Source Audio’s goal in creating the ZIO Analog Front End + Boost was simple yet ambitious: “Make Everything Sound Better!” ZIO is an all-analog preamp/boost pedal that includes a choice of four distinct preamp circuits, each with up to 20dB of additional output boost. ZIO is Source Audio’s first all-analog effects pedal and designed in collaboration with Christopher Venter, the owner and sole engineer at SHOE Pedals.
The word “ZIO” is an acronym for Impedance (“Z” is the electrical symbol for impedance), Input (“I”), and Output (“O”). The pedal is designed to take a guitar’s high impedance signal, sweeten the tone with any of its four preamp circuits, and output a strong, low impedance signal that won’t be altered by the buffered dry tones of effect pedals further down the signal chain. High fidelity, noise-free Burr-Brown op amps help give ZIO extreme clarity and responsive pick dynamics, while maintaining ideal body and warmth. ZIO has four distinct preamp circuits. JFET offers a completely transparent signal boost with zero coloring or distortion. LOW-CUT reduces “tubby” bottom-end for a tighter sound with added headroom. STUDIO finds inspiration from the time-honored “Pultec Trick,” a studio technique that adds clarity by cutting the “mud frequencies” and adding mid-range articulation. E-PLEX captures the focused and subtle grit of the preamps found in vintage Echoplex Tape Delay units. The ZIO’s TONE toggle offers three different levels of capacitance (or simulated cable length) to brighten or darken the tone.
The ZIO’s simple control set makes it easy to find the perfect “base tone” for any guitar and ensures that the dry signal hitting each pedal and the amplifier remains strong and consistent.
Features & Specifications
- Circuit knob with four distinct preamp circuits: JFET (transparent, flat frequency curve), LOW-CUT (cuts lows without affecting mid to high frequencies), STUDIO (replicates “Pultec Trick” equalization), E-PLEX (inspired by the preamp in an vintage Echoplex Tape Delay unit)
- High quality components and Burr Brown JFET op-amps
- Output control with up to +20dB of signal boost
- 3-way Tone toggle switch with bright/medium/dark cable capacitance voicing
- 2-way Footswitch Action toggle switch (with always-on “Mute” option)
- Extra Tuner/Line Output
- True Bypass
- Input Impedance: 1 Mega Ohm (1 MΩ)
- Output Impedance: 150 Ohm (150 Ω)
- Power Consumption: 9V DC center negative @ 20mA
- Brushed anodized aluminum housing
- Dimensions: L: 4.1 in./10.5cm x W: 2.36 in./6cm x H: 2.22 in./5.65cm (including knobs)