Best Guitar Preamp Pedals 2021

JHS Pedals Colour Box V2 Preamp Guitar Effects Pedal (CBOXV2)

JHS Pedals Colour Box V2 Preamp Guitar Effects Pedal (CBOXV2)
  • A full-fledged studio-grade preamplifier, EQ, and distortion generator with multi-instrument and microphone compatibility
  • The Gain section controls the overall volume of the unit, the amount of gain between the two internal gain stages, and the gain of each preamp stage...
  • Using the new Hi/Lo switch, get ultra clean sounds without breakup when distortion is not needed or achieve a broad spectrum of overdrive, distortion,...

JHS Effects pedal preamps have a sizable fan base, indicating that the company’s unconventional approach is well received. The predecessor, the extremely popular flagship Colour Box, was a smash hit thanks to its unique ability to imitate the NEVE 1073 preamp with two circuits in series.

Guitarists, vocalists, and other musicians that desire complete control over their amplified tone should use the Colour Box V2. Despite its comprehensive onboard controls, the pedal is extremely simple to operate, so you don’t need a lot of experience with effects pedals to get the most out of it.

The Colour Box V2 is a studio-quality preamp and EQ pedal that can be used on a wide range of instruments. It paints the sound with an unmistakable richness, whether used as a DI on an acoustic guitar or as a voice mic to fatten your tone. The V2 features a new parametric EQ component as well as a Hi/Lo Gain mode, making it a joy to use as a guitar preamp pedal.

You may move from pristine clean to console fuzz and a wide range of driving and distortion tones with the five-step gain settings. It also doubles as a top-shelf DI when the situation calls for it, thanks to Lundahl transformers. On the front panel of the stompbox, there are three rows of three knobs (9 total). Each band lets you focus on a certain frequency range while giving you complete control over the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. As a result, the tone sculpting options are unrivaled, particularly if you prefer a tone that emulates the ‘direct-in’ sound.

If you appreciate the guitar tones on the Beatles’ White Album or musicians like Wilco, the JHS Effects Colour Box V2 is for you. Unlike its competitors, the V2 comes close to the tones you get when you put your guitar directly into the mixing desk’s preamp, i.e. without an amp. It does have a tiny learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before and is something you could get used to. JHS Pedals Colour Box V2 is the Best Guitar Preamp Pedals.

Jim Dunlop EP101 Echoplex Preamp

The Dunlop EP101 Echoplex Preamp is more than simply a preamp/gain boost pedal. The EP101 is based on the iconic Echoplex EP-3 preamp stage, which has been utilized by legends such as Eddie Van Halen and Eric Johnson. For most of the gain range, you get a bright boost, and guitarists adore the warm overdrive you get when you really crank the gain. We understand that your guitar tone occasionally needs a little something extra that typical tone-shaping equipment can’t deliver, and we highly recommend the Dunlop EP101 Echoplex Preamp for that.

The MXR range of classic pedals is the most well-known product of Jim Dunlop’s namesake brand. The Echoplex Guitar Preamp is inspired by the famous Echoplex unit in this case. The Echoplex preamp pedal recreates such sounds, which were popularized by Jimmy Page, Duane Allman, and Eddie van Halen, and condenses the driving system into a small, easy-to-use pedal.

The Echolplex, like many other preamps and boost pedals, tightens up the bass end of your sound. It also amplifies the middle and treble frequencies for a vintage lead guitar sound. It’s basic and straightforward to operate, with only one knob to control the gain. It’s ideal for live situations where you need to quickly dial in the proper tone.

It won’t become too dirty on its own, but it’s powerful enough to meet most guitarists’ daily needs with 11db of boost and cut. This could be the only boost and drive pedal you need on your board if you play clean or lightly overdriven guitar genres.


  • Contains 12 independent preamp channels with intuitive, familiar switching controls
  • Pre/Post BOOSTER and adjustable Pre/Post noise gates for each channel
  • TONE CAPTURE for sampling your real amplifiers tonal characteristics and creating new digital preamp models

If you want to take things a step further and customize your tone, the Mooer PreAMP Live is the way to go. It’s a fantastic pedalboard-friendly and budget-friendly preamp with a slew of features.

For years, Mooer has shook up the pedal industry with their amazing micro-sized clones. They provide a ‘game-changing’ digital preamp with the PreAMP Live that has outdone the competition. It has a 3-band and 12-channel workflow, as well as MIDI compatibility, full bypass, USB cable PC connectivity, and Bluetooth connectivity via the Mooer app.

Mooer gives nothing to the imagination with its vast array of amps, cabs, features, and settings. The M999 has 50 tube amp copies, 30 cab simulations with third-party IRs, and a preamp App and software. It’s made to meet all of the demands of a touring musician.

The 12 totally customisable amps are exact replicas of well-known tube amps. You can choose from pristine Fender tones to Brit-grit to Mesa tones, all of which can be paired with equally powerful cabs. The M999 is ideal for high-gain tones, especially when combined with the pre/post noise gate to reduce hiss.

By connecting any amp to the independent speaker cab simulators, you can unleash a torrent of sound. Other notable features include tone capture and press-down pre/post-boost in a machine that is jam-packed with innovation and possibilities.

After all, it’s a cutting-edge preamp for today’s tech-savvy and tone-hungry musician. The proportions are rather substantial at 230 x 130 x 46mm (L x W x H). The 600mA power usage is the same. Despite this, it has a ton of features per square inch. If you don’t have enough room on your pedalboard, the M999 can still be used as a backup for a Kemper-style rig while on the road.

Mooer manages to develop a large pedal with more models and effects than any of its competitors with the PreAMP Live. This is a complete pedal with a basic display that hides the software’s limitless modifying options. However, there is a significant learning curve involved. It provides the required quality at a fair price if you enjoy diversity.

EarthQuaker Devices Arrows V2 Preamp Booster Guitar Effects Pedal

EarthQuaker Devices Arrows V2 Preamp Booster Guitar Effects Pedal
  • Features a new enclosure, all-discrete analog ciruitry, top-mounted jacks, and silent relay-based switching
  • Designed for adding an additional channel of gain to your dirt pedals and brightening up neck pickups
  • Boosts midrange, tightens up low ends and makes top ends shine while driving your dirt into blooming sustain with excellent harmonics

If you’re looking for the easiest-to-use preamp pedal on the planet, I recommend EarthQuaker Devices’ Arrows V2 Preamp Booster Pedal. This true bypass soft switching preamp booster pedal includes a single Level knob and a footswitch.

The Arrows V2 is a fantastic preamplifier and booster pedal that can take you from clean to boosted tones. With the Arrows V2’s simple single knob, you can improve your definition and enhance your signal into the remainder of your chain.

To tighten up bass, increase mids, and provide superb clean tones, turn the knob clockwise. This redesigned version has a number of benefits, including top-mounted cable jacks and silent relay-based switching for improved comfort and durability. Arrows V2 is ideal for individuals looking for a gain booster or a harmonic enhancer that can be set and forget.

This is the one for you if you don’t need fancy features and only need a preamp pedal for its most basic purposes. It has no adjustable effects and only a level dial, making it perfect for novices without sacrificing usefulness. It is incredibly inexpensive and wonderfully compact due to its lack of fancy features. Place it next to your other pedals for a sound that features a boosted middle, rich and tight bottom frequencies, and crisp treble.

The EarthQuaker Devices Arrows V2 is a fantastic Preamp Booster Pedal that features a new soft and silent switching technology, True Bypass soft switching, and is handbuilt for life by EarthQuaker Devices’ pedal geniuses. This small marvel will allow you to increase gain and definition while enjoying bass, boosting mids, and adding a lot of shine.

Xotic BB Preamp V 1.5 Pedal

Xotic BB Preamp V 1.5 Pedal
  • Overdrive/Preamp Effects Pedal with Active 2-band EQ
  • Gain and Volume Controls
  • True Bypass

The Xotic Effects BB Preamp Pedal V 1.5 is an improved version of the popular BB Preamp Pedal. The BB uses a pre-gain stage to go from a very pure clean to a very smooth, compressed, overdriven sound, just like its predecessor.

The flagship BB Preamp was designed to replicate the classic Marshall Bluesbreaker tone that we discussed briefly in our Eric Clapton and the Woman Tone article. It’s a superb pedal preamp with overdrive that’s reminiscent of early blues and rock music’s subtle, distorted roughness.

When used with an overdriven amplifier, the V1.5 excels as a guitar preamp pedal and may also be used for that extra kick. If you’re concerned about size, the v1.5 has the smallest footprint of the pedals we’ve featured. It can also function without the use of electricity (using only the 9V battery). Regardless, it can give your tone a lot of volume and fullness.

The 4-knob control panel, which comprises Volume, Gain, Treble, and Bass, helps with the majority of the tone-sculpting. The BB Preamp is a versatile resource that can be used as a preamp, clean drive, or post-dirt volume boost in any signal chain, offering a touch of grit to gnarly hot-rod distortion tones.

Xotic’s BB Preamp v1.5 is a “easy button” for a superb tone, with crunch on tap and a 30dB boost. The BB Pre can play a variety of roles, from pure transparent tones to hefty overdrive, making it a highly flexible pedal. In comparison to the rest, our ‘Budget Pick’ is usually a simpler and more economical option. Despite its low price, this one is every bit as genuine as the others.

Two Notes Le Lead 2-Channel Hi-Gain Tube Preamp Pedal

Two Notes Le Lead 2-Channel Hi-Gain Tube Preamp Pedal
  • 2-channel Tube Preamp Pedal with Cabinet Simulation
  • Headphone Output
  • 2 Footswitches

Two Points to Consider At its core, Le Lead is a dual-channel tube-driven pedal preamp that comes the closest to putting your rig on the floor. The two completely switchable independent preamps and a myriad of modern high-gain amp tones are the most notable features of this feature-rich, dual-channel pedal. Le Clean has analog circuitry and extensive onboard I/O capabilities, making it compatible with any electric guitar setup.

Preamp A and Preamp B are the two options available. The A and B channels have their own voicing and EQ and are totally self-contained. Clean tones and touch-responsive playing are voiced for Channel A, which simulates the sense of a guitar interacting with a real tube amp. The B-mode has a post-EQ with mid-sweep and is tight and gritty with focused lows. The fuzz, furious distortion, and high-gain tones it can produce will appeal to djent and metal players.

Aside from that, Le Lead has three more functions: a) direct connection to an amp via the ‘Thru Jack,’ b) direct connection to the board, and c) control of external devices via the MIDI in/out. The Wall of Sound III speaker simulation VST plugin adds to the pedal’s capabilities. There are 16 cabinets in the free version, including several well-known British and American brands.

After auditioning the cabs, you can purchase them via in-app purchase. The free amps, on the other hand, provide plenty of alternatives for great computer and studio recordings. Le Lead is a very capable floor-rig that doesn’t encroach on your playing habits, regardless of function or setup.

Two Tone’s Le Lead is a beast in a box if you want a high-gain tube preamp in a cutting-edge pedal. In all of its stage and studio uses, this 2-channel pedal is versatile, durable, and impressive. It’s perfect for practice sessions because it has a cab simulation and a headphone out. It’s a great choice for anyone looking to imitate cab tones, utilize it as a backup amp, or greatly broaden their tone-shaping options with an easy-to-use, great-sounding preamp pedal.