Published by darkhorse on 28th November 2012
Bogner Uberschall Pedal
BOGNER Uberschall high gain distortion pedal.
This is the Black pedal of the new series of three Bogner pedals, the Red Ecstasy and Blue Ecstasy for the red and blue channels on the Bogner Ecstasy amp. The Black Uberschall is a mimic of the Bogner Uberschall amp. For those wondering what that might mean in English, it translates to “super sonic” or “super sound”.
One hates to rate all 5s or as they used to be 10s on a unit but sometimes the scale does not go high enough. Compared to most typical pedals Bogner is off the 5 scale.
The Uberschall is the higher gain pedal of the series, which are incredibly amp like pedals which have a feel and response of the amp channels they are intended to mimic. The Red and Blue are new tech that have a 5 stage amp like gain cascade structure that does not use the typical op amp or diode circuit for distortion whereas the even higher gain Black Uberschall includes a finely tuned diode distortion circuit according to the genius of Reinhold Bogner.
The unit consists of very firm and stable pots on the controls that stay where you put them as a slight tweak changes things. Switches are top shelf Carling, high grade metal enclosure Uberschall name on top Bogner label on the front. The internals consist of premium components, including double sided gold plated circuit boards, German WIMA capacitors, Japanese Nichicon capacitors and gold plated relays and so forth. A range above the typical guitar pedal, sort of what you expect of German engineering. The pedal is true bypass by the way and comes with a Bogner labeled special battery, which I do not use myself but something I will keep as a novel item.
Featured controls are Volume, Treble, Mid, Bass, Gain, on/off and boost switches. In/Out jacks and a remote jack for putting the pedal in a rack drawer and controlling the on/off and boost externally. Typical 9v power supply jack, Bogner does not indicate the mA current draw of the pedal so one would assume it is typical and <100mA capable of any brick supply power feed, std neg tip.
Controls are basic on the Treble and Bass. Bogner notes "go easy on the Bass to see what your amp can handle to avoid it compressing the front end". Treble is wide ranging, I tend to keep it around 11:00. The Mid control is like the Presence control on the Ubserschall amp, down, it cuts and scoops the mids, 12;00 level response, past 12:00 = mid increase pushing the guitar tone up out of the mix. Never gets displeasing to the air.
Boost switch has a small volume adjust knob under the std volume. Obviously tiny and not meant to adjust all the time. Seems hard to see but lights up when on and you can see the black mark on the little knob. The Uberschall does not have an additional gain increase knob like the Red and Blue on their boosts, just a volume boost. It does not operate independent of the “on” switch. It serves to take the sound louder but not the gain, although you may think this at first because the sound is more dramatic and in your face. Prefect for controlled lead or solo boost to come out of the mix just when everyone thought you were sufficiently buried.
Now I was expecting an all out gain monster here, well into Metal tone land. Not so much, the gain level is notable but not washed out, fizzy or buzzy sounding. I was expecting a more over the top gain but what came out of the pedal was pleasing to the ear and very musical, very controllable and articulate, heavy low end would kill on detuned guitars, a superior gain pedal to be sure. The Bogner pedals function very much like great overdrives, they gain up but they also have great more moderate tones. The Black Uberschall gains up certainly more than the Blue or Red, but it does not have all the cool tone mod toggles on the other units. It sort of "Uberschalls" and there you go.
Very much amp like in character, very high gain, but extreme articulate note definition. This is not a “metal’ distortion pedal and there are a lot of others which get more intense, so if that is your goal, this pedal might not do it for you. But the gain voicing is very much intense, of course increasing treble increases gain distortion but on this pedal all ranges of the tones are useful and musical. The unit responds well to roll off of volume and cleans up really well. I had some more normal overdrive tones on it that were quite nice.
Gain it up and it cranks with heavy gain and articulation, low end can be tremendous and the range of the treble and mids especially allows for a lot of different tones. Takes clean boost or overdrive in front without messing up the tone. I like the pedal, and anyone familiar with a wide range of distortion pedals knows each can have their own particular tone structure. The Ubserschall definitely has its own tonal voice and you know it when you hear it. It is not the over the top metal pedal some might expect, but there is certainly enough there to play any level of heavy and the Bogner may not be as fizzy washout as others but it sounds damn good. Really damn good.
For my tastes it is a keeper. I now have 3 high gains on my board just because I love the voicing structure on them. For my opinion, Wampler remains king of the most intense and over the top articulate distortions and their overdrives are primo, love the pedals. The Bogner’s are impressive and I would not hesitate to drive any of them off the lot.
The Uberschall covers the bases for all manner of rock gains reaching up into what I used to term heavy metal before the more modern fizz wash of today’s “metal”. If you like heavy detuned massive full body guitars with somewhat scooped mids, this is pedal for you. You can certainly use it for metal type high gains and it will sound better and more defined than most of those types of pedals. I like it, I like it a lot.
After further use of the pedal and integration into my board and rig I have decided to stop trying to push the pedal as a high gain distortion and to roll it back as more an amp sounding overdrive. Seems to suit its design as more an amp sounding channel overdrive than a uber gain box which was my first assumption from the hype. I think it functions much better as an overdrive with less gain, the tone controls and db boost ability lends to a really nice sounding tonal overdrive more so than trying to intensify the upper gain limits of the pedal.