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  4. HAMSTEAD SOUNDWORKS

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 the Hamstead 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.

EQ & Compression

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.

Secret Switching

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.

Additional Features

A final addition to Zenith was the Circuit Order switch on the rear on the pedal. This allows you to place the EQ either before, after, or in parallel to the Compression circuit. While a common studio practice, this is the first time this feature has been included in a compact guitar pedal.

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 pre amp 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.

  • All-analogue design with digital control
  • Dimensions: 70w x 130d x 65h mm (inc. hardware)
  • Weight: 575g / 1.27lbs
  • Power Requirement: DC (centre negative)
  • 9V - 280mA or 12V - 200mA or 18V - 160mA
  • Input Impedance: 600K Ohms
  • Output Impedance: < 300 Ohms
  • Warranty: 5 Year Limited Warranty
  • Designed and built in Great Britain

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