Holy Fire is an overdrive/boost guitar pedal that runs on an included 48-volt power supply. There's also a 9-volt version that steps up the voltage internally to work with a standard power supply. Why 48-volts?
One of the first considerations in the circuit design of an audio amplifier (Holy Fire is, after all, an amplifier) is the power supply. With 48-volts of power to run it, there is a tremendous amount of headroom available for transparent and clean gain (up to +12dB) along with a super low noise floor. Said to respond more like a tube amplifier, HF does not change the tone of your guitar and offers more versatility than a lot of overdrive pedals. It uses an analog waveshaping tube emulation for overdrive and a hard edge clipping circuit for distortion.
We found right away that the high headroom makes the pedal more responsive to touch and playing dynamics. Play hard and the attack of the sound is harder and tighter sounding no matter what amount of distortion we used. Playing into a Marshall half stack using a Fender Strat, my guitar player loved the various combinations and interactions between the four controls for so many different sounds.
The main three controls are labeled G, O, and D. "G" or Gain is makeup gain and master volume control while "O" is Overdrive and sets the amount of soft-edge saturation. As you begin to overdrive and transition to waveshaping, a yellow LED backlights the words "Holy Fire" cut into the metal front panel.
Finally, the "D" or Distortion knob controls hard edge clipping. It works like a compressor when the knob is turned past about 2 o'clock. There is also a variable high cut filter knob that comes in handy to darken the overall sound in a measured way. You can take some of the edginess off--for the sound of a worn out vintage speaker.
Compressing with the "D" control brought up the low frequencies instead of squashing them down like a lot of pedals. Going back and forth--trading knob settings between Overdrive and Drive offers a lot of tone choices and with a lower than expected noise level.
Whether you go for the 48V or 9v version, Holy Fire is a very musical pedal great for guitar or bass. I'm using it here in my studio as a re-amp/distortion device along with the Creation Audio MW1 Studio Tool.
Holy Fire 48v sells for $130 MSRP, measures 3.1 by 4.25-inches and comes with a world power supply that runs from 90 to 260VAC mains.
For more information, check out: www.creationaudiolabs.com/holyfire.
BARRY RUDOLPH is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com