better replacment. It's got toobes so has to be more brO0talz, right
#11
I found the GT2 to have a wonderful sound, but it was a bit noisy with the gain up high. I ended up selling mine.
#12
Yeah, the California pedal is also pretty noisy when the gain is cranked, but I can handle a bit of noise if the tone is right.

I will spend a few more hours tweaking the pedal tonight but right now I get the feeling I am going to be sending it back....
#13
Spent more time noodling about with this pedal and have decided it must go back.

Tried it with my tele and I have to say it sounds fantastic, but it's not the sound I'm looking for...

If I could afford to hang onto it I would but unfortunatly I can't (cost me £125)

Think I'll try the Dist-X next...
#14
Maybe you're looking for something with more mids? The california model has a definite mid scooped sound. IMO it IS a high gain pedal, but it really shines when running before an amps preamp - just adds that little extra gain and mids that it needs.

Yeah, it is quite noisy - I use a NS-2 with mine to quieten it between playing.

I find those tube distortion pedals to be very gimmicky and pricey and you already have the metal muff (which many people recommend) so all I can recommend to you is getting a different amp. Maybe a real Mesa
Ibanez SAS32FM
Dunlop Crybaby
Korg Pitchblack
Boss LS-2
Boss SD-1 + 2 x Clones... all modded of course
Fulltone GT2
Hardwire DL-8
Big Muff (Russian)
Vox Pathfinder 15R
Vox AC30CC2
#15
I wish I could afford a real Mesa....

I've always wondered if the the tube pedals are a gimmick, but I was told the ecc83 in the Blackstar pedal runs at 300v, and the sound is pretty warm compared to some pedals.

Anyway, if I don't like it I can send it back and stick with the MM...