A ’Boost’ pedal is another essential always-on pedal in my signal chain - I use an Xotic EP Booster to add a little more warmth and liveliness to my core tone. There are 4 key purposes to boost pedals - as buffers to increase signal strength, as a volume bump, as a tone-enhancement - e.g. to boost warmth or treble, or to boost gain. Many players use their Tube Screamer or Tumnus/Klon pedals to boost gain of either their amp, or another sequential drive pedal - rather than using those pedals as proper Overdrives in and of themselves.
I actually have various ’Boosts’ throughout my chain - the EP Booster at the start for warmth (based on an Echoplex pre-amp). My Foxpedal City pedal has built in the ’Ebenezer Clean MOSFET Boost’ so I can either use that to boost the Tube Screamer Overdrive of that pedal, or impact other pedals in my chain. I also have a boost Channel on my Strymon Riverside that I use to warm up tone - and an additional mini boost pedal attached to that for yet another volume bump. Then I also have twin Boost options (one per channel) on both my Chase Bliss Brothers and Strymon Sunset Dual Drive pedals - so in effect no less than ’8’ possible boost opportunities throughout the chain - to impact signal strength, volume, gain and tone.
Boosts obviously come in all manner of shapes and sizes, and before I had the Xotic EP Booster I used the almost equally brilliant TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster - I switched to the EP Booster as I liked its added warmth just a touch more - both are excellent. In this overview I have purely focused on the mini boost variety - as pedal real estate is precious, and I see no point in buying a larger pedal size when there are so many excellent boosters available within the mini size category - all of the following are really good - it just comes down to a matter of personal preference.
There’s no point in listing out videos in this instance - the Boost pedal details are simply listed alphabetically by brand. I really like my EP Booster, and I can’t see me wanting to change that any time soon - I of course have a very capable alternative in the TCE Mini Spark - and I have all those other different boost options throughout my pedal chain - you yourself can take your pick from the following:
Based on the 60’s Dallas Rangemaster used to give treble and gain boost to amps. This has a toggle switch for alternately targeting and boosting treble, mid or low frequencies - at the pricier end, but lots of pro players love these - especially for all you King of Tones fans.
This uses an op-amp circuit rather than the usual transistor - to provide warmth and volume. Has single Level dial which can bump your signal up by around 20dB.
As mentioned in the intro - this is the left-hand channel of the Foxpedal City Pedal too - an incredibly clean boost which can bump up your volume by around 20dB.
This is essentially the ’clean boost with Germanium limiter channel’ - lifted directly from Fulltone’s Full-Drive 3 pedal and squeezed into a mini enclosure - single level dial, plus Dynamics limiter dial - a sort of compressor for subduing harsh transients which can be created when amplifying a signal.
A clean and transparent JFET Mini Boost - single dial for Level.
Clean, single-level-dial JFET boost which can bump your volume by circa 35dB.
Single-dial clean boost with some secret sauce form of full-spectrum frequency tone enhancement and up to 15dB of boost available.
Gives you up to 25dB of pre-amp type boost - warmth, volume and gain - includes both volume and tone dials.
Elegant Clean boost with up to 15dB of boost available - single Level dial.
This was my first booster and comes highly recommended - it has a smart footswitch which you can enable for momentary action as well as latched. Warms up your tone nicely in a very subtle manner and gives you up to 20dB of boost. For the price - nothing comes close - everything else on this page is at least twice that cost.
This combines a clean boost with a side-switchable buffer - to boost signal strength as well as volume. Has single Level dial.
Possibly the most popular pro choice - you see this on so many pedalboards - this is based on the circuit of an Echoplex EP-3 pre-amp to give you warmth and tone enhancement as well as up to 20dB of boost. There are two internal dip-switches - a bright switch and a +3dB gain switch. This is my favourite boost pedal, and I have the Alchemy Modded version which externalises the dip-switches to two toggles - which I have permanently set to ’on’ - i.e. added brightness and added gain - it really warms up the tone and gives it more liveliness and dimension.
As previously stated - I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these - some are slightly more specialist and have added features. If you are unsure about the impact of these - try the TCE Mini Spark first and go from there. With how good all these mini boost pedals are, I really don’t see the need to look for anything in a larger form-factor.