Xotic RC Booster Pedal Review

The Xotic RC Booster is a clean boost to moderate overdrive pedal made by Xotic Effects USA.  RC actually stands for "really clean". It's growing in popularity, for good reason, and has been seen on pedalboards of artists such as Brad Paisley and Brent Mason.  It's dynamic and sensitive to the nuances of the player.  It offers 20db+ of clean boost, very transparently and includes controls for volume, gain and EQ controls for treble and bass.  The pedal is compact so users don't have to worry about making a lot of room for it on a pedalboard.  The pedal is true bypass, so when the pedal is not in use the integrity of the original guitar signal remains intact.  It can be powered by a 9V battery or through the use of a 9V DC adaptor.  The pedal is super easy to operate and I was able to plug it into my effects chain and immediately get great sounds.  I'd like to go over what I noticed about the controls and it's sound quality.


Volume - The volume works like a typical volume on an overdrive pedal, controlling the overall output level of the pedal.  Turning the knob counterclockwise limits the output level, while turning it clockwise increases the outpul level.  The pedal has a lot of headroom, allowing it to offer clean boosting so transparently.  This works great when using the pedal to be heard above a mix for soloing or for any other reason desired, for that matter.
Gain - The gain knob controls the amount of overdrive being used while the pedal is engaged.  Turning this knob counterclockwise decreases the amount of gain, cleaning up the sound, and turning it clockwise increases the amount of gain.  This knob helps the pedal to be very versatile in it's uses, anywhere from a transparent boost to a clean signal, a moderate overdrive sound, or even boosting lead tones when already playing with an overdriven signal.
EQ Controls - These knobs separately control bass and treble.  Turning the knob marked "treble" counterclockwise decreases the amount of treble in the signal and turning it clockwise increases the amount of treble.  The bass control works the same way.  These controls are very responsive, working as an active EQ, and I was able to sculpt a lot of different great tones when using this knob.  My favorite settings for bass and treble with humbuckers are Bass - 9 o'clock and Treble - 12:30.  For a single coils, Bass - 9:30 and Treble - 12 o'clock.

The pedal does a great job and not coloring the original tone of the amp and guitar in use.  A Strat sounds like a Strat, a Les Paul like a Les Paul and the characteristics of whatever amp I was playing still came through.  I have mostly played with it through a Dr. Z Maz JR NR 1x12 and an Orange AD30TC combo.  With humbuckers, the pedals worked great as an overdrive pedal, I really liked the way it made both the Dr. Z and the Orange break up.  It's got a lot of great overtones, it's rich and full sounding, and the bass and treble controls really help to dial in a desired sound smoothly.  With either amp, I was able to sculpt the sound of the pedal to bring just a little more sustain and gain to the original sound of just the guitar and amp, with little or no difference in tone.  For single coils, I have mostly used a Strat while playing the pedal.  No complaints here either.  All of the sounds are very natural and it adds the right amount of beef to the tone, and the drive really lets me control how much the sound breaks up.  The pedal works great on its own and even performs well with other overdrive pedals.  I've used it to push my sound harder while using my Fulldrive 2  and the RC Booster still maintains its transparency.  The sounds are big and clear, with no noise in the background.  Here are a few samples of my favorite settings (EQ settings vary with pickups, but volume and gain knobs are relatively the same in the following settings):

Clean Boost:   Volume - 12 o'clock
                              Gain - 9 o'clock

Light Overdrive:    Volume - 11 o'clock
                                         Gain - 1 o'clock

Lead Boost:   Volume - 12:30
                            Gain - 2 o'clock

This pedal can do a lot.  I've even heard of some players who own the pedal leaving it on all the time to enhance their tone.  With many other drives and boosts from which to choose, this pedal stands out with its original tones, ultra transparency and dynamic qualities.

Josh Bates
Phone: 706-866-2161