Price paid: $ 230
Purchased from: Mom & Pop
Sound — 10
Characterwise, it distorts quickly. The full boost is very fat, actually a bit too much so for me. The treble boost likes tube amps best, and you have to turn your tone knob down, but if you want the top boost sound this is the real deal. Mid boost is Santana with a neck pickup and the level at half, and Jimmy Page with the bridge and 3/4 volume. This is a classic rock Machine, but I could see doing some heavier stuff with full boost.
Overall Impression — 9
The Java Boost is the most glorious piece of machinery I've ever plugged into. Here's why: 1. The 3-position switch: full boost, treble boost, mid boost. 2. The Mullard 44 chip. This means early distortion and a spot-on rangemaster sound in treble-boost mode. 3. Mid boost. This is my favorite setting of the three. The best 'Layla' tone ever, with a tighter bass and clearer highs than any OD/disto pedal. 4. The tone knob only effects top cut, which means you can get rid of treble harshness and keep the rest of your sound. Quite a versatile pedal, with a few drawbacks: the 9v wall wart input isn't worth using. As the manual warns, it's noisy. It shuts right up with a battery though, it sounds better that way anyhow. Also, you have to unscrew the back to get at the battery. Not a huge deal but it's a bit inconvenient. Nitpicky, sure, but nothing's perfect, except for the sound, which gets a 10 for spectacular tone over a solid range of light-to -moderate boosts. Overall is a nine. I'd like to give it a ten based just on the sound, but an 'almost perfect' will have to suffice. If you don't need to use the power input, and treat your pedals well, it's as good as a 10. For the tones mentioned(and all my other ones), I use my Gibson LP Standard ('95, '60s neck) and the Cube 30 modeling a plexi with gain at 3/10, bass at 5/10, mids on 6, treble at 4, and a bit of reverb. Bridge volume is maxed, tone at 5/6. Neck volume is at 8, tone at 9. Java Boost serial is #961, the first-gen model with the same specs as the new one but with a regular f/t/mid switch instead of the latching one.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Reliability and durability warrants a nine, because I've never had a problem with it and it is bulletproof, except for the wimpy-looking full/treble/mid boost switch (I have an older version; newer Java Boosts have a cool, heavier-duty locking switch).
Ease of Use — 9
It has two knobs and one switch. Finding a good tone is simple. The manual is thorough and helpful and the controls are simple. The 9 comes from the useless 9v input and the inconvenient battery placement.