Burriss built its reputation on boutique amps, including the Royal Bluesman— which is highly regarded among tone connoisseurs such as Jimmy Vivino from TBS’ late-night show Conan. (Check out our January 2011 Dirty Red review at premierguitar.com.) But, like many amp builders, Burriss has also branched out into the world of pedal manufacturing. The company recently released the Boostiest 2.5, which contains the same components as its discontinued Boostiest II but with a redesigned and streamlined internal PCB and simpler graphics, resulting in a more wallet-friendly price tag ($175 versus the Boostiest II’s $225.)
Twice as Dirty
The Boostiest 2.5 is built around two independent sections called Overdrive and Boostier, both housed in a single enclosure. Burriss designed the unit to take up as little floor space as possible, and although there are two pedals in the rectangular casing, if you twist it sideways it’s not much wider than a standard Boss pedal. The controls are arranged across the top of the surface area, with three knobs for each section. The Overdrive section features Gain, Tone, and Level controls, while the Boostier section has Output, Highs, and Input knobs. The latter works as a gain control, and Burriss recommends you set it and forget it. Input, output, and power supply jacks are side mounted.
Switches for both sections are true-bypass, and they share the same circuit board. The signal path goes through the Boostier section first, then to the Overdrive section, which picks up where the Boostier leaves off in terms of gain and touch response. I tested the Boostiest 2.5 with an Ernie Ball Music Man Axis Sport using several amps, including a Mesa/Boogie Lone Star Special head through a Marshall 1x12 cabinet, a Fender 1965 Deluxe Reverb, and an Ampeg SJ-12R. And it seemed like the Boostiest 2.5 was notably transparent—enhancing and preserving the character of the amp it was driving rather than imposing its own voice.
The Boostier side gives you approximately 20 dB of high-fidelity, clean boost to provide girth without significant tone coloration or unwanted grit—performing almost like a unity-gain buffer. Although the Overdrive side is inspired by the classic Ibanez TS808 circuit and even features the same JRC4558D chip, to my ears the Burriss sounds thicker and has less of a mid hump than the original Tube Screamer. You reach unity gain with the Gain control at around 8 o’clock, and from that point until about 11 o’clock you get a bit of extra bite and sustain on top of an essentially clean amp tone. From 12 o’clock on, the character changes and you get a very smooth overdrive that’s liquid, yet articulate and responsive to dynamics. However, unless you’re using a very high-gain amp, the Boostiest is a little too polite for extreme metal tones.
The Boostiest 2.5 is one of the best overdrive/ boost pedals I’ve encountered. The Overdrive’s lead sound, in particular, was outstanding through its entire range of Gain settings. And the transparency of the Boostier section is a treat if you love the sound of your amp. The fact that you get two pedals for the price of one is icing on the cake.
you need a reasonably priced, great-sounding two-in-one pedal to suit your boost and overdrive needs.
you’re joining a Slipknot cover band.