Harley Benton British TrueTone

Effect Pedal for Electric Guitar

  • Overdrive
  • TrueTone Series
  • Sound controls: Level, voice, drive
  • 3-Band EQ controls: Low, mid, high
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 38 x 87 x 118 mm
  • Operation with 9 V battery: Article number 417473 (not included) or mains adapter: Article number 409939 (not included)
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Audio Examples

 
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  • Blues Off-On
  • Country Off-On
  • Fuzzline Off-On
  • Hazey Off-On
  • Highgain Off-On
  • Indie Off-On
  • Metal Off-On
  • Rock 2 Off-On
  • Rock Off-On
  • Stoner Off-On
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Further Information

Overdrive Yes
Distortion No
Fuzz No
Metal No
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283 Customer Ratings
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By the way, which one's pink?
Dr Bassman, 02.04.2020
Remember two things, should you choose to read this review: 1/ I own five Harley Benton (HB) basses (so I might be a little biased), and 2/ I have a "thing" about "pocket money" guitar effect pedals (i.e., on average, I buy a $20 effects pedal every week, just to "see and hear" if they are any good ~ which they usually are). Hence, when I found myself looking for a guitar preamp (yeah, I'm a guitar playing bassist), and stumbled across a Harley Benton preamp pedal for a mere £27, the product clearly nailed criterion #1 and wasn't pushing criterion #2 very hard either. Simply put, it seemed well worth the risk, although I had tempered my expectations to err on the side of caution and to be somewhat reserved. After all, what can you realistically expect for £27 and, anyhow, being a "British" branded product, is rather demanding of that quintessentially British form of reserved anticipation, right?

Anyhow, when it arrived (quickly as I expect from Thomann), the Brit-Sound pedal was quickly unpacked and placed safely on one of my pedalboards. This simple action, alongside a cursory glance at the product informed me that 1/ it was heavier than expected, implying a durable construction (good old, belt and braces German engineering), 2/ It was pink; yeah, "PINK"; most definitely pink, 3/ There was a latching switch, input and output jacks, each in their standard positions although (IMHO), the 9V DC socket should be on the front of the unit (it isn't, although it is still an appropriate distance from the input jack), and 4/ there are six controls, arranged in two rows of three. Hence, despite being pink and the position of the 9V DC socket, so far so good.

So, moving on to the controls (and by this time having connected my guitar ~ a Standard Variax in analogue mode ~ to the input, and a pair £30 headphones to the output, via a Behringer Xenyx 802 mini mixing desk), I set all six rotary controls to their "noon" positions. This actually sounded very good but, as I don't like "dirt" whilst testing EQ functionality, I turned the "voice" and "drive" controls (on the second row) to their minimum positions (which still sounded fine ~ but much more "clean). Also, as the overall volume seemed somewhat weak, I turned the "level" control (also in the second row) up to full. Sound-wise, everything was still good, so I set about "playing" with the EQ section.

As EQ goes, it's nice and simple; as it should be. It consists of three controls: "low", "mid" and "high", positioned left to right and making up the entire first row (as described above). Now, the way in which I go about testing EQ functionality is simple: I tweak the controls, just a little, one by one and, in so doing, listen carefully for tonal changes. I must admit that I was relieved, more than a little (if I am honest) to find that unlike some other units I could mention, these EQ controls really do what they are supposed to i.e., change the tonal envelope (frequency distribution, etc.). Hence, dialling up the required tone is easy (and might even surprise you in terms of your "optimal" settings). In summary, all good stuff, so time to return to the second row.

As above, the second row consists of three controls: "level", "voice" and "drive" and, again these have already been set to their maximum, minimum and minimum positions respectively. There didn't seem to be any reason to adjust the level, so I moved on to the other two controls. Again, the test is simple: perform a small tweak and listen. Now, I already had a good sound i.e., minimal grit, but altering the "voice" and "drive" controls proved to be as impressive as the EQ section. Simply put, increasing the "voice" setting emulates the sound characteristics that you would encounter by gradually increasing the volume of a valve amp (but in a more controlled manner). Again, this control provides access to a wide range of great sounds. The "drive" control provides an equally impressive range of, well, drive sounds; from elementary grit to full-on overdrive/distortion but, to my mind, falling short of "fuzz", which for me, is a good thing (e.g., I have lots of dirt pedals but no fuzz; yuch!). Simply put, there are lots of sounds, all fit for purpose depending upon what you require. Attaining this sound is akin to a "balancing act" between the "voice" and "drive" settings. It's not difficult and I had several great sounds within a few minutes.

In summary, this is a rather extraordinary little stompbox, especially given the price. I say this based upon yet another simple test: The longer you use it in a single sitting, the better it is. For me, this equated to three hours without a break (not that it seemed like that; I was just having a good time). Hence, highly recommended, even though it is pink. Then again, I have already devised a strategy to get around this quirky characteristic. Simples; buy another model from the HB guitar preamp pedal range. I mean, what's not to like for £27?
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True tone- true that'
09.12.2016
Got exactly what I was expecting.
Don't really see any cons with this pedal, it sound good, the voice control is great, You can even get some fuzz-like tones if you play around with the knobs. Very responsive, actually works pretty fine as an amp simulator - don't have an amp at home? Just plug this thing into your speakers and jam away, it really sounds pretty decent (not like a real amp, mind You, but close enough for fooling around. Anyhow, it isn't quite it's purpose, so complaining would be silly). It gives of a certain mars******esque sound, I find it sounds best with a strat, definitely some Hendrix there. Only "negative" thing that I can think of is that it doesn't have a lot of gain, but then again, I didn't need a high gain pedal in the first place, so I'm happy with what I got, but for those who are looking around for a distortion pedal - maybe go for true tone california, or that extreme metal one, because this one is pretty tame and soft, I guess You could call it "bluesy". Quite dynamic, works well with volume swells. Would recommend.

UPDATE:
I played around with the pedal using different amps, and it is great! The voice control has a lot of scope, and with the right amp it has quite the range. The amount of available gain depends on the position of the voice knob: all the way to the left - Hendrix'ian sound, almost a fuzz, sort of like a fully cranked old-school stack, dirty and fat; at the middle it sounds like a standard 70's rock setup, especially with a Les Paul, a tad to the left - definite Jimmy Page territory; all the way to the right has more gain, and is a smoother, more "concentrated" sound, similar to a more modern mar***** sound - mixed with the right amp and a LP I easily get Metallica tones.

At first when I got this, I was slightly disappointed, but now after I've spent more time exploring the sounds that it provides - it's great! Later on I'll upload a review of this and the Harley Benton ST-62 MN SB, so stay in tune.
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Marshall in a box
Rjones86, 06.04.2017
This pedal is basically 50 years of British amps in one small pink box! It's a lot more than just a distortion pedal.
You can run it like that; at the end of a pedal chain it did a great job of sounding big into a clean Peavey Bandit. It also worked well as an overdrive with the gain and voice settings lowered. I also tried it into the Peavey's Fx send jack so it worked as a preamp - what a great sound! The British Sound works wonderfully into a powerful solid state poweramp and if anything has even more character. The final method I used to test the British Sound was into a PA - again, great results, largely thanks to the built-in speaker simulator. I would happily use this as a gigging backup in case my main amp went down.
In terms of tone, the British Sound emulates the entire history of Marshall amps, right from the early Bluesbreaker and JMP models with their lower gain and woody sounds through to the JCM800 series and the JCM2000 DSL series of amps - the voice control lets you change the type of amp you are emulating and the rest of the controls work as a normal distortion pedal would.
In summary, the amount of voicings and applications this pedal has is really impressive - whether it's as a backup rig or the centre of your live rock sound, for the price it's definitely worth giving it a shot.
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Great pedal, pity UK is out of the EU.
Mick Sanders, 12.01.2021
A WORD OF CAUTION FOR UK BUYERS BEFORE I REVIEW THIS PEDAL!
The price you see is NOT the price you pay. There are extra charges and you won't have a clue what they are until after the pedal or other gear ships. I was charged more than 20% VAT and had a £11.50 handling charge added that I knew nothing about, BE WARNED.
Sounds fantastic into the front of a Grandmeister 36, really lively and adjustable, still experimenting but what a lot of tone and build quality for the money.
My only reservation is where the power socket is on the side, for me it would have been better for the power to be in the Boss position at the front.
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