Guitar Player Magazine Review
by Darrin Fox
"With Hallowed Models Such As The Steel String Singer and Overdrive Special, Dxmble amplifiers have enjoyed a mythical status typically reserved for the Hope Diamond or a Yeti sighting. So seeing how there are only an estimated 300 Dxmbles on earth--and how they fetch upwards of $40,000--it's not surprising that a cottage industry has emerged, determined to impart Dxmble sonic signatures such as endless touch-sensitive sustain, huge crystalline clean tones, and highly refined grind, for a fraction of the cost of an actual Dxmble.
The Ethos Overdrive TLE ($395 direct) aims to impart some of the elusive Dxmble amplifier mojo into a two-channel stompbox/ preamp. Cosmetically the Ethos emits a heavy Dxmble aroma, right down to the mini "Tone Stack" toggles for each channel. And although the Ethos is somewhat large for a typical pedalboard, it's not excessively so, and it's very light. A 12-volt power supply is included, although the Ethos can be powered via a single 9-volt battery for approximately 15 hours--pretty nice for when a wall wart is a pain in the onions!
With various Fender Telecasters and Strats as well as a Gibson SG, I plugged the Ethos TLE (TLE stands for "tight low end") in the front of a variety of amps, including a Fender Deluxe Reverb, a Reverend Goblin 5-15, and a mid-'70s non-master 50 watt Marshall powering a 2x12 Fender cabinet.
The Ethos' Clean channel is fairly easy to dial-in, though its many tonal options can be overwhelming at first. This is a good thing, however, as there is nary a bad sound to be found. The Tone Stack switches afford a cornucopia of textures and shades depending on your guitar and pickup settings.
For instance, I dialed up ultra-glassy clean tones that simply popped out of my amp's speakers with a delicately detailed presence that made even my Gibson SG a formidable clean machine, especially in dual pickup settings. Conversely, with a Tele and Strat, my already glassy-sounding Fender amp became even more crystalline, with a tight, blooming low-end response, even with low settings of the Ethos' ultra-powerful Bass control. With the Gain cranked, I conjured biting, barely distorted chuck that is particularly delicious with humbuckers, as the grind comes in only when you lay into your strings. I harvested some especially succulent clean tones by simply backing off my guitar's Volume control, or lightening my picking attack. Very nice!
The Global HC control, located on the side of the unit, is key to getting your preferred treble response, while the Treble,
Middle, Bass, and Tone Stack switches allow you to fine-tune to the nth degree. The Brite switches on each channel are voiced remarkably--useable with my keening Telecaster or the more mellow sounding Gibson SG--while the Modern/Classic switch adjusts the EQ curve ever so slightly. The Jazz/Rock switch is the most vociferously voiced control, as it takes the Ethos demeanor from smooth and polite (Jazz) to snarling and in-your-face (Rock), as the gain and mids are upped substantially.
Speaking of gain, the Ethos TLE's Overdrive channel has a ton --enough for insane sustain that borders on the silly, and notes that gently fade into sultry, musical feedback--at bedroom volume levels! However, the Ethos is not a metal machine as its overall character is designed to deliver silky-smooth grind with humbuckers or single-coils. Think Robben Ford, not Robin Fink. Make no mistake, the Ethos delivers perfectly manicured distortion that allows complex intervals to speak with a clear, ultra-musical voice. And when you engage the Boost function, you're greeted with exactly the same tone, just a shade louder. Sweet.
The Speaker Simulated output makes the Ethos TLE insanely versatile, providing you with a home recording tool, as well as a direct-to-the-P.A. conduit to give you total control over your front-of-house tones. Plugging straight into my
laptop for quick demos was not only easy, it sounded great as well. Its excellent utility, as well as its ability to
impart boutique-amp tones, make it a sure-fire winner." --Darrin Fox
Published in Guitar Player Magazine, September 09 issue and Guitar Player Online Magazine , May 09
"7 Killer Guitar Gizmos You Must Have." By Brad Wendkos, True Fire Guitar Forum
"No question about it--the Ethos Overdrive pedal from Custom Tones is a must-have addition to the rig. Worth every dollar invested and every day spent on the waiting list to get one, the Ethos is no urban guitar myth - it delivers the goods. The Ethos
nails the coveted "D" amp, is extremely touch-sensitive, serves up a phenom range and quality of clean through overdriven tones; is plug and play easy; and is as jaw-dropping
in the studio as it is live on the stage. Fair warning; the Ethos is highly addictive."
"The 101 Best Stomp Boxes of All Time EVER!"
#74 Ethos Overdrive. "If price isn't an issue, the Ethos is agruably the best and most versatile Dxmble-chasing pedal available. With clean and drive channels, it'll do Robben, Larry, Santana..." Guitarist Magazine: UK issue, #336, pg. 44
Performing Musician Magazine Review, written by Bob Thomas
"...Conclusion: The Ethos Overdrive is not only the best-sounding and most touch-responsive solid-state overdrive that I can ever recall using but it is also the most expensive. Whether or not it will suit everyone I can't really say, because we all want different things from our sounds. For me, the Ethos Overdrive gives probably the closest sound and feel to actually playing through a valve amplifier that I've found. If you think that this is the kind of unit you'd like, sadly you can't go and try one out unless you know someone who has one, as they're not available in the shops. You'll have to do what I did — visit the Custom Tones website and check out the video and sound samples that are there before making up your mind. These convinced me to spend the necessary, and I'm very glad that they did!..."
"The Quest for Good Guitar Tone: Dumble Overdrive Special in a Box"
by Thaddeus Hogarth, Berklee College of Music.
"...In conclusion, I have used the Ethos through a number of diverse playing combinations and it is amazing…a highly recommended pedal for all round tone-tweaking purposes along with great singing overdrive that does not sound narly. This pedal is a must for folks who record, tour and play different rooms with different back-line amplification provided. It allows you to keep a consistent tone through many different shapes/makes of amplifiers and provides a familiar tone-tweaking platform for very little floor space. It allows you to bring your recognizable signature sound, from your home studio to the pro-recording session and then on the road for your world tour. You will still sound like yourself.
For those of who you might be looking for a pedal that will make your Fender Twin Reverb sound exactly like Robben through an Alexander Dumble Overdrive Special….well…aren’t you really are asking for a lot? but…the Ethos is as good and as close as it gets an A+++++"
"...I bought an Ethos pedal from you last year, and wanted to report back a few things...I was working for Paul Simon at the time, and you got me a pedal in short order, and I really appreciated that.
Over this past week, I've been programing sounds for Chick Corea for his upcoming Return to Forever 4 tour of Australia. In searching to make a sound on the Mini Moog a little more touch sensitive and have more bite, I decided to plug the Mini Moog Voyager into the Ethos pedal Overdrive channel, and the results were absolutely stunning. I had to send Chick Corea off on tour, but I sent him a short demo of the sound that I created with the instrument plugged into your pedal and he was really impressed.
As I make my living doing mastering, sound development, and playing guitar for various live and studio projects, the Ethos has proven to be an extremely powerful part of my tool box that I bring to gigs. I am a big fan of your work, and your pedals. Keep 'em coming." Bob Rice, Producer, Guitarist, Sound Designer, Engineer, Teacher (see Links page)
"I feel bad that I haven't thanked you before this, but I have enjoyed your preamp for years now and I have never told you that yet. I run it through my pedals into a old Music Man 65 from the early 80's, into the back end of the amp. It works great because the preamp in that amp is solid state...I go right into the power amp bypassing the preamp, with the two 616's and a single 12, and that makes it a you know who whanabe. Thanks again." John McNaught, Nashville
"I was turned on to this pedal (Ethos) by the Luthier, John Buscarino, and have told just about every guitar player I know. These pedals are just amazing! I've used them to run into a PA when backing up a singer, or as part of my pedal board. I don't play much rock anymore, but was recently part of a big rock and roll stage production that has since gone to Broadway. We played in one of the major houses here in the South Bay, and the Ethos pedal was going straight into the house while my amp acted mostly as a monitor. Amazing Results.
I'm going to be making some more videos over the next couple of weeks with my new Godin Archtop...run direct into my interface with the Ethos. The two together are truly something to listen to...as if a $5000 Archtop was plugged into a vintage tube amp.
I'll stop gushing now but I just wanted to let you know what great work you are doing and how useful this is for a working artist."
Mason Razavi, Composer/Guitarist/Instructor
"I am most impressed by the subtlety of the interactions between the various adjustment knobs. The Ethos is an incredible studio tool and also a really great clean overdrive for live work." GE Smith, former Saturday Night Live Bandleader
"...The most amazing direct guitar sound I've ever achieved. All the best, and thanks for an incredible pedal!"
Matt Marshak, Recording Artist, Contempory Smooth Jazz
"The Ethos is working great. I have used it in a number of situations, and it sounds incredible!"
Grant Geissman, Composer/Recording Artist
"...I LOVE the Ethos pedal. Simple, effective, and sounds well...AMAZING :-)"
Vinnie Zummo, Joe Jackson band guitarist.
"Ethos Overdrive Pedal KILLS! I have one of these pedals. I'll vote for it as "Gear of the Year"
if there was such an award. A landmark in pedal evolution. Buy one. And no, I'm not working for
them and I paid for mine with real money. I just like acknowledging genius when I find it."
Loni Spector, Amp Show Producer
"This will be my second Ethos for use on another pedalboard of mine... My second order was a no-brainer based on my previous experience with the outstanding build quality and tone provided by Custom Tones." Ty Long
"...I brought the Ethos today to the Studio where I record and plugged into the mixing console and man I got
blown away !!! Amazing pedal pal, I can't get over the head room and as to how real the sound is!!!
Congratulations on a fantastic piece of engineering. Cheers."
Ehsaan Noorani, Guitarist, Film Composer, Brand Ambassador for Fender. Bombay, India.
"My Ethos Overdrive finally arrived. It's the greatest pedal I've ever played with. You do excellent work. Congratulations!"
Federico Pattume, Florence, Italy
"...I've had the Ethos for nearly a year. The real test of a stomp box (or any piece of gear really) is how you feel down the road after having used it, put it to the test in the studio, on stage etc. Is it gathering dust? Is it used only for special effects now and then? Is it critical to your tone? Well, the Ethos really shines. Everyday it seems I learn more about what it can do, how it can make a great tone spectacular. The more I use it, the more I love it. And that's saying something because I was wild about it from the get go..." Richard Sales, Musican / Producer/Glasswing Studios.
"GREAT WORK, KUDOS, CONGRATULATIONS, WOW!!!!!
I've been playing guitar professionally for 25 years now and have written music extensively for TV and film. Your
Ethos pedal is AMAZING, I just spent 6 hours playing it and I can honestly say I haven't had this much fun playing in
a long time. I've nailed tones ranging from Eric Johnson-ville to the spankiest blues vibe to shimmering clean. This is the first overdrive I've encountered that works with any guitar I use, *doesn't* change the character of the guitar, and is *completely* touch sensitive (I've tried it with 10 guitars so far...Strats, Teles, P-90 LP, Gibson Pat Martino, Line 6 Variax, etc.). I've never played a Dxmble but if this is how they feel, I can completely understand why they're going for tens of thousands of dollars. I'm amazed at the dynamic range of this beast!
My Ethos pedal is now my go-to overdrive and it's definitely going to be a huge part of my tone. Thanks for creating such an inspiring, musical instrument. BTW, I'm keeping my TLE when I get my switchable. Can't have too many."
Mike Standal, Guitarist/Composer/Producer
"Wow! I got my Ethos yesterday (expertly packed and shipped - thank you) and it's absolutely incredible. I don't need to rehash all the things that people have said about it - they're all true. What I want to highlight for potential purchasers is the effect the unit has on anemic, low-volume amp tone. It's nothing short of amazing what you can sound like by using the Ethos at amp levels you would normally find uninspiring. It's magic, I love it, thank you for a first class product and sales experience. I wish you continued success."
Zac Wrixon, recording artist, performer.
"I am a pedal steel player. We are known for our obsessive pursuit of tone. At many concert venues, I am often faced with using less-than-steller backline equipment. I have finally found the answer: the ETHOS pedal. I now go directly into the board with my ETHOS--the sound is consistantly clean, warm and fat. Rob and Custom Tones really nailed it with this pedal; it's become one of my favorite pieces of gear." Bob "Boo" Bernstein, recording artist, performer.
"I just released a CD, I used the Ethos in the album. Our music isn't jazz, it's singer-songwriter/rock/pop/etc --but the Ethos was really useful in the album as I tracked a lot of the guitars at home. All guitars for "always you" were the Ethos, as well as some rhythm and lead parts in other songs."
Barbie Almalbis Honasan, recording artist, performer.
"I must say first that I am just BLOWN AWAY with this overdrive. I've been playing for over 35 years and hardly ever use pedals because...well, they don't sound good, or they're too limited. Your device just keeps amazing me. Within ten minutes I had found two tones that had been eluding me for all these years; I had real trouble putting the guitar down that night." Glenn S.
"...I recently performed in Japan at the Green Room Festival in Yokohama. Around 8,000 in the audience. I normally use an old Magnatone 213 which has a very particular sound. For this gig I was playing my Collings acoustic thru the pedal board and into what would normally be my precious Magnatone - the ONLY amp that guitar sounds incredible through. But I couldn't take my amp AND pedalboard on the plane. Overweight would have cost me a few hundred dollars and I felt sketchy about the 100V/50 cycle thing. So I rolled the dice with back line amps. I had requested a VOX AC30, figuring that would come close. They provided me with two to choose from and I ended up using the 6TBX. It wasn't close but at least it was clean.
I spent around ten minutes with the Ethos and it sounded as good as or better than the beloved Magnatone! Awesome sound. I got rave reviews from everyone there. A big magazine guy there said, 'I've never heard such a big sound out of a guitar'. Pretty cool.
Then I come home and have a producing job. Before I left I'd done some guitar work using my 1972 Marshall 50 watt head. A nice, fragile old amp. With the Strat, I get pretty cool tones. But when I returned home the Marshall was blowing fuses. I started to panic but then remembered, 'Ethos!' Within minutes I had a BETTER tone than I got through the Marshall through the old swampy Magnatone! The Ethos is so musical and powerful. Unlike any pedal I've owned and I've owned a few.
I now feel confident I can dial in just about any amp to the tone I want. With the option of the TLE and Classic switch and everything else, it's like a Swiss Army Knife of tone.
It's not a no brainer one trick pony but it isn't rocket science either. It's just serious wings for a tone freak..."
Richard Sales, Musican/Producer (for Universal Music and others), GlassWing Studios.
"I received the TLE on Thursday which was great because I had a chance to get into it a bit before my gig. Simply put… you’ve already heard all the superlatives via your other reviews. All I can say is that those reviews were spot on! If I were ‘Mr. D’ I might be a little upset that somebody had figured out how to replicate his sound for $400! Calling this a “pedal” doesn’t do it justice- it is an overall sound shaping tool as others have described. I used it at home with my JVM and on the gig with my Bogner Shiva- with identical great results. It will be the BEST $ you have ever spent on a piece of music gear! But you’d best get on this list!" Dick Bauerle
"I received my Ethos TLE two days ago and I'm still in Shock. This isn't a 'pedal' even though it looks like one. IMHO the Ethos TLE is one of the finest 'Musical Instruments' I've ever seen or heard. The sonic purity, range of tone & lush voice make it impossible for me to call this a mere 'pedal'. It is one of those rare instruments that can inspire you to new heights and has given this 'old dog' a much needed kick in the backside. Robbie...you're a genius in my book. A tone guru of the highest order. I mean every word...Simply Amazing.
I tried the Ethos direct into my PA today (Good sized Mackie 4 way system) and again I was blown away how it sounded. I know now how it'll sound direct in a studio situation. Kudos again for a superior product." Thank You!! Jim Henry
"Holy $#$@!!!!!! The Ethos is fantastic, and I haven't even tried it in front of an amplifier yet. I've been running everything from my strats and teles to my Asher lap steel and Bear Creek Hawaiian guitar with a sound hole pickup through it, both clean and dirty, and it sounds spectacular through my DAW. I can't wait to try it on a gig through my Princeton or Vibrolux....I've lived in Santa Cruz since the late 70's where Mr. D got his start...Imagine that, $400 for 'the sound' of an amp costing 100 times that much. I'm scratching my head and plugging in. You really nailed it Rob. Thanks again." Bill Walker, Guitarist, Performing Artist, Santa Cruz, California
"...By now, you are probably used to satisfied players writing in with high praise of what can only be described as a small miracle of engineering. So, add me to that long list. To say the Ethos sounds, feels, and responds like a real amp is simply not enough; in many ways, it surpasses most amps out there in terms of tone, touch sensitivity, and versatility.
While I've never played through the illustrious amp upon which the Ethos is based, I am certain it nails the color and response of 'the real thing' as good as anything ever thought up--including the boutique tube-amp clones that have emerged in recent years. Add to that the fact this is all done with true, analog circuitry, and it is head and shoulders above any attempt at digital modeling emulation I have come across, as well.
The pedal has a remarkable way of making anything it is plugged into sound better. While the speaker sim out is quite good (excellent, even), this box shines when driving a real guitar amp. As a matter of personal preference, I like the way it sounds driving the pre-amp rather than the power-amp alone; I dial it in starting with the boosted Hi gain channel, (shaping it with the amp's EQ) then work my way back from there. With low-end amps, it does an almost scary job of turning an otherwise unremarkable amp into a respectable tone machine. With higher-end amps, the results are simply breathtaking. Case in point: I once set up the Ethos into a (very well known brand) high-gain amp's clean channel. When I engaged the amp's signature 'V' shaped EQ, with the Ethos on boosted high gain, the tone not only surpassed what the amp itself could deliver on it's own, it proved that the Ethos need not be used only for perfect Fusion/Blues style tones but could in fact become a real fire-breather.
By dialing back my guitar's volume, it cleans up beautifully; I can plant my knob at 3 or 4 for great breakup, and dial it up as more gain is needed. It really does behave like a great tube amp should. But I neglect to mention the clean channel! What a wonderful, complex, rich clean (and I do mean CLEAN!) channel this pedal has; perfectly articulate, three-dimensional in character, and absolutely quiet--equal to or better than any boutique or vintage amp I've played.
Yes the wait was long, and yes my wallet is a bit lighter, but it was worth taking the plunge. I have no doubt the Ethos will soon become as desired an item as the rare D-style amp itself...Kudos to you!" Mason Lamb, California
"Every guitar player who is serious about great tone should have this pedal!" Patrick Yandall, Recording Artist
"I got my Ethos a couple of months ago. I had time to try it and there aren't enough words to explain why this pedal should belong to a guitarist. For sure this is the best Christmas gift I have had in the last few years. For this reason I want to give Rob, Sue and everyone working on this great instrument the best Christmas wishes and maybe also wishes for a new "baby" to spread all over the world."
Paolo Pavese, Naval Aviator, Italy
"I produced an artist from Seattle named Chance McKinney and his guitarist, Paul Schille, came in for a TV show we did and brought one of your Ethos pedals to town (we taped a CMT Studio 330 session) last summer. I was really impressed by how realistic his tone was for having nothing but the Ethos and a delay pedal, direct into the mixer. If you check out the videos on CMT you'll hear just the Ethos on his guitar, no amp of any kind. Cool stuff. Just wanted to say congrats on a great pedal." Jeff Dayton, Producer, Writer, Session Player DaytonSongs/Nashville
"I am very impressed with this overdrive, I was feeling a little nervous about dropping the dough. But after I plugged it in and started fiddling with knobs I was able to quickly dial in some sweeet tone. I absolutely love it, Thank You."
Ricky Bell, Texas
"Good Gawd! Got my Ethos and it's FABULOUS! The Ethos makes every amp sound and respond exactly as it should. I was initially blown away by the perfection of the overdrive possibilities. But what makes the Ethos even more wonderful is the clean channel! It makes every amp sparkle. I can't imagine not using the Ethos because it adds SO MUCH. The dynamic sensitivity of this pedal is astounding. The Ethos makes playing guitar fun again." Mike Pachelli, Recording Artist, Nashville, TN www.mikepachelli.com
"The Ethos arrived today and after half an hour of playing with it I just wanted to say how happy (actually a better word would be elated) I am. It is way better than I hoped it would be, it is a stellar piece of kit. The workmanship/quality is spot on and the sounds that I've been able to fumble from it so far are just addictive. Thank you so much for your great service and for making it in the first place."
Brett Fitzsimmons, Australia
"This Ethos pedal is nothing less than a 'Magnificent Piece of Electronic Plunder', pure genius. And the tone...
'yeah man, yeah man, three bags full', I'm talkin' both channels. Don't think I could live without it.
I'll be spreadin' the word." Dale Sellers, Recording Artist
"Just got the Ethos! What a great tone...It's the best OD I've ever used...Tight low end and the famous D-style dark
sound in this little box. It's worth all the cost...Great job Rob!! ETHOS IS THE BEST!!!!" Troy from Taiwan
"The Ethos Overdrive is absolutely the real deal...All those reviews were merely scratchin' the surface of what
seems to me to be a nearly infinite amount of oh so serious TONE. Thanks from another grateful guitar player."
Fred Evans, Washington
"...I just love this pedal. I've been waiting for something like this for 40 years!!!! Finally, great tones right out of the box. I gigged with it recently and the comments I got from my band mates were more than positive. They just couldn't believe the improvement in my sound and apparently I played better! So does the Ethos make you a better player? Well I'm here to say...it just might!
Fabulous work...I've been in the MI biz for close to thirty years and have sold many different products,
but I have to say this is the only product I've seen worth every penny." Brad Strickland, Ventura, CA
"...This pedal is the answer to so many session and live applications! I just tracked my first session
with it. The warmth of the overdrive is just amazing. No compressor needed with this. The rich and full
sound is just amazing. On the track I just added a slight amount of verb and delay for air. It reminds me
of the Dxmble, but the amount of sustain is really a pleasure to play with. It reacts with your hands so evenly, your musical ideas come so much easier when you hear your tone with this. Through my Twin, the clean channel made my Twin sound so full and harmonically rich. And the overdrive is just a joy through the Fender. Something I have been looking for all of my career! I cannot express how happy I am with this pedal. Keep up the amazing work." Patrick Yandall, International Recording Artist/ Producer
"Brother! I just got the pedal, it's perfect. Thank you for everything. It was the best investment I've ever done. Honestly, I'm crazy about this pedal. Very perfect. LOVED!" Andre' Souza, Brazil
"I have had the pleasure of owning the Ethos Overdrive TLE/Classic pedal for nearly one year.
Rather than pass along an immediate reaction to this portable wonder after I bought it, I have
waited so that I could fully use it in a variety of settings, sessions and styles of music.
After spending several thousand dollars trying to achieve the sound I hear in my head,
I finally found it in your 'pedal'. Incidentally, 'pedal' is too light a word for the Ethos Overdrive.
It is an instrument that enhances all styles of music in all settings.
My opinion is that amp simulation software has been rendered useless given the ability to use
this pedal recording directly. Additionally, it is a stunning addition to the live rig, and studio rig.
Everything sounds good through this instrument.
I use it with my Strat, Eastman hollow body, Gretsch, Gibson LP and Bogner and Fender Amps.
Amazingly, the Eastman hollow body arch top sounds amazing through the clean channel, 'jazz' setting
and into either a Fishman acoustic amp or the Fender. It should be noted that I travel quite
a bit and have never had a problem with the mini toggle switches or other issue." Darin Barter
"...I have been looking for the Dxmble tone for a long time until I hit the Ethos button...Amazing! Thanks for selling me this beautiful masterpiece." HS Choo, Malaysia
"I will be releasing two CD's in the next few months, one a collaboration with Turkish composer, Erdem Helvacioglu, and a solo CD of my looping compositions. In both cases, the Ethos played a predominent tone shaping roll. The first of the two releases will be profiled in an interview with Guitar Player magazine in the November 2012 issue." Bill Walker
"...I received my Ethos last week and in a word I am delighted! I have been listening to clips online for the last 10 months. I knew what kinds of sound to expect, but it's only after playing through it do I realize just how touch sensitive it really is. My friends are equally impressed; I'm pretty sure one of them will be placing an order soon! Paradigm shift is another way I'd describe it - my playing style will definitely evolve to get the most out of the Ethos!"
Jim Halinda, Alberta Canada
"I just want to say 'Thanks,' for the Ethos Pedal. I am just amazed at the tones I can get out of this pedal. I have never been as pleased with a boost/overdrive pedal as I have with this one. I play in a country band and this pedal really gives me that Brad Paisley tone to the ZZ Top down south greasy style of twang. I can finally put some of my other boutique pedals up for sale. Oh, and thank you once again for relieving the weight from my pedal board." Tom Wilson, Texas
"...It was a blessing to play guitar for Michael W. Smith and the smile on his face when I hit the opening riff to 'A New Hallelujah' was all I needed to know that I had nailed the tone. Your pedal is freakin' amazing!" Victor Carrillo, Texas
"...I just received my Ethos TLE from you last week after ordering it in August. I just spent three nights gigging with it and absolutely love it. I've been waiting for something like this for 20 years. Well worth the money and wait. I would like my name put on the list for a second TLE model. I often have multiple rigs at different places or I could actually have two on the pedal board with different settings. Thanks!" Steve Lengemo, Recording
Artist and Finalist in Guitar Player Magazine's Contest in
"Ethos in the House!!! After what I can only describe as ANTICPATION I received my Ethos pedal from Robbie at Custom Tones. First off the Pedal arrived packed meticulously with a handy 'Getting Started Template' that is great to get you up and running. Nice Touch!... I have owned so many boutique pedals it is almost embarrassing. Most have come and gone. Pedals once owned include Zen, Klon, Keeley, TS9, Matchless Dirt Box, BJF Baby Blue, Pink Fuzz, Model R, Original Fuzz Face, MJM Fuzz Face, Blues Devil, Pro analog, Jetter Blue, Retroman Fuzz and Boosters...etc etc. You get the drift. Pedals I still own, Cornish G2, SS3, Zendrive 2, Jetter Red, BSM Spectrum and Majestic.
So I have a fairly Good baseline to go from. The Ethos just floored me. I was starting to think the hype was not to be lived up to...Wrong. This pedal shames everything else I have tried. I will say the G2 is a different animal and still ranks as one of my favorites.
The dynamic articulation and thick yet totally clear throaty growl of this pedal is astonishing. This pedal does indeed capture that essence of what we all want...Ford, Carlton, Santana..etc. It is there and done superbly. The added bonus is the Bosot feature which bypasses the mini toggles and yields a great rock tone with a bit of mid scoop for great cut. The versatility of the EQ and athe mini switches is also superb and allows this to work with a huge array of different amps.
The Cleans offer the same amazing versatility and sit pretty close in the Fender camp and have a great, dare I say more HiFi sparkle.
This is a short review but great products usually do not need much more than that. My Recommendation...Get one, you will not regret it." Reverb (Rick L.) thegearpage.net
"Well, I got to try it for about an hour...What a great pedal!!!! First...Yes, it's a very 'D' sounding pedal...(going off what I know of clips from a real one), probably the best one yet...
...I have to say that after playing the Ethos, I wouldn't really need the others. The Ethos has a ton of versatility and can pretty much cover all the range of those other pedals, well the Zen and the Howie anyway for me. Its very warm and amp-like, like the Howie. Has a cut, clarity, and grease of the Zen. All that in one and way more! Has greater vocal range and you can actually use it for rhythm. It has its own unique voice that can be used for a wider range of genres. This is the 'one' to get. In conclusion, get on the list!
Its a killer pedal!!!" Sniper-V from thegearpage.net
"Thank you for your pedal. I just plugged it direct into my little studio (mackie 1402, behringer crappola speakers) and it makes the strat sound like it's playing through my '65 Bassman, very nice. Just wanted to say THANKS A BUNCH." Ric Weidner
"Just to let you know that the TLE arrived safely (all the way to England)...I'm having a great time trying different guitars through it...
it does all I'd hoped for and more. One big surprise is that I'm getting great tones using the Piezo on my Tom Anderson Crowdster, on the clean channel...hadn't expected that." Andrew Watt, UK
"...All I can say is, the Ethos is THE BEST decision I have made. Simply dazzling, awesome. I play thumb octaves and smooth jazz style to screamin' blues and occasionally do some steel chord 'swells' imitation...The Ethos, for me, is a bright light in that never ending road of electric guitar exploration. I have only touched its surface. Thank you Rob and staff, for the concern and the ears, the construction and the tone that is the Ethos, and especially for helping me to share the music that I love." Ted Rogers
"This is a very fine pedal. Thank you very much." Jochen W. Mann, Germany
"I got my pedal in the mail today, and tried it out for an hour or so. My wife is now happy to know that my search for the ultimate overdrive pedal is complete. This makes the fourth OD pedal I have and it blows them all away (I have ts9, Boutique SRB808 clone, Fulldrive 2, and a chandler tubedriver). This thing is incredible. I played my PRS McCarty, John Mayer Artist Strat, and American Strat through my Bad Cat Black Cat 30R head with 4x12 Cabinet, and I can't make it sound bad. Thanks again, if you branch out into any other pedals, let me know because I'll buy them all." Clint L. Sanchez
"Just a short Hello from Finland! You have got yet another very satisfied customer regarding the Ethos! It's sounding beautifully with my other gear, so thanks a lot for an outstanding product! All the best to you stateside!"
"Just got the Ethos today. I must say the day sure dragged on when I kept looking at the box
sitting there on my desk calling my name! What can I say but THANK YOU! My initial tests so far have been so great I don't know where to begin, but all I can tell you is my Fxchs is going to be jealous! I tried it into the front end as well as the power amp (effects return) of a few of my amps and both clean and OD are GREAT! It reacts so much like the Fxchs I find it hard to believe but yes it is all there. I wouldn't even blink by using it with my Power Block as a power amp with a cab. My last test was direct and so far it has not disappointed me at all and this is only playing with it for a few minutes. Once again thank you for building such an amazing instrument and the wait was definitely worth it!" Dan Lear
"Like most of us in this tone chase, I have spent my share of money over the last 37 years.
Missed some, lost some, sold some. We've all got the stories.
This is without hesitation the best tone money I have EVER spent. Arguably the best $400 I have ever spent.
In the last week I have had 2 extended intimate sessions to really put it through some paces and I have to say I am impressed, VERY impressed. I have played both my '68 Les Paul Deluxe (P90) and my '62 Strat through it both
with flat wounds. Played straight into my desk and also through my 1974X combo and it is glorious both ways.
I have achieved jaw dropping tone combinations that were totally unexpected. Jazz when I would have sworn Rock would have been it. Modern over Vintage, etc.
And let me tell you, running the clean channel with the Optical Boost Circuit engaged on the combo through Mullard and Mustard is, well THERE, spot on." I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS THING MAN. David info@TheAudioDept.com
"I'm so happy with the Ethos! You show great knowledge about sound and technique. I set my amp to a jazzy sound and the Ethos clean channel to a brighter sound/funky-spanky. No more fiddling/tweaking with the amp. That shows that Rob has Vision, there's no other pedal that shares that vision that I know of. Rob knows what guitar players need.
One can really dig in the strings with that nice tube feel. The Ethos also has that great L. Carlton Dxmble tone--silky tones--that's what it is about for me. I find the Ethos a really powerful tool with great flavors.
But it's not easy to turn off the Ethos, it's like a time machine. Time fly's, I'm an addict. Tonight my arm and shoulder were hurting because I was playing all day with the Ethos, it's true. My son brought me back to earth, asking if I would come in the living room. Ha Ha shame on me." Danny Christoffel, Netherlands
"Now that the system is complete, my tube amp aficionado friends (tube snobs...) are baffled. There is an Ethos Preamp on my pedal board with additional overdrive pedals placed before and time-based effects after. That signal gets sent off stage thru a Radial SGI to an Ethos Overdrive AMP set clean and juicy, driving a 2x12 cabinet. When drummers go out of their way to ask how in the wide world I'm getting that sound, you know you got it goin' on. To me, THIS is the product that revolutionized guitar tone." Jeff B.
"I've been using my Ethos Overdrive live for three or four year now and I just wanted to write you guys and let you know how much I love it! It is an absolutely revolutionary product and has enhanced my tone and playing greatly over the past couple years. Thank you for an amazing product and for great customer service over the years! I recorded a demo clip of my Ethos direct to Logic this morning in the style of Robben Ford. If you'd like to post it on your website as an example, you are more than welcome to do so! Thanks again for such a great product!" Shane Riling
"...The Ethos arrived surely to Southwest Germany. Yesterday, I used it during our concert. The sound is really great!! My equipment: PRS Santana II, Pete Conish LD1, Ethos, Mesa Boogie MK I (73') or Bludotone Universal Tone, 1 x 12 Mesa Boogie Cabinet + 2 PRS 4x12 cabinets. Your Ethos gives my guitar a wonderful warm and mellow tone. Now it sounds more like a violin. The sound is not too bright, I prefer a darker tone. Thanks for producing a great musical overdrive! It's exactly this I was always looking for." Christian Schilli, Lahr, Germany.
"...I've had the preamp version, and now the Amp version. IMO the amp version straight into a cab, sounds better than the preamp into an amps front end, or power amp section. I think they absolutely nailed it when matching the power amp to the preamp. I've tried it through the AST Mojo speaker, a Marshall 212 with scumbacks in it, and a Celestion blue 12 - all sounding amazing.
The thing that really got me with the amp version is the clean tones--you can get nice fender-y stuff, or you can get more modern full range cleans--if you want to have slight break up that's there too.
The od channel absolutely rocks, especially through the scumbacks, and you can go from clean to crunch with pick attack with ease. Basically it takes it from being an "amp like" pedal into actually an amp. The dynamics is where this really is apparent. With the modern settings it can get quite loud too, definitely loud enough to keep up with a drummer..." Ben Fink, Singer/Producer/Composer, posted on TGP (see links pg)
"...Thanks also for your surprisingly responsive service, which I am grateful for. I didn't truly know how grateful I was until a couple of minutes ago. I've just come away from the initial session with your device and I must say that it opens a LOT of tonal possibilities for me...The Ethos unit allows FAR more flexibility than any other previous device. So much so that I'll need to explore it a good deal more. That will be an enjoyable pursuit.
As a jazz guitarist, I tend to use distortion effects very sparingly--mostly to make a musical "point", as it were. Thus I'll use it to punctuate certain phrases. There's only one or two numbers a night where the solo is entirely distorted, but I now have the tool for both subtlety and complete 'overtness'. I also hear 'saxophone' when I use distortion. The Ethos allows me all of that flexibility. I'm very, very pleased.
Thank you! I will now go to your website and order the Ethos Amplifier as well...if you find something that you really like and will use, then get two of them while they're still available. The Ethos Amp will buy me redundancy on the amp level as well as the effects level. What a very useful piece of gear!..."
Bob Shimizu, Jazz Musician/Composer/Recording Artist.
"I received the Ethos today. Wow, that was fast and painless. Thanks for being so communicative and professional. It's been a pleasure buying from you. I have a crazy busy week full of travel and house guests so I only got to try the Ethos out for about twenty minutes today when it arrived. I played it with a Strat into a Tone King Meteor II amp and even with such a brief try out, I can tell it's great. The low to medium gain sounds are the best I've ever heard from a pedal (and I've had a few too many). The pick attack sensitivity is truly amazing. It really does go from sparkling clean to sustaining growl just from varying my picking. That is the most important aspect I was hoping for in the Ethos. I feel like I've only scratched the surface with such a short session. I've owned a lot of overdrive pedals and been disappointed with most, so I pretty much know what to listen for, and so far the Ethos has far exceeded my hopes. Robbie, I think you hit a home run with this one. I can't wait to spend some quality time with the Ethos. Thanks again." James Russell
"I'm sorry if the following might appear to some suspicious-minded folks as adding to the 'voodoo aura' surrounding Rob's new Dumble-inspired pedal. It isn't meant to...and hopefully won't be. I'm a 40+ years pro player, and have known Robbie for over 20 of them. In all that time, he has been 'refining his diamond' of developing tube-distortion emulation circuit designs and building various prototypes that he has distributed to a small circle of pro player friends. I've been fortunate enough to have played (and purchased) several of them. In many ways, this new one is the most highly evolved of 'em all...and it's CERTAINLY the one that most mimics Dxmble-style tone.
Earlier this afternoon, I spent an hour and a half playing and listening to Rob's new pedal, using various non-boutique, run-o-the-mill Teles, Strats, and Rob's PRS Santana. The pedal was plugged into a standard, non-modded Deluxe Reverb. Real simple, straightforward stuff...not even reverb! Simply stated, the pedal is fantastic, and definitely exceeds by a longshot any pedal I've personally tried (please note-I've not tried the ZenDrive). For reference purposes, I own a Fxchs mod head, a Two Rock, and several other amps that make Dumble-style noises. I'm reasonably familiar with the amp options out there, and the pedals that theoretically mimic those amps. This pedal does what these amps do...at a level that you can have a comfortable conversation over. In particular, the touch sensitivity and dynamics are amazing. Dial up a gainy lead sound, dig into a single-note, and it screams. Hit a double-stop, and it gets enormously huge and fat, without any icepick highs. But then...brush the strings lightly, and a beautiful, chimey, clear bell-like tone with beautiful high harmonics breathes out of the thing...still on the same gainy lead setting!
I've never experienced a pedal do THAT before. I'm sure there are many folks who'd love the tone of this thing, but couldn't care less about this touch-sensitivity aspect...but to me, it's REALLY inspiring, and impossible to find outside of the loud, power-amp distortion realm. If you're like me in this respect, then you've really got to hear this pedal. Just wanted to pipe in...hopefully to add another data point to the discussion."
Paul Asbel, Performing Artist, Teacher (see Links page)
"Robbie and Co....OK.......WOW...... I'm not sure if I can add much to your well deserved accolades and stellar reviews of this most brilliant design of yours but after receiving the TLE and plugging it in I knew three things immediately: 1. My search for electric guitar tone is over. 2. There's more music in my hands than I thought there was. 3. I'm amazed this thing didn't cost me a kidney!!
If there's a 'better' pedal out there for the way that I play (at any price)...I could care less. Wonderful analog warmth...yet amazingly open and detailed, dripping with soul. It really is a musical instrument and not a mere pedal. I couldn't be happier with the purchase and it was really nice doing business with you. Best of luck to you and your Co. " Tom Smith, NY
"I received my Ethos Overdrive last week. You DID a good job. You're a genius..." Jae Hyeong Lee, South Korea
"My Ethos was here at the beginning of this week. Everything is okay, very well packed and the Sound....just monstrous for each channel. Thank you for your great work." Emmanuel de Torquat, France
"My Ethos Overdrive is finally here. It's a really great product and I'm very satisfied with it! I've tried other clones' before, but they did not bring me as near to the original tone as the Ethos is doing, both on clean and on overdrive sounds...compliments!" Luca Villani, Italy
"Thanks to the beautiful sound of the Ethos, I won a preliminary round of the Guitar Center's King of the Blues contest in Rocksville, Md. last night. Several people including store employees were asking about the Ethos. It's the easiest plug and play pedal I have ever owned. I have used it straight into the mixer and get great results." Phil "FLY" Zuckerman
"Thanks again to the Ethos pedal, I am through round two of the King of Blues contest in DC. Thanks!" Phil "FLY" Zuckerman
"The Ethos pedal is just what I've been looking for. I've been using the Roland VG-88 in conjunction with an active JBL EON. I like the sound of the horn in the JBL for acoustic, nylon, 12 string and strat sounds. I was never completely happy with the conventional clean and distorted sounds. In the past I've tried using various pedals but because of the horn they always sounded horrible. The speaker simulation in the Ethos did the trick. Now I use the VG-88 and the Ethos pedal with an AB box. I run a xlr cable out of the powered JBL into the board of the main sound system. Now I can have the best of both worlds, blending digital with analog, without having to bring another amp. Thanks." Edward Aureli
"Since I've been fortunate enough to own an Ethos TLE, it has given me nothing but pleasure and wonderful tone.
You may be aware that I host a YouTube channel on which I've demoed dozens of drives and dirt boxes.
None of them hold a candle to the Ethos. Not on stage, not in the Studio, not even in the 'looks' department!
I have even (stupidly) tried to A/B the Ethos with another brand, much to my own embarrassment and detriment
(in the end).
On stage I normally run 4 or 5 drives including the Ethos. I do this to give myself sonic choice when I'm up there
banging about (and that's being kind). Sadly, the other drives are largely ignored as they just don't stand up,
dynamically or tonally, to Rob's masterpiece. I cannot work without it now. In fact, I'm thinking of selling
several of my collection to fund a backup; it has become that important to me. I haven't touched on the Ethos'
prowess in the studio. I hope my humble clip that some of you may have seen will do that for me.
I won't go into the myraid of reasons behind my gushing testament. They have all been mirrored in previous
reviews and comments. But I do want to thank Rob for creating one of the most musical and performance
encouraging devices I have ever owned and am ever likely to own." Brett Kingman, Australia
"...The Ethos arrived safely. Plugged it in and 30 minutes later I think that WOW! sums it up." David Cardey, Quebec, Canada
" My Ethos Overdrive arrived safely here in Australia last Friday. Thank you for the great job of packing to ensure it arrived undamaged & thank you for the wonderful service...and a fantastic pedal." Ian Delahunty
"Congrats on the nice review in the new GP magazine which came in the mail yesterday. I was disappointed, however, that they didn't give you an 'Editor's Pick' award which you most certainly deserve. I'm thinking I will go to their site and offer my 'take' on the Ethos TLE and mention that you should have rec'd that special award. Also- I thought they very much understated the D**** aspect of the sound. Yes.. the reviewer raved about all of the sounds the TLE produces but I felt he seemed almost afraid to mention just how 'D-like' the lead sounds are or...he just didn't totally realize it which may be more likely the case....
The point is...my opinion of your TLE remains unchanged- it is a spectacular guitar 'tone tool' whatever amp it's played through. It is 'untouchable'- I will own mine for as long as I play. And..it can literally transform most any 'off the shelf' inexpensive amp into sounding like it's a very expensive Boutique Amp of the highest 'D' order (I know-- I've used it with Blues Jr's, Deville's, AC 15's & 30's etc). And that- is the point that the GP reviewer missed along with the fact that the boost IS mainly a gain boost- not solely just a volume boost. ...Again- congrats on the nice review...I'm still a very happy and proud owner of my Ethos TLE." Dick Bauerle
"We just received the Ethos Amp. What can we say...hmmm...We were floored. What an exciting Amp. How many directions you can go with it!! Unbelievable...and we have here 16 vintage amps...It is killer....!!! The extra eq is so good (already have an ethos overdrive for years that I use with our amps) Many many thanks for this."
Gosia, Gosia Guitars, Belgium... Norway
"Thanks a million for the Ethos Amp, I am loving the tone and sensibility on the touch!!!!!!! I'm still in the dilemma of making up my mind on my final setting cause I get inspiring tones in so many different ones!!!! Wow, I'm really ecstatic with it and can't wait to start gigging with it..."
Joe Volante, UK
"Really loving the amp. Been playing gigs with no tubes, first time in 30+ years of gigging, never thought this would happen." Jim Mencotti, Lead guitarist in the band Jam-Art (see links pg.)
"...Wanted to tell you how elated I am with the Ethos Overdrive Amp! I received it 10 mins before my rehearsal last night. I brought it even though I knew I really didn't have time to futz with it...but on a whim I just plugged it in to see how it went... The entire band just turned around with a collective
'HOLY CRAP!' :) 'you're really getting THAT out of THAT LITTLE THING?!'
...Can't get enough! So versatile, warm, punchy, mean, smooth...
I have been thinking of getting a Dxmble Amp clone (buddy has one and I love it) but now thinking I don't need it! Besides saving me about $3000, my back is going to be very happy! I play in a band here called Yacht Rock Schooners, doing all the smooth 70's hits. Thanks for making guitar fun again!"
"I received my Ethos Amp last week--shipping was really quick! But I am even more impressed with tone than I thought. I thought I would use it with a small pedalboard at home and small gigs/ quiet rehersals. I plugged it with big board that I use with quite Loud rock band and I was surprised how Loud it was. My pedalboard (bunch of drive pedals and Line6 M13) sounded actually way better than it sounds through my other Dxmble inspired amps.
Again, I've been drawn to Dxmble tone and mystique since 1986 or so and spend some serious money to chase *that* kind of tone (some amps and many, many pedals) and while I've been more than happy with my Ethos preamp version, the Amp version is something I would never have dreamed would work so perfectly! Sincerest thanks to you guys." Sampo Kantele, Finland
"I received my Ethos Amp, thank you very much for designing this piece of jewelry, it sounds fabulous..."
Francois Carpentier, France
"I can't thank you enough Rob for your great customer service and the best guitar pedal/Amp I've ever heard." Bill Jung
"Just got my Ethos Amp in a few days ago...Wow, really nice tones. Suhr>>Ethos Amp>>2x12 Marshall cab with scumbacks. The clean tones were really fat and juicy, with lots of sustain, if you want to ride it to breakup you can, very dynamic to play through. Rock mode is a lot louder than jazz mode. The OD channel is great, so many different tones possible... anyway, just want to say that so far I'm really impressed with it. Volume wise, mmm, yeah its around a deluxe or maybe a touch more, haven't tried it into other speakers yet...." Tonewave, Musician/Artist NJ, posted on Fender Forum
"I am back from Africa and your unit was a big hit. I gave it to a church in Mufulira Zambia named Eastlea Assembly--they use it several times a week. Most of the players I work with there have cheap Korean strats plugged directly into the board with no processor or preamp. You can imagine what a home run this little box is!" Randy Cloud
Premier Guitar Magazine Review, by Joe Gore
"...We checked out the Ethos Clean-Fusion Preamp, which offers fine faux-tube tones and vast sonic flexibility.
The preamp has a gain control plus wide-ranging 3-band Pre-EQ. Three additional toggles offer a choice of six dramatically varied tone stack voicings. A soft drive switch provides natural tube-like compression and 4 additional tone-shaping controls. You can connect to a guitar amp or use a second 1/4" output to play through a PA or record direct. The speaker emulation is excellent.
There's an extra overdrive channel for Dumble-like tones with molasses-thick saturation. Plus, you can shape tones post-distortion via another 3-band tone control and additional gain and level controls. With all those tone-shaping stages, it can take a while to dial in optimal settings for your gear and style. But after some acclimation, chances are you can concoct quality tones for any guitar. Test gear: Parts guitar with P-90s, Universal Audio Apollo audio interface. Ratings: Tone 4 pics, Ease of Use: 4.5 pics, Build/Design: 4 pics, Value: 4.5 pics."
"...The EQ on this pedal is so powerful I literally can dial-in any sound I can think of. I have it set to be virtually transparent and add just a little distortion in the clean mode and then a high-gain fusion setting. Absolutely stunning pedal.
One of the fun things I discovered with this pedal is that in the clean mode when set to fully clean no soft clipping or hard clipping, by adding the Deep switch, the TLE switch and the bright switch I was able to get an amazing black face twin sound out of my amp. It was the biggest most brilliant clean sound I could ever imagine. My little amp sounded like a stack of 4 Twin Reverb amps! Wow."
Joe Halko, MA
"Please thank Sue for all of her help in making the purchase of the pedal so easy. I was actually surprised at how small the CLEAN-FUSION pedal is 'in the flesh' when I first opened the box. Once again, you have made a beautiful pedal, that inspires confidence before one even plugs it in...The clean side is what I use most but the Fusion Boost is right there, ready to go. The lack of separate EQ for the two 'channels' is of no concern because the Boost is so nicely voiced...Thank you for a great product and service." Ted MacDouall, UK
"Love the CLEAN-FUSION pedal!...I had someone ask about the dumble/Vox sound and was blown away that it came from the Ethos/Drives/MultiEffects/PowerAmp instead of an expensive boutique amp. I have a portable pedal rig that can work in full band situations or as a single unit. The Ethos gives me 'that sound' and my search for it is now complete."
Pastor Josh, Texas
"The Ethos CLEAN-FUSION is everything I hoped it would be! The most used parts of my Ethos Overdrive, in a smaller form factor! ...Thanks again for the fantastic pedal and great service!" Christian Kang, Washington
Guitar Player Magazine Review
by Art Thompson
"Inspired by the Trainwreck Express amplifier (built by the late Ken Fischer), the TWE-1 is solid-state pedal designed to emulate the touch-responsiveness and clean-to-overdriven range you get from a high-grade tube amp. Along with Volume, HI Cut, and Gain controls, the pedal has 3-position Cab switch (4x12, 2x12, off), a Presence switch that provides three levels of high-frequency boost (post OD), a Voice switch (Traditional and Modern British), and a bypassable Brite switch that provides two levels of high frequency boost (pre OD).
Tested with Tele and a Trussart Steeldeville through a Fender Deluxe Reberb set clean, the TWE-1 with its Gain at noon or higher responded in an amp-like way to changes in guitar volume and picking strength, delivering everything from gritty cleans to richly saturated distortion textures. Thanks to its strong output, the TWE-1 is suitable for clean boosting too. All good stuff, but the standout feature of the TWE-1 is its powerful tone-shaping ability. The HI-Cut knob attenuates treble when turned clockwise, and the Brite switch makes it easy to get the appropriate sparkle with humbuckers or single-coils. The Cab switch beefs up the low-end significantly in the 4x12 position (I felt the 2x12 setting sounded best with my Deluxe), and the Voice switch lets you choose between a thicker tone in the "M" position or one with more upper-midrange emphasis in the "T" setting. The Presence switch set to HI restores shimmer when the Hi Cut control is turned up (a cool sound in itself), and between all of these functions, the TWE-1 certainly answers the needs of players who want a compact OD pedal with exceptional sound and flexibility. KUDOS: Excellent tube-style distortion tone. Very dynamic and touch responsive. EQ option galore. CONCERNS: none" January 2018 issue, Pg 88.
"The Ethos TWE-1 is fantastic! You want to know how fantastic??? I'm in the studio re-recording guitar track for my cd using the TWE-1, that's how fantastic it is! Thanx again, and I will probably order a second just to play it safe." Dani Robinson, Guitarist for "The Billy Cox Band Of Gypsys Experiene Tour"
"...Wow! this thing is incredible. I knew I was going to like it, but I didn't expect it to be so incredibly versatile and dynamic. It's really amazing what this pedal has going for it...thanks so much, it was well worth the wait! I'll be saving my $ now for the clean-fusion II or the clean II amp. Amazing stuff...love it!" Eric Muttillo
"This pedal is absolutely off the charts...unbelievable tone...so congrats on landing another customer for life...THANK YOU!!" Rod E., OK
"...I seldom rave about gear or send thank you notes, however, this one...Rob certainly deserves a big Thank you...I am extremely impressed with the TWE-1. Several years ago, I played on an original Train Wreck amp for about a 1/2 hour in Alvin, Texas. Reminded me of my 1st Marshall 50 watt Super Lead 1973, only it was cleaner and would go from Sultans of Swing clean to ZZ Top Rythameen with just the guitar volume knob. IMHO, the Ethos TWE-1 comes just as close to that Train Wreck amp as the Friedman BE-OD pedal does to a real BE 100 amplifier." Dave Miley, Texas
"It's truly an awesome gain machine, very flexible and adaptive to my rig. I was especially pleased to find how well it pairs with other pedals, particularly after a transparent boost and my low-gain Archer Ikon. Congrats on a fine product!" Dale Williams, SC
"...So easy to tweak things to match any amp. Not a bad sound in it and a v small footprint...brilliant! I love how it doesn't colour my amp tone, just adds and enhances it. Thank you & don't be surprised to see my name on your list again, my new favourite!" Justin Wilson, UK
"...You knocked it out of the park with this one... wow!...pedalboard friendly and pushes all my amps to all the right places quickly..."
Scott Kauffman, Eight Track Takes Studio
"Just wanted you to know how phenomenal your pedal is. I am not sure how many chickens were scarified to get that kind of tone in a box, but jeez it has some amazing voodoo in it. Anyways within 15 minutes I was tracking with the TWE-1 and I am looking forward to using it a lot on the album I am working on. Thank you for such an awesome product." Jon Jorajuria
"...I absolutely love it! Extremely versatile and touch sensitive, great tones! Lots of fun playing with the pedal. Thanks and congrats for the great work!" Giuliano Ghisi
"...congratulate you on what is the best preamp/drive pedal I have ever played through. I put it on my board, it has not left it and it won't. The way it cleans up with the volume to the cab EQ to the HiCut etc, all exemplary creating a multitude of tonal options beyond what I thought could be squeezed out of a pedal. When Burgs (Brett Kingman) gave his review it inspired me to buy but I still thought he had added a fair bit of mayo on his comments, I must say now, his glowing praise' was bang on. Everyone should own one of these. Congrats Again."
Shane Deane, Australia
"...the TWE-1 is a whole other thing altogether. Sheesh! This thing is amazing--the range of tones & again, the feel...man, I can't get over it! Anyway, thanks for making great stuff..." L.E.
"Not only did you build THE most beautiful sounding and dynamically reactive overdrive pedal I have ever played- it's actually more reactive than many tube amps I've suffered to use, over the years. I really love the TWE-1. I mostly love the sound, but I also love its size, the controls-the controls are the BEST-and even the way it looks. Thanks for your great work! All my best to you and yours." Tim Hillman
"...The pedal lives up to Brett's opinion...If a guy can't find one perfect tone on the TWE-1 then that sound just does not exist. Well done!!! You have set the bar on dirt pedals damn high!!!" P. E.
"Just wanted to take a moment and say thanks for making such a great TWE-1 Pedal! Absolutely Love it! Take care and all the best!"
Todd R. Kozik
Premier Guitar Magazine
'Tone Tips: A Mini-Board is Born'
by Peter Thorn
"...I'm going to detail a powerful mini-pedalboard that can cover a huge range of tones and serve as an entire rig if necessary--no amp required. Be it compressed cleans with modulation, reverb, and delay, or on-the-edge rocking crunch, I want it all in a 14" by 14" package...Pedal No.1 (of 9) The Ethos Clean II Preamp from Custom Tones, LLC was designed to essentially mimic the tone and response of a guitar amplifier. It can be used as a preamp and/or overdrive in front of a traditional guitar amp, but it can also be patched into a power amp and cabinet, or direct into a PA or recording interface. And because its output is buffered--even when bypassed--this supersedes the need for a standalone buffer on the board to keep the guitar strong and uncolored..." read full review at www.premierguitar.com/articles/print/25161-tone-tips-a-mini-board-is-born
"Got the pedal today--thanks! I play an EJ Strat, a Frank Verrilli Strat, a Jonathon Rose Tele, and an Eastman ER4 all through my Deluxe Reverb. Never ever have my instruments sounded so good! The Ethos Clean with the Fusion Boost is mind blowing. The tonal palette is unreal and every knob and switch tweak has beautifully precise impact. I will be buying the Ethos Amp just as soon as I can pry myself away from playing...I am truly blown away! ...Very grateful for your great work and how it's contributed to my tone experience!!
...I have been exploring the Ethos Clean's magic on my acoustic--just floored by the tones I can get from this little box!" Christopher Wirth, Boston
"I used the pedal at the gig this evening and it gave the acoustic guitar a deeper, full presence than before. Wow, there is plenty of variation that comes out of the Ethos Clean unit. Thanks again for creating such an amazing preamp pedal." Ed Sroczynski
"...Did two concerts with the Ethos CLEAN tonight. Great sounding, Great control. The closest I've gotten to a real amp in total experience. The sound and the way the pots behave, it knocked the previous box off the board..." Olav Torget, Norway
"... The Ethos CLEAN is smaller than it appears and just packed with tone shaping. It has a 'soft clip' feature that has me overjoyed. On the 1/2 gain it gets that special quality of a slight grind you might hear from a 40's Gibson amp or Tweed champ and for me I have instant Junior Barnard or T-Bone Walker. At full it is that sweet slight overdrive amp grind of 50's, 60's and 70's rock. I was not expecting a soft clip feature, but man does it make this pedal go from great to a must have for me. As of now it would be a beautiful clean boost, board EQ, pre-boost for pushing an amp. I think an untapped market for this pedal is bass. It is a bass players tool box in box." Rodney Gene Jr., Recording Artist
"I just received my Ethos CLEAN today. It's got every bit of magic the older versions have plus it takes up less space and runs off a 9v!
You've hit it out of the park again Robbie! I've actually dialed in an excellent mild overdrive using the soft drive switch that I wasn't quite able to get w/the regular Ethos. This is a Jazz player's dream. I played through the Ethos w/ a modest zoom G1on after (for reverb, looper, & headphone out) tonight for the past 3 hours and was blown away by the clean tones I was getting..." The Gear Page Forum, tremellow814
"Got the pedal today--thanks! I play an EJ Strat, a Frank Verrilli Strat, a Jonathon Rose Tele, and an Eastman ER4 all through my Deluxe Reverb. Never ever have my instruments sounded so good! The Ethos Clean with the Fusion Boost is mind blowing. The tonal palette is unreal and every knob and switch tweak has beautifully precise impact. "Love the Ethos Clean! Just writing to confirm that the pedal arrived on Saturday and I've been putting it through its paces since then. I am absolutely in love with this preamp. With the Fusion Boost, this thing is far more versatile than I had expected it to be! With the use of the various switches and knobs, I can coax every amp tone imaginable. From pristine cleans like a JC, or saturated Twin tones, and crunchy/chimey AC, to dimed Marshall riffs, and even full-on scooped Boogie style sounds, this preamp has so many voicing options, it's difficult to stop playing with it! I had never imagined it could pull off so many different archetypes so well. It's a true Swiss-army knife". My hat's off to you and your design skills, Rob. You make these transistors (and my guitar!) truly sing!..." Alexander Entrekin, Washington State.
"Holy Moly! Like a lot of church players, I've been using direct solutions for a long time...the Ethos Clean II is light years ahead of anything else I've played through. The tones here are just a bit more meaty & feel "real" for lack of a better word." L.E.
"I just received the 2 pedals today (Clean II and TWE-1), and I can't thank you enough! The quality of the sound from these 2 pedals are unbelievable. And I love the many configurations you can do with the Clean 2. The different tones you can get are endless with these 2 pedals. I really feel I don't need anything else other than these 2! All the tones are in there! Anyways once again thanks and keep up the fantastic work! Unbelievable!" M. C.
"My Clean 2 pedal arrived, and I am very pleased. This pedal does a great job of capturing a tube like feel. Well done, thank you!" T.K.
"I received your Ethos Clean II Preamp on Wednesday and have used it for about 12 hours. This rig is just the ticket for my application. Needless to say you're not getting it back! And I must say it was worth the wait." J. L.