Z-Tone stomp and box let guitarists take control of their tone
IK Multimedia has drawn key tone-shaping features from its mighty Axe I/O instrument interface and put them into the Z-Tone Buffer Boost preamp pedal for gigging and Z-Tone DI active box for studio work.
Both stomp and direct input box are housed in road-ready metal housing and feature an active/passive pickup selection for control of gain staging, switchable Pure and JFET input circuits to move from transparent tone to one with added warmth and harmonics, and patented variable impedance control for shaping an instrument's sound and feel.
The Buffer Boost is destined for a player's pedalboard or stage rig, and can be powered by a 9-V battery or any standard 9-V pedalboard supply. Guitarists or bass players will be able to tweak the tone of their instrument before it hits the rest of the chain, with IK promising "premium sound, with a best-in-class dynamic range and extended frequency response."
While the Buffer feature goes about preserving an instrument's tone, the Boost function can add volume and drive. And both the Z-Tone circuit and the Boost circuit can be bypassed independently. There's a ground lift switch to cancel buzz or hum, and balanced and unbalanced outputs allow bass or acoustic players to directly connect to mixers or PA systems for flexibility.
The DI box brings Z-Tone shaping to line-level sources such as mixing desks and interfaces. It too is reported to offer a best-in-class dynamic range and extended frequency response, and also features adjustable input and output gain, a balanced main input for hum cancellation, an unbalanced output, and a -20-dB pad for more operating range.
There's a handy output for mirroring the input signal directly, so that players can record or mix both dry and amplified signals without diving into the toolbox for additional gear like signal splitters. This unit can be powered by a 9-V or 48-V phantom power.
The Z-Tone Buffer Boost is on sale now for US$169.99, while the DI comes in at $149.99. IK is also throwing in a full download version of its impressive AmpliTube 4 tone studio software for guitar and bass to sweeten the deal. The first video has more on the Buffer Boost, and the second showcases the Z-Tone DI.