Posted by
Aug 30, 2019

One of the best aspects of our Stompbox Exhibits is that they allow us to get acquainted with new and often “emerging” boutique pedal brands. At our recent Montreal event Sonic Circuit (co-organized with MUTEK), we hosted a board by Italian builder Dophix, a company that echoes its country’s artistic tradition in the names and graphics of its elegant stompboxes.

Here’s the Dophix board that participated in the event, we registered several positive comments about it from visitors.

Dophix’s most popular stompbox is their Michelangelo drive, a flexible overdrive with silicon, germanium and JFET options and a separate boost circuit.

Like any good work of art, the magic is in the many ways it can be appreciated, and by that standard Dophix’s Michelangelo Overdrive Plus is an ingenious sonic masterpiece. The very soul of this stompbox is in the three-way toggle switch on the right that controls the pedal’s overdrive modes (Ger, Sil, Fet), delivering subtle variations in tone which can be further tweaked by the B (bass) and M (mids) knobs, which allow for significant frequency control and even more tone-shaping options. The Gain2 and Level knobs combine to allow full control over your signal’s saturation, while the Blend knob lets you reintroduce some of the clean signal into the mix, a feature many players have come to appreciate for added clarity and dynamics.

The Boost circuit activates the Boost (output) and optionally also the Pre knob (a preamp placed before the overdrive’s gain) for precise gain stage control, allowing the user to amplify the signal in a range of 0-15 dB each! The behavior of the footswitch can be configured through a three-way toggle switch placed on the left of the front panel called Pre:

With the PRE switch set to the OFF position, the preamplifier will only be activated when the BOOST footswitch is activated. If the PRE switch is in the ON position, the preamplifier will be active regardless of the on / off status of the BOOST footswitch. The preamplifier left on the ON position allows a very precise control of the saturation and attack level of the DRIVE sound, while the OFF position of the PRE selector allows a “more gain” effect hooked up to the activation of the BOOST footswitch.

Overall Dophix has crafted a stompbox fit for serious players looking to ramp up their sound and re-discover the possibilities. Check out the video below for a full audio walkthrough.

Michelangelo combines the dynamism of valve sound with the definition of pedal effect.

The heart of Michelangelo is made entirely of JFET transistors, which characterize a dynamic and warm sound recreating the effect produced by a valve head.

Thanks to the three position switch it is possible to select three distortion modes with silicon, germanium and JFET semiconductors.

The possibility to choose the type of distortion makes Michelangelo extremely flexible, with distortions that offer the whole range from a boost, to light crunch, to overdrive up to a very defined distortion typical of the one produced by a valve head.

Another great feature of Michelangelo is the presence of a preamplifier and an output boost, both separately controllable and activated through a dedicated “BOOST” footswitch.

In fact, there are two independent true bypass footswitches: DRIVE activate/deactivate the drive effect and BOOST activate/deactivate the preamp, the output boost or both. A second toggle switch allows to keep the preamp always active or only in correspondence of the BOOST footswitch on.

The preamplifier acts on the amplitude of the input signal to the amplification and distortion section of Michelangelo. The control is made available through the dedicated PRE knob: in this way a further management of the desired sound is obtained by acting exclusively on the preamplifier.

The PRE level control has an excursion from 0 to 15 dB: PRE at minimum therefore has no effect on the input signal, leaving it unaltered, while PRE at maximum brings the input signal to be amplified by 15 dB before being put into entry to the DRIVE section of Michelangelo.

With the PRE switch set to the OFF position, the preamplifier will only be activated when the BOOST foot switch is activated. If the PRE switch is in the ON position, the preamplifier will be active regardless of the on / off status of the BOOST footswitch. The preamplifier left on the ON position allows a very precise control of the saturation and attack level of the DRIVE sound, while the OFF position of the PRE selector allows a “more gain” effect hooked up to the activation of the BOOST footswitch.

The DRIVE section of Michelangelo has four controls available: GAIN2, LEVEL, B and H.

GAIN2 defines the amount of distortion.

LEVEL the output volume of the DRIVE section.

B and H define the equalization of the distortion with the regulation of the band of low frequencies B and high frequencies H.

The SIL / GER / FET selector acts on the DRIVE section of Michelangelo, modifying its distortion mode.

The BOOST knob adjusts the output boost activated after the BOOST foot switch is activated. The BOOST level control has an excursion from 0 to 15 dB: BOOST at minimum has no effect on the output signal leaving it unchanged with respect to the output level produced by the DRIVE, while BOOST at maximum amplified in a linear way of 15 dB the signal of exit.

Finally, the other great feature made available by Michelangelo is the BLEND control, the let the output signal be a mix of the amount of distorted and clean sound with a complete excursion from completely distorted sound to completely clean sound to a desired mix of two.

The selected components are high quality with integrated circuits and JFET transistors belonging to 70s vintage series.

The compact box allows easy positioning in the pedal board.

External or battery-powered 9V power supply.

LED light on / off status indicator of the DRIVE and BOOST effect in addition to the LED at the base always active