Hamstead Zenith All-Analogue Amplitude Controller
Tone is more than just guitars, amps and pedals; but the voice of the player. Once your core elements are brought together, you can refine your sound or even push it to a whole new level.
This is Zenith: a powerful EQ, Boost, and Compressor delivered in one compact and incredibly flexible package. From subtle tone shaping and compression that is felt and not heard, through to extreme sound sculpting and sustain beyond the natural realm, Zenith’s three circuits cover it all. Digitally controlled switching then allows the 100% analogue EQ and Compression circuits to be accessed independently, all via one OptoKick footswitch.
Treble, Middle and Bass controls are nothing new to guitar effects, but with Zenith we have endeavoured to voice these parameters to not only sound but feel natural to use. Boosted high frequencies are present but not harsh; boosted lows remain tight while adding warmth, and the Middle control offers a huge amount of flexibility with its three-position ‘Q’ and Frequency switches.
Compression is an often misunderstood and potentially complex effect in guitar culture. We wanted to design a circuit that was simple to use but at the same time incredibly high quality and versatile. Our compression circuit has a very fast attack and medium/long release and is designed to work with any setup and remain very transparent. The feel of the compression can also be dialled in with the Blend control, allowing natural pick attack but also hugely increased sustain. Covering a wide range from subtle level balancing through to hard compression with very musical bloom, pro compression has never been easier to achieve.
Zenith is our first pedal to feature ‘Secret Switching’ for independent control of the EQ and Compression circuits. For those using loopers we wanted to bring back functionality to the OptoKick and adding two switches to a compact pedal makes both difficult to operate on a tightly packed pedalboard.
By holding down the OptoKick, the pedal enters the programming mode with 5 switching options; Standard (both on, both off), Flip/Flop, Comp always on, EQ always on, and Cycle. For example: Zenith can be used as an always on EQ with compression engaged via the switch, or used to Flip/Flop between the two effects.
Your Gig Tone at Home Levels
With its balance of EQ and Compression Zenith is the perfect FX loop attenuator. When you have found your tonal nirvana at gig volume, turning an amp down to practise levels often results in EQ changes and lack of output tube sag and saturation. By running Zenith in the FX loop, you can first bring down the volume with the Level control without affecting preamp gain. Adjusting the EQ then brings back your original tone, and by adding a touch of compression the feel of tube sag returns with musical bloom. With Zenith, you can recreate the sound and feel of your amp at its best at all volume levels.
- +20dB of completely clean and transparent gain
- Active 3 band EQ voiced to have an amp like and natural feel
- Switchable mid frequency and Q for powerful tone shaping
- Incredibly transparent compression circuit with a low noise floor
- Blend control to dial in the feel of the compression
- Switchable order of the EQ and Comp circuits plus a Parallel mode
- Secret Switching to give full control over the EQ and Comp circuits independently
- Control input for switching via an external footswitch such as a GigRig G2/3