For the better part of a decade, the RC Booster by Xotic has pleased many 6-stringers who like some hair on their boost. A new collaboration with fusion guru Scott Henderson has created the RCB-SH, a dual-channel version of the flagship pedal. For as much tonal ground that was crammed into the RCB, Xotic didn’t add much in the way of controls. With an additional footswitch and a mini knob, a two-headed beast was born.
Henderson had a few goals with his namesake stomp, and high on that list was transparency and better note definition. Spoiler: Mission accomplished. The blue channel is basically a transparent boost and is stunningly clear and warm. There's less gain than say, a Tube Screamer, and it's way more sensitive to attack—welcome additions for more dynamic players who shuffle between pick and fingers. The red channel, which has a separate gain control, walks that fine line between sweetly singing leads and over-the-top saturation. On the gig, I pretty much left the blue channel on and flipped the red channel on for more soaring lead work. Simply put, this pedal isn’t the equivalent of a heavy-handed tonal facelift, but if your basic tone is already happening, the RCB-SH can surely find a spot on your board.
Test gear: Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul Custom, Dr. Z Z-Lux, Fender Deluxe Reverb