• Electronic Orange Bananaboost review

    Electronic Orange Bananaboost review

    David Gilmour’s mid 70s overdrive tones are recognised by that transparent and glassy character, with fat lows and sparkling top end. That orange, funky looking beast of a pedal defined the sound of so many guitarists of that era. Electronic Orange recently released an updated version of their Bananaboost. Here’s my review.

    The mythical pedal is of course the Colorsound Powerboost. Its huge glass shattering tone made its way into many rigs, including those of Jeff Beck and David Gilmour. Listen to Beck’s Blow by Blow or Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. It’s all over those albums.

    While Beck mainly recorded with a Les Paul, David Gilmour would use his Black Strat with the Powerbooster. That combo, with the Hiwatts, created an even brighter and edgier sound and David still base his setup on those tones today, no with the Tube Driver.

    The Bananaboost is based on the classic Powerboost circuit and among all the clones out there, this one is probably the most vintage sounding. The new and improved version, can handle 9-12V powering and with a built in voltage doubler, the Bananaboost has plenty of headroom.

    The pedal feature a gain control and a powerful two-band bass and treble EQ section. The original Powerbooster didn’t have a volume control so you had to play insanely loud to get the full range of the gain stage. The Bananaboost, like most of the clones out there, feature a handy master volume, allowing you to crank it up to fuzz, without bothering family or neighbours.

    The Powerboost, or in this case the Bananaboost, is really three pedals in one – boost, EQ and fuzz. Set all clean, it adds an almost twangy character to the amp. With all the controls set around noon, for a fairly neutral tone, the Bananaboost smooths out those harsh top frequencies, adds a hint of low end boost and the gain, although clean, adds a nice and crispy attack. The effect is subtle but it definitely adds life to the amp.

    The Bananaboost doubles nicely as a clean booster for your overdrives and distortions. Set it clean, as described above, perhaps even with the treble increased a bit, and pair it with a Big Muff (placed in front of it) and you’re spot on David Gilmour’s ear piercing tones from the Animals era.

    A cool tip is to place the Bananaboost in your amp’s effect loop – if it has one. This will boost the output section of the amp, which compensates for the lack of drive on low neighbour friendly volume. Your amp will sound bigger and fatter.

    Increasing the gain up to 3 o’clock and rolling back the treble a tad, produce a tone similar to a tube amp just at the edge of break up. The Banananaboost is incredibly responsive to your playing and cleans up well with the guitar volume backed down a hair or two. Combining this setting with an already cranked amp, will take it right into classic Hendrix, with fat harmonics and sweet singing sustain.

    Turning the gain all the way up takes the Bananaboost into fuzz territory. There’s plenty of gain on tap and with the treble rolled down to 9 o’clock and a bit of bass boost, you get a saturated bright fuzz, with rich harmonics and fat lows. Great for capturing David Gilmour Pompeii and Dark Side tones.

    Electronic Orange seems to be specialising in recreating classic circuits and they’ve designed some of my favourite pedals, the Pig Hoof and the Moon-Vibe. With the Bananaboost he’s also managed to create a Powerboost clone that captures all the characteristics I like about the original, with a few welcomed adjustments, like more headroom and an overall smoother breakup. This thing sounds really good!

    The Bananaboost is highly recommended if you’re looking for a pedal that will capture David Gilmour’s early overdrive tones, with high authenticity, or if you’re just looking for a pedal that will beef up your amp, without colouring your tone. Check out www.electronicorange.cz for more details.

    UPDATE

    How does the Bananaboost compare with other clones?

    There are many clones of the old Colorsound Powerboost and Overdrive out there. Some close to the original circuit, while others offer the classic tones, with new features.

    The Bananaboost and Vick Audio Overdriver are perhaps the closest to the original pedals. They both have that true vintage character, with glassy top end and fat lows. Not much compression going on, although once you crank everything, you will get some nicely saturated compression from a tube amp. The Bananaboost, with its internal voltage doubler, has more headroom, while they both perform excellent as a fuzz. The Bananaboost has a bit smoother breakup though and a tad more gain.

    The Buffalo FX Powerboost is perhaps the most versatile of them all, with a warmer tone, more headroom and a much smoother breakup. It goes well with smaller amps and bedroom setups but if you really want those vintage tones, the Bananaboost is the way to go.

    The ThroBak Overdrive Boost has long been a favourite of mine, with an overall brighter tone and lots of headroom. What I’ve always liked about this one is that set clean, it has an almost twangy character. The Bananboost does that equally well, and while the ThroBak can sound a bit fizzy when you crank it, the Bananaboost behaves more like a tube amp, with a smoother breakup.

    Which of these you should pick depends on whether or not you like that vintage vibe or not and if you’ll be using the pedal on a small bedroom rig or something bigger.

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58 Responsesso far.

  1. Sean Dyer says:

    Great review Bjorn,
    I love power boost pedals. Such a versatile circuit.

    I know it’s all relative but how would you compare this against the buffalo fx power boost?

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks Sean! Check out the updated review with a comparison between some of my favourite clones :)

      • sean says:

        Thanks Bjorn! I already have the power boost from Buffalo which i use mostly at home for now, so looks like i have the right one.
        Sounds so good boosting & eq’ing my muff and other drives.

  2. Steven says:

    Hey Bjorn. How do you compare this to the Buffalo Effects Power Booster? I love that pedal and it’s something that hasn’t left my board since I got it. Cheers from Nashville, TN

  3. Arya Boustani says:

    Thanks for the review. How do you compare this with Vick Audio Overdriver? I found the high tone knob on Overdriver does that glassy trick but I’m not fan of its bass knob. I think it is too weak. I like the range of the gain. It is from pretty bland to enough dirt for me for this style.

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Arya! Check out the updated review with a comparison between some of my favourite clones :)

      • Arya Boustani says:

        Thanks Bjorn. One of the things that I always wanted more of it with using a muff is to have a bit more hi def attack when pick touches the string. I think that’s the payoff of getting a nicely smooth distortion using a muff especially with longer sustain so you loose the attack and also the clarity of the attack. It turns more into a thud rather than a sharp and clear sounding attack. It looks like BananaBoost brings that attack back nicely. I’m using Laney Cub with your suggested settings, and Triangle or Black Russian with low sustain to keep some of that transparency as much as possible. I always wanted to try a Cornish P1 or P2 to see if it gives the smooth muff sustain but without sacrificing the transparency of the attack. I guess having a muff perhaps like Vick Audio 73 Ram’s Head and BananaBoost or Vick Audio Overdriver is cheaper than buying a Cornish P1 or P2. Not sure if it can achieve the same kind of clarity of the attack. But what sounds from your demo is pretty good!
        Thanks again for the demo.

        • Bjorn says:

          That crisp attack is a combination of many things but a transparent booster, like the Banana, enhances that attack. It’s also David’s amps. Fenders, apart from making Muffs sound a bit fizzy, has a smoother attack, while the Hiwatt has that crispiness. Especially when you raise the presence control, which boosts the 6-7k range.

  4. Max says:

    Wha … Another great review … Thanks dude !
    So now the question is : Buffalo Fx Power Booster or Electronic Orange Bananaboost for David GILMOUR’ tone ?

  5. Robert says:

    More importantly. Will it make your stage board replacing the buffalo fx powerboost 👍

    • Bjorn says:

      At the moment, my only booster is the Shine Boost from TopTone. I love both the Buffalo and the Banana… depends on how vintage you want it :)

      • Robert Farrer says:

        Nice Bjorn. That’s the booster from Brazil I believe. Nice piece of kit. Keep up the good work and nice touch on the comparison piece. Very useful.

  6. Bryan says:

    Sounds great Bjorn,

    How does it compare to the Buffalo FX Powerbooster?

    • Bjorn says:

      Check out the updated review with a comparison between some of my favourite clones :)

      • Bryan says:

        Thanks for the comparison update. I was looking at the Buffalo FX, but it sounds like this may be the way to go for the vintage tones. How does the Bananaboost do with bedroom setups?

        • Bjorn says:

          Depends on the amp. Works pretty well but I would recommend the Buffalo for brighter amps and the Banana for darker, mid rangy amps.

  7. Mr Nick says:

    Love the review. How does it compare to a fuzz face?

    • Bjorn says:

      As you can hear, it does a fuzz pedal pretty well. A silicon Fuzz Face, like the Dunlop JHF1 has a bit more gain and an overall more saturated tone but I’d have no problem using the Banana as a fuzz only pedal.

  8. Nico says:

    Hi Bjorn, great review!
    It is very similar to the Buffalo FX Powerbooster, no?

  9. Uwe says:

    Hello Bjorn!

    How would you compare that one to the Vick Audio overdriver and the Buffalo Powebooster? Knowing that the Vick was supposed to be closest to the original (and doesn’t like buffers at all in the Fx chain)…

    Best regards,

    uwe

    • Bjorn says:

      The Banana has more headroom and a slightly smoother breakup. I also think it works better with buffers. But, they’re very similar and they both capture that true vintage vibe :) Check out the updated review with a comparison between some of my favourite clones :)

  10. Norman says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Another great review thanks. I may as well ask the inevitable question of how this compares with the Buffalo Power Booster. Could you also explain a bit further about placing the booster in the effects loop. Is this so the preamp can be turned up higher followed by the booster’s gain/volume to bring it down lower again before the power amp or is it the other way around with the preamp down low and the gain and volume of the booster increasing and flavouring it before the power amp. You often suggest the booster goes after a muff. Does placing it in the effects loop instead achieve the same desired result. Sorry about all the questions, just trying to get my head around how things work.

    • Bjorn says:

      Boosters can be used in different ways. When placed after a Muff, you’re basically adding a volume booster and EQ, which can boost the volume of the Muff and further shape its tone. This is David’s approach. You can also place a booster in front of a driven amp, which will boost the gain into distortion and create a more saturated and compressed tone. Placing a booster in the fx loop is a cool trick to make your amp sound bigger in a smaller environment, like a bedroom. You’re boosting the output stage of the amp, which will create a bigger and fuller tone. You can also crank the pre gain stage and get more distortion, since the output stage is boosted. I wouldn’t do this if you play loud but in a bedroom setup, where you need to compensate for the low volume and produce a similar tone to cranked tubes and loud speakers. Check out the updated review with a comparison between some of my favourite clones :)

  11. Ben Ferwerda says:

    Hey Bjorn! Great review. I have been waiting for this review for a while as this pedal has been on my radar! I just have a few questions. Is the Bananaboost’s breakup smoother than the Buffalo FX Power-booster? Would the Bananaboost be better suited for boosting a muff than a TC Spark Booster? As always, your work is greatly appreciated!

    Warm regards from Oregon!

    • Bjorn says:

      I think the Banana, and similar Colorsound clones works better with the Muff to replicate David’s tones. It’s what he did and they work better for sharing the tone, than the all clean Spark Booster. Check out the updated review with a comparison between some of my favourite clones :)

  12. Simon says:

    Hi Bjorn!
    Very cool pedal! i have a Tube driver (bk. butler no chandler) OD and Vick audio ram’s head 73 pedal, in you’re opinion, the banana booster is a good chooice for my pedalboard?
    thanks a lot

    Simon

  13. Lorenzo says:

    HI Bjorn,
    nice job. How would you compare the FX buffalo booster with this one? Which is the most neighbours friendly with the best result?
    Thanks

    • Bjorn says:

      That depends on your amp. Both can do clean boost and saturated fuzz, without blowing windows. You could go either way but perhaps the Buffalo for a brighter amp and the Banana for a darker amp :)

  14. Scott says:

    Bjorn, great demo as usual. Have always wanted to get my hands on a Power Boost but they are so hard to find. Really love the tones that this provides. I am always in a constant search for THE tone and may just have to add this to the stable. Thanks again for the sight and insight.

  15. Brad Roller says:

    Am I the only one who wishes that David would go all out and incorporate his old powerbooster in his set up! Considering he was going for a more aggressive tone on the tour it would have fit well, IMO. The tube drivers are nice sounding but the crunch and glassy tone a powerboost can produce is just magical! Tube drivers, to me, are smoother or as you put it, more amp like. But I’m not David am I? ;) he knows better than I! Great review! I want one but I’m tight on money, so I think I’ll manage with my Vick audio overdriver!

  16. Hey Bjorn!
    When you said “Set it clean, as described above, perhaps even with the treble increased a bit, and pair it with a Big Muff (placed in front of it) and you’re spot on David Gilmour’s ear piercing tones from the Animals era.”

    Do you place the PowerBooster in front of the Big Muff? Or the Big Muff in front of the Power Booster?

    Sorry, I confused myself and couldn’t decide which way you meant. I’m guessing Big Muff into PowerBooster.

    • Bjorn says:

      Yep, that’s how David’s using his Powerbooster and Tube Driver. The Muff first and then the booster or overdrive, which, in this case, works more as an EQ, adding a bit of character and tone to the Muff.

  17. Brad Roller says:

    Hey Bjorn, when David was using his powerbooster on the shine on you crazy diamond solos, he used a light setting on the second, and a heavier setting on the third and rhythms. I’ve never played through an original powerboost, so I don’t know what max gain would sound like but compared to my Vick audio overdriver, the third solo in shine on, doesn’t sound as heavy as the more heavier gain settings on my overdriver, is this because David didn’t actually max out his gain(volume) he just had it close? Or does the original just not produce as much gain as the clones? Hope this makes sense. I’ve been looking to produce some tones similar to those on shine on and it seems I get the closest when I set my gain to about 75% if not less. Just wanted to know if you have any experience with this, considering you have an original. Thank you!

    • Bjorn says:

      There aren’t any sources on the actual settings but we do know that he used a Powerbooster on those sessions, so you can figure out how he might have set the pedal. Clean, mild and heavy are very loose terms and it depends very much on how he set his amps. He did play very loud in the studio during those 70s recording sessions, so although his Hiwatts and Fenders were mostly clean, it probably didn’t need much boost from the Colorsound to drive the amps into overdrive. On a smaller amp and lower volume, you’d have to compensate that with a higher gain setting. How much depends on your pickups, the amp etc etc… but yeah, he probably didn’t max it out. The rhythms on Time however, and live versions of Have a Cigar, are good examples of how he must have maxed it… or at least very close to.

  18. Arya Boustani says:

    Hi Bjorn, I’ve been meaning to ask this for a long time. As you mentioned putting a transparent overdrive / booster opens up the tone of a muff, make it a bit less muffled and more dynamic and reveals articulations. I use either Vick Audio Overdriver and / or TC Electronic Nova Drive EQ to peak high mid frequencies and set the mix to low and drive to relatively high and it still does that trick of opening the muff tone and increase its dynamics. Some people don’t like the plain EQ like Boss GE-7 because they say it sucks the drive tone away. I guess it comes down to some sort of science or math behind the analysis of the signal for gain staging, that in what sequence of which pickups, and downstream pedals and which settings for two or more gain pedals can be used in series and you can still get a heavily driven tone yet dynamic with decent level of crispiness out to a clean amp without sounding choked. I’m trying to see if there is any book about this subject to wrap my head around it a bit better. Previously I complained about lack of enough bass boost in my Vick Audio Overdriver. But then I realized my downstream B.K. Butler tube driver wasn’t letting the dynamics of low tone show up while it was OK with high frequencies from the Overdriver, as if that I need to split the signal, send some to Butler tube driver and some just to further downstream Wampler Plexidrive which has enough low by the toggle switch. This issue only reveals itself when I use the neck CS69 pickup. When I use bridge SSL-5 naturally there is not much low end frequencies to choke and everything gets through with lots of articulation details, overtones, etc. I can stack up Triangle or Black Russian muff -> Overdriver (to add transparency and dynamics) -> Nova Drive (to make more high mid range boost, more defined tone) -> Tube Driver -(for tube saturation overtones) > Plexidrive (for cranking the volume and bit more low & low-mid range character) and it still doesn’t choke.

    • Bjorn says:

      Well, I guess the reason there are no books on this subject is that there are no rules or no one way of doing things. I, and others like me, can only suggest and recommend based on our experience but ultimately, you need to figure it out yourself. I’ve covered this subject many times on this site and the mantra is that it really doesn’t matter what gear you use if you don’t know how to use it or, if it doesn’t provide the tones you want. Grea tone lies in the nuances of the gear and your playing and one tiny difference in that setup, can make my tones great and yours not… or vice versa. Some of the pedals you mention, are designed for specific types of amps and guitars/pickups and they won’t sound the same on other types of gear. Likewise, pedals will sound different with differently voiced amps and pickups. The topic is huge but I hope that you can find some answers here on the site in the many features on the matter :)

  19. Sebastien says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    On an “ANIMALS” type of pedalboard, I will need a Colorsound Powerboost Clone.

    I’ve never bought the Vick AUdio because you said it did’nt go well with buffers, and I have a Boss RT-20 in the effects chain…

    I was thinking about buying a Buffalo FX Powerbooster Clone, but my wish would be to have the most vintage sounding clone.

    So, would the Banana Boost from Electronic Orange work well with buffers? Have you tried that?

    Will it work as well as the BuffaloFx, with small amps like the Laney Cub, or Lionheart?

    Thanks for your help!!!

    Sebastien

  20. Sebastien says:

    OK thanks!

    … but how would work the banana Boost with a Boss RT-20 (or any buffered pedals)? …. I’m asking because I also own an old Sound City head.

    Regards,

    Sebastien

    • Bjorn says:

      I haven’t had any issues with buffers but you might not want to place them next to each other. Have at least one true bypass on each side.

  21. bobize says:

    Hi bjorn.
    I’m a owner of the old banana boost, who work only on 9v.
    I use that to make crunch my Hiwatt t20 or to boost my clone muff.
    Have you already tryed the old version? What can you say about the difference beetween the two. I imagine mine have less dynamics, but, on your rewiew, it sounds to me quite close.
    Thank you for help.

  22. Brad Roller says:

    Hey Bjorn sorry for asking so many questions, but, I read on electronic oranges website, when talking about their powerboost clone, at the bottom they talked about how David had the bass control removed from his powerboost…and if you look at the picture of his on the obscured by clouds page, sure enough you’ll notice that it is missing…have you ever heard of this? And what advantages it might have had? Thanks again for your quick responses and all you do man! Can’t wait to hear new airbag material

    • Bjorn says:

      Yes, there are one or two pictures of his old Powerboost, where you can clearly see that the bass control is missing. I have never seen an explanation for this. It’s either because he wanted the bass to stay in a fixed position, which I doubt, since we know he’s constantly tweaking his tones or that it was simply broken.

  23. Marco Vitiello says:

    I’ve get Bananaboost few days ago and it is really awesome. I have had a Vick Audio Overdriver some time ago, I think that Bananaboost play more like an amp, while Vick Audio is more gainy and more pedal like… ;)

  24. Jerome says:

    Hi Bjorn, thanks for all those great reviews and for the site in general, fantastic resource! The Bananaboost is one of the most accurate clones out there, but how does it compare to the Macari’s Colorsound Powerboost 18v? The latter is about twice the price. Is there a discernible difference in the sound? Thanks a lot!

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Jerome! Thanks for the kind words! Both are great and the Banana does a fantastic job in capturing the true tone of the Colorsound. The Banana is perhaps a tad darker and smoother, while the Colorsound has a bit more punch and high end sparkle.

  25. M. says:

    I was wondering if you could review the Orange Two Stroke EQ Boost. This pedal seems similar to a Colorsound Power Boost and its cousins, and I was wondering how it would rank in the mix. Also, do you know how Jeff Beck (who is Gilmour’s favorite guitarist) used his CPB?

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks for the tip! I’ve never seen the settings on his pedal but it doesn’t appear to be overly distorted. Mind though that he used a very different amp and guitar, with the pedal, compared to David, so he got a much more mid rangy tone, with less headroom.

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