The 6 Best Clean Boost Pedals

There isn’t a lot to say about clean boost pedals. Plainly and simply, they serve to boost your sound by increasing the amount of signal going into your amp and pushing the first gain stage harder, and they're supposed to do so without muddying or overdriving your tone. Whether you’re boosting a clean tone for some extra volume or pairing with a distortion pedal for a louder solo, clean boosts are an easy and useful addition to any player’s board.

Model What Makes It Cool Price
Xotic EP Booster The most popular. $80-$120
JHS Mini Bomb The simple choice. $70-$140
EarthQuaker Devices Arrows Boost Clarifying distorted signal. $75-$100
Analogman Beano Boost Mini Treble boost. $170-$200
MXR Micro Amp Mitigating signal drop off. $54-80
TC Electronic Spark Mini Best budget option. $45-$80

JHS Mini Bomb

The JHS Mini Bomb Boost is another basic boost with only one knob and an on/off switch. Being a mini pedal, you won’t have to sacrifice a lot of board space either. It's also a great choice for bassists, as it doesn't cut away a lot of your low-end.

This is an incredibly natural clean boost. Many boosts that are marketed as clean boosts can push your clean tone into overdriven territory when they're cranked, giving you unwanted distortion. This boost doesn't do that. If you're trying to cut through the mix for a clean solo, this boost gives you volume while maintaining that clarity.

If you're pairing with a fuzz, for example, it can really clean up the muddiness and drive your high-end into a clearer, crunchy and biting tone, too. Whether you're putting it at the front or the end of your chain, you can expect a big sound out of the Mini Bomb.

Xotic EP Booster

The EP Booster by Xotic Effects is one of the most popular clean boosts around – certainly the most popular clean boosts by sales volume on Reverb. Though we all love the iconic vintage Echoplex Tape Delay for being a delay, many guitarists have historically used its preamp function for a clean boost, which is what the EP Booster is modeled after.

Many players swear by this pedal for its ability to not only boost your volume, but add a bit of thickness to your tone as well. Guitarists also use the pedal as a tone shaper, clicking it on in conjunction with their overdrive pedals to clean up their output. With its small footprint, availability for discounted prices used, and simple configuration, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better boost option.

EarthQuaker Devices Arrows Boost

This handmade pedal from EarthQuaker Devices is a simple solution to an irritating problem: over-saturated, too grungy, muddy output from distortion pedals. In pairing this pedal with the rest of your rig, you’ll get a severely cleaned up tone that retains the dirtiness of your effects chain without the mud that often accompanies it.

Although the Arrows isn’t directly marketed a clean boost itself, it is extremely clean and can be easily used as a standalone boost for any playing need. A simple pedal with a simple promise: to maintain the nuances of your sound without tossing pedals from your board.

MXR Micro Amp

The MXR Micro Amp is another classic example of a clean boost. It’s another addition to the tried and true family of simple pedals with an on/off switch and one knob for levels built into the classic MXR chassis.

It’s a simple pedal that serves to add gain to your tone, allowing you to cut through the rest of your mix for lead work. This is also a great choice for mitigating signal drop off that you might experience if you have a maxed out pedalboard or use very long cables.

TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster

At around $50 brand new, the TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster is the clean boost for you if you find yourself (as most of us musicians do) on a tight budget. It’s another mini pedal with just an on/off switch and a level knob, but the hand drawn vintage design on the chassis does add a unique touch.

Despite such a small profile, the Spark Mini Booster can provide up to 20 decibels of volume to your sound. The pedal also supports a non-latching feature that TC Electronic dubs “PrimeTime” – stomping the pedal once will keep it turned on, but holding it down will only keep it on for as long as you have the switch depressed. This means that its functionality is as unobtrusive as its tiny footprint.

Analogman Beano Boost

First, the Analogman Beano Boost and Beano Boost Mini are essentially the same pedal – the mini is just housed in a smaller chassis that doesn’t have room for a battery and operates via power supply instead. That being said, the Beano Boost is a venerable treble boost, first made famous by brightening the notoriously dark British amps.

It features an on/off switch, a single knob, and an extra 3-way switch that tailors the frequency response between the original treble boost, a mid boost, and a full-frequency boost giving you the ability to dial-in exactly how aggressive you’d like your boost to be. And it sure does get aggressive. Drive the boost hard enough, and you’ll move into a thicker, distorted territory.

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