Hamstead are renowned for their guitar amps, but their growing pedal range has garnered plenty of plaudits in recent years. The latest stompbox to join their stellar lineup is the Zenith - a flexible tone-shaping pedal that combines EQ, boost and compression effects. The unit is designed to ultimately get the most out of any amplifier; refining its sound to perfection or pushing it to a whole new level!
From subtle compression through to extreme sound-sculpting and sustain, Zenith’s three distinct circuits cover it all. Digitally-controlled switching allows the fully-analogue EQ and compression circuits to be accessed independently too - all via one reliable 'OptoKick' footswitch made by The GigRig.
Musical EQ & Compression
Treble, Middle and Bass controls are customary on many guitar effects, but Hamstead endeavoured to voice these parameters to not only sound great, but feel natural to use too. Boosted high frequencies are present but not harsh, boosted lows remain tight while adding warmth, and the Middle control offers a huge amount of range with its three position ‘Q’ and Frequency switches.
Compression is often misunderstood, which is why Hamstead designed an easy-to-use circuit that delivers incredible fidelity yet provides enough versatility for fastidious players. This circuit has a very fast attack and medium/long release but remains very transparent, while the feel of the compressor can also be dialled-in with the Blend control - allowing for a natural picking attack while dramatically increasing sustain.
The Zenith is Hamstead's first pedal to feature "Secret Switching" for independent control of its EQ and Compression circuits. By holding down the OptoKick footswitch, 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.
Circuit Order Function
One of the coolest additions to Zenith is the 'Circuit Order' switch on the rear of the pedal. This enables 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.
Effective in the Effects Loop!
With its balance of EQ and Compression, Hamstead's Zenith is the perfect effects loop attenuator. When you have found your tonal nirvana at gig volume, turning an amp down to practice levels often results in EQ changes and lack of output tube sag and saturation.
By running Zenith in the effects 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 The GigRig G2/3
- Silent optical switching and The GigRig’s OptoKick footswitch for excellent reliability
- All-analogue design with digital control
- Dimensions: 70 (w) x 130 (d) x 65 (h) mm
- Weight: 575g / 1.27lbs
- Power Requirement: 9V: 280mA, 12V: 200mA or 18V: 160mA (centre negative)
- Input Impedance: 600K Ohms
- Output Impedance: < 300 Ohms
- Warranty: 5 Year Limited Warranty