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There are so many different ways for you to get quality distortion these days. Some love their tube amps and the “organic” smooth overdriven tone that they get when they push the volume way up high on the clean channel.
Some others may prefer those scorched distortion tones of classic pedals like Boss DS-1, and some might be into digital modeling amps and all the replications of both classic and modern tones.
Be that as it may, the technology of guitar pedals has advanced and we have some of the most colorful and harmonically rich distortions at our disposal.
The one that we would like to take a closer look at is made by the legendary Orange Amplification, who are known for their amps with very specific dark and “fuzzy” tones.
The pedal in question is called Bax Bangeetar Guitar Pre-EQ and is one pretty interesting and exciting piece.
It’s actually more than just a regular distortion pedal. But not to spoil anything in these first paragraphs, here is the review below.
What’s easily noticeable at a first look is that Bax Bangeetar pedal is pretty well-built. Whatever your ambitions are, it seems like this one can be taken on a tour without any fears of it getting smashed easily.
But going over to the standard properties of a guitar pedal, the Bangeetar has a lot of exciting features. The first one we would like to point out is the speaker cabinet simulated output.
The pedal has its own cab simulator circuit ñ appropriately named “CabSim” ñ that allows you to plug it directly into a mixer. This way, it turns it into somewhat of a preamp pedal.
According to the company, the cabinet they replicated here is their 40th Anniversary PPC412, the one that is loaded with four 12-inch Celestion G12H 30-watt speakers.
Aside from the standard on and off footswitch, the Bax Bangeetar has an additional switch that adds more boost when the distortion is engaged. This is not a classic “more gain” boost but just adds 6 more dB to it.
Kind of like those classic clean boosters, only it’s integrated into the pedal. This can come in handy for some tube amps if you want to use more of their natural tube drive.
Going over to controls, Bangeetar has an interesting feature in this regard as well. Aside from the obvious volume and gain controls, there is a 3-band EQ with sweepable mids.
In fact, there are three separate knobs just for mids. One regulates the level, one is for frequency tweaking, and the third one adjusts the frequency range. This way, you can select a specific section of the mid spectrum and either boost it or cut it.
As for the power, it runs on standard 9-volt batteries or classic AC adapters.
It doesn’t take more than one glance to realize that this pedal is made by Orange Amplification. All of the knobs are labeled with classic symbols you see on Orange amps.
These might be a bit confusing, maybe even annoying, to those who don’t know much about them. But still, you’ll also find regular labels for each parameter.
The metal handle below the controls is kind of unusual but it looks nice and doesn’t interfere with its operation. The whole thing is rounded up with black finish and pots with a recognizable shade of orange.
Of course, there are some other versions, featuring white finish, white knobs, and black labels.
The colors of the LED indicators could have been different though, as blue and green might not be the best option for darker venues. But not to be nitpicky, it’s overall a great looking pedal.
To put it simply ñ this pedal is all Orange. Just like classic Orange amps, it’s heavy on the mid to high-end spectrum of the tone. It also brings the very well-known “fuzziness” into the tone, while still managing to keep it tight in the low end.
We would say that this pedal’s greatest strength lies in its equalizer. All the guitar players who use distortion all the time know that mid-range control is of essential importance for a great tone.
And this pedal allows very detailed control over this part of the tonal spectrum. Whatever you want to do with mids, cut them or boost them, the Bax Bangeetar will give you control over that.
The pedal’s unique tone is achieved without back-to-back diode clipping which you usually find in standard distortion devices. This way, the tone resembles those classic Orange amps.
Now, there would be some discussions about whether true bypass or buffered bypass is better.
Whatever your thoughts are, Orange Amplification argues that buffered is the way to go, and such is the case with Bangeetar. This way, they keep all the clarity and the high ends in the tone.
Not to bore you with all the technical details, but Orange has done some magic with this pedal and the internal voltage is doubled. So you have 18-volts with a 9-volt power source.
This way, as they claim, you get a better dynamic response. And we could say that this is true. Despite not being a tube-driven pedal, it brings some solid dynamic response to it.
The cab simulator works pretty well too. We’re not sure if it fully replicates the exact cab that they said, but it does give that natural cabinet feel if you plug it into a mixer or an audio interface.
Along with its dynamic response, it’s pretty useful for studio recordings in case you don’t want to bother with miking up your amp.
At the end of the day, it’s one very versatile little pedal. It delivers anything from the smooth bluesy crunch, up to some pretty heavy djent stuff.
Released in 2015, Bax Bangeetar comes as the company’s first pedal since the 1960s. We can say that it’s definitely a great comeback. The only downside here would be the price.
But although a bit overpriced, it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad pedal. In fact, it’s one of the best distortion pedals that you can get these days.