When we first got hip to what our friends at Source Audio were cooking up in 2021, it made it really hard to keep quiet about it. Our local pedal pals have made their first ever analog pedal, and we couldn't be more excited to be a part of its introduction to the world!
The ZIO is - at its core - a representation of everything we value in a toneful, responsive, and dynamic guitar sound. As gigging, touring, and studio musicians, we've experienced almost every possible scenario when it comes to achieving "that sound". Sometimes even the simplest changes yield the biggest results, and we've found that time and time again in the ZIO.
If you've ever wondered what it would like to possess the ultimate swiss army knife preamp, boost, or magic studio box, you owe it to yourself to check out the ZIO.
Let's learn a bit more about this amazing new release from Source Audio, and you'll even get a little taste of some TME tone testing in the video link!
The goal in creating the ZIO Analog Front End + Boost was simple yet ambitious: “Make Everything Sound Better!” ZIO is an all-analog preamp/boost pedal that includes a choice of four distinct preamp circuits, each with up to +20dB of additional output boost. ZIO is Source Audio’s first all-analog effects pedal and designed in collaboration with Christopher Venter, the owner and sole engineer at SHOE Pedals.
ZIO is a deceptively flexible unit that can serve many different purposes at various places in your signal path. Use it at the front of your chain of effects to shape the rest of your outgoing tone, after your drive pedals as an overall tone sweetener or clean volume boost, or at the the end of your pedalboard to drive a long cable run or as a restorative device to recreate the sound of your guitar going directly into the input of your amplifier. You can also use the ZIO in your amp's effects loop if you want to drive your power amp even harder, or to compensate for a level mismatch between two channels.
The word "ZIO" is an acronym for Impedance (“Z” is the electrical symbol for impedance), Input (“I”), and Output (“O”). The pedal is designed to take a guitar’s high impedance signal, sweeten the tone with any of its four preamp circuits, and output a strong, low impedance signal that won’t be altered by the buffered dry tones of effect pedals further down the signal chain. High fidelity, noise-free Burr-Brown op amps help give ZIO extreme clarity and responsive pick dynamics, while maintaining ideal body and warmth.
ZIO has four distinct preamp circuits. JFET offers a completely transparent signal boost with zero coloring or distortion. LOW-CUT reduces “tubby” bottom-end for a tighter sound with added headroom. STUDIO finds inspiration from the time-honored “Pultec Trick,” a studio technique that adds clarity by cutting the “mud frequencies” and adding mid-range articulation. E-PLEX captures the focused and subtle grit of the preamps found in vintage Echoplex Tape Delay units. The ZIO’s TONE toggle offers three different levels of capacitance (or simulated cable length) to brighten or darken the tone.
- Circuit knob with four distinct preamp circuits:
- - JFET (transparent, flat frequency curve)
- - LOW-CUT (cuts lows without affecting mid to high frequencies)
- - STUDIO (replicates “Pultec Trick” equalization)
- - E-PLEX (inspired by the preamp in an vintage Echoplex Tape Delay unit)
- High quality components and Burr Brown JFET op-amps
- Output control with up to +20dB of signal boost
- 3-way tone toggle switch with bright/medium/dark cable capacitance voicing
- 2-way Footswitch Action toggle switch (with always-on "Mute" option)
- Extra Tuner/Line Output
- True Bypass
- Power Consumption: 9VDC center negative @ 20 mA
- Brushed anodized aluminum housing
- Dimensions: L: 4.1 in./10.5cm x W: 2.36 in./6cm x H: 2.22 in./5.65cm (including knobs)