For several years, I’ve wanted Menatone’s TBIAC. Luckily I was able to trade for a TBIAC recently and give it a quick test drive. I’m looking for that low gain Vox tone, like an AC-30 just breaking up. This pedal delivers it in spades!
I’m using this pedal with my “go to” amp, a Fargen Blackbird 40 watt (2 x 6L6 tubes) with a Weber California 12″ (ceramic, 80 watt)…which is like a 40 watt Fender Deluxe Reverb…think Fender Pro Reverb. Since this pedal has a beautifully rich mid-range, it pairs well with a Fender-like clean tone, kinda like how a TS9 pairs well with a Fender amp’s clean tone. However, this pedal is much more alive than a Ts9. It has a “sag” to it, like how an amp does when it’s cranked, that a Ts9 doesn’t have.
Hear the Menatone Top Boost in a Can
The pedal can’t give me that purely clean Vox tone at the lowest gain levels (in fact, fully CCW gain makes the pedal go silent like an amp would), but it starts off around the likes of an amp’s early break-up point. Perfect.The higher gain overdrive sounds good as well, but the real goods are CCW of the 12:00 position. That’s where this pedal shines….as most overdrive pedals do in my opinion. (Just get a distortion pedal if you want more gain than a creamy break-up amp tone!). I did notice the “ghost notes” on the upper strings when playing with higher gain, as some people mentioned, so that might really bug some people….however, I don’t notice this with the lower gain settings.
The EQ section is very effective and the controls (bass, treble, cut) are very interactive. If you adjust one control, you may have to compensate/adjust another control. Pretty simple if you just use your ears, and offers a wide range of equalization all within that classic british tone.
Final thoughts? I love this pedal. Brian Mena & Ben Fargen are good friends, ta boot, and their gear works wonderfully together. I highly recommend the Menatone Top Boost in a Can (or, TBIAC for short), and the latest version has 8 controls for even more control.