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Review: JHS Colour Box

Jesse at Rogue Guitar Shop here to bring you some information on a very unique pedal. JHS asks, have you ever heard songs like the Beatles "Revolution", or Motown classics like Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, oreven the modern Radiohead's "Bodysnatchers" and thought, "How are they getting that guitar sound?" Those guys plugged directly into the classic Neve recording console! From slight overdrive to insane fuzz from overloading the console, you can finally have these sounds at your feet. We at Rogue Guitar Shop have never really seen anything quite like it. A fully analog studio quality preamp, with studio quality components. Designed to create those classic sounds either into an amp or direct to PA or recording

The Colour Box has a very unique feature set. The controls include a Master control, which is essentially the Master volume control. Which functions just like the control of the same name found on many tube amps. A Pre-Vol control, which is the Preamp Volume. Many tube amps feature a control of the same name, which is essentially a gain control. A Hi Pass filter control, with a toggle switch to engage or disengage. This can add additional highs or remove them, sort of thinning or thickening the sound. A Step control, which is a 5 way rotary control knob. This lets you cycle through different levels of gain and volume available. Last but absolutely not least, the Colour Box features a full three band EQ, with Bass, Middle, and Treble. These three controls feature potentiometers that actually notch in the middle, where 
the EQ is flat. On top of all of that, it features a combination XLR and instrument input, and separate instrument and XLR outputs. 

At Rogue Guitar Shop, we’ve seen many overdrive, distortion, preamps, and fuzz pedals. But never anything quite like the JHS Color Box. There’s such a versatile control and feature set, that this thing could really be used by almost anyone, for almost any genre and application. I’ve found it to work equally well with guitar, bass, or even vocals. Before I get to anything else, I’ll go through my first time using the Colour Box, when I used it as a guitar pedal. Plugging it in, I had the Step control set all the way down for the lowest gain setting. The Pre-Vol was set almost all the way down, the EQ was set flat, and Hi Pass filter toggle off. This produced a very sweet clean tone, that surprisingly sounded like a studio recorded tone coming from my amp! As I turn the Pre-Vol up, I notice a nice light overdrive kicking in. This 
overdrive seemed to mesh with the amp very well. I turn on the Hi-Pass filter to slightly thin out the sound, making excellent tones for country or chicken-pickin. Flipping the Step to the next position, adds a little bit more gain for easier to dial in OD tones. The 3rd the Pre-Vol up near max, the fuzziness starts to take over! Step in 4th increasing the volume and gain available. In some ways, because of this, it’s almost like 5 pedals in one.

Again, at Rogue Guitar Shop, we’ve seen many grit pedals. It takes something really special to completely grab our interest. It doesn’t get much more special than this! Even with the massive amount of controls and features, I've found this thing surprisingly easy to dial in. I haven’t found anything better to dial in instant Beatles tones! I had a blast dialing this thing in to play songs like Something and Helter Skelter. The wide range of sounds between those two songs should give you an idea how versatile this pedal really is. To me, the Step control is highly useful in switching from humbuckers to single coils. The control switch can be set low to accommodate even the highest output humbuckers to not clip before you want 
it to. I’ve found with single coils, my favorite OD to clean Step position would be at the third slot. For fuzzier tones, I’ve found my favorite to be the 4th.I’ve found a fuzz sound I’ve never heard before in a pedal! Being a fuzz fanatic, I loved this use for the 
pedal. It’s slightly gated, but in a way that I’ve never heard before on anything but recordings. The three band EQ isn’t supposed to be interactive with itself, instead it’s supposed to cut and boost frequencies independently. It does this quite well, as you actually notice a difference in volume as you cut or boost frequencies. Then you can have the Hi-Pass on or off to further fine-tune the sound. When using the pedal 
in XLR mode, I’ve never found a more pleasing vocal effect direct to PA! I’ve found it to work equally well with bass. With the powerful EQ controls, it’s easy to dial it in so the guitar and bass in a mix don’t occupy the same frequencies and sit very well. It’s almost stupid how versatile and useful this thing is! Keep in mind, it isn’t cheap, but it’s an excellent value for what you get.

Final Verdict:
We highly enjoyed going through the JHS Colour Box and seeing all that it could do. The only possible issue I could see is there is a great deal of noise at the higher gain settings. But this is to be expected with something clipping as hard as this. Can be easily fixed with a noise gate, as well. If you found this to sound like something you’d be interested in, chat with us at Rogue Guitar Shop for the best price and service in the business!

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