by Mark King
Welcome to my Joyo pedal roundup, I've gone through my inventory and found all of them I own. We'll look at each one and decide if it's good.
Joyo makes a lot of different pedals and while I'd love to try them all, I buy and use the pedals I review and cannot afford to purchase all of them. With that said lets look at the categories I do own.
DISTORTION - Maximum Overdrive, Ultimate Drive, Voodoo Octave
MODULATION - Vision
COMPRESSOR - Dyna Compressor
REVERB - Atmosphere
PREAMP HOUSE, $169.99 from Amazon
I bought this pedal during the Cyber Monday sale for $135. Even at the current price this is an amazing pedal that goes head to head with much more expensive models by Line6, Strymon and Tech 21.
The Preamp House is not inexpensive but when compared to its feature-class peers it makes an attractive alternative to designs costing over twice as much. The Preamp House is a Joyo original design, it's not a clone. The enclosure is thick and nicely formed metal. The paint job is professional, smooth and even. All the knobs and pots feel solid and quality. The footswitches feel solid. Top/rear located audio and power supply jacks are a favorite feature for compact pedalboards.
I love the effects loop on the preamp house, it lets you put ambient effects like the Joyo Atmosphere reverb or a chain of delay pedals right where they should be in the signal path, before the impulse response cabinet simulator and final output stage.
WHAT IS THE PREAMP HOUSE?
This pedal is two, independent, programmable guitar preamplifiers in one box. Channel A is for creating a cleaner sound and Channel B is for making more distorted tones.
This pedal is easy to program, just set the knobs for a channel then press and hold that channels ON-OFF footswitch down for a couple of seconds to store the sound and its settings.
Besides the programable Gain, Bass, Mid, Treble and Volume controls there is a rotary switch that selects among nine different preamp models.
A three-position mini-toggle switch controls the included 4x12 speaker cabinet simulator, impulse response. A full time "Master" volume control is provided so you can stay on top of overall loudness with ease.
This is a mono pedal, just like the output from your electric guitar. On the top/rear it has a guitar input and an output to feed to your live guitar amp. In addition it has an XLR microphone-level output which includes a ground-lift switch. I've run the Preamp House XLR into my Soundcraft mixing console and the level has been perfect. If I played in a church band I'd be using this pedal.
As I mentioned earlier there is a quarter-inch send and return effects loop on the top/rear of the Preamp House pedal. I've tried lots of effects in this loop including a Mooer Radar Impulse Response box, a Joyo reverb, a tremolo, a volume pedal, a loopbox switcher and several more obscure devices. The effects loop is one of my favorite features on this box.
IMPULSE RESPONSE AND XLR OUTPUT
|SWITCH SETS CAB SIMULATOR RESPONSE FUNCTION|
There is a single 4x12 in-built speaker cabinet impulse-response. A three position toggle switch controls how the impulse response is applied. In the left position the IR is ON the XLR and OFF for the 1/4" output jack; this would be good if you're going direct to the PA and using the Preamp House as an effect pedal in front of a Deluxe-Reverb-style amp. In the middle position the IR is completely OFF and out of the signal path. A third position puts the IR on both the XLR and the 1/4" output. This last setting is nice if you plug in direct using the XLR and simultaneously use a full range powered speaker for a monitor. I like the in-built impulse response, it's a great option and 4x12 closed back speaker cabinets are my favorite so it's perfect for me. With adjustment of the EQ controls it is easy to make the included impulse response work. As an alternative to the in-built I.R., plug a Mooer Radar Impulse Response loader in the effects loop of the Preamp House and prepare for some really big sounds.
HOW DOES IT SOUND?
Generally speaking I prefer real tube amps to models but you can't beat modeled guitar amp tones for convenience and the Joyo Preamp House sounds as good as any I've played. I have several Line6 gadgets and the big Kahuna, the Kemper Rack Profiler for comparison of modeling tone and technology. I like all these preamp gadgets when they're used right. The Joyo Preamp house has become a favorite because it sounds so good, it runs on a 9-volt power supply and it's so fast and easy to get to playing my guitar rather than setting stuff up. The clean sound is full and rich, the distorted tones have lots of punch and sustain, it's a satisfying playing experience with a lot of options.
I like devices that are simple to use, easy to adjust and easy to get a great sound. The Preamp House scores a 10 in all these categories. If you like the sound of the Tech 21 Sans Amp modeler I think you'll like the Preamp House. You can't beat the XLR output on the Preamp House for convenience and speedy setup. It does not hum and thanks to the in-built impulse response cabinet simulation the sound is realistic and very similar to what my actual 4x12 speaker cabinets sound like.
PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS
You can set up a clean amp channel on the Preamp House and use a distortion pedal in front of it without the sound getting unpleasant. The clean preamp models on the Joyo interact nicely with external distortion pedals. Keep in mind, the EQ, along with all other preamp settings are programmable so you can store a friendly clean preamp to use with your external effects pedals.
When I first dived into the Preamp House B Channel for playing various distorted tones I went straight for the EVH-3 preamp model. BLASTOFF, I lowered the Master volume, cranked up the Gain knob and the Preamp House provided copius amounts of great crunchy lead tones, mass quantities are there for the asking.
|R SERIES LIGHT EFFECT ON FRONT|
Switching through the preamp models delivers quite a few variations. Do they sound like the actual amps? I own three Mesa Dual Rectifier heads for comparison, the Preamp House gets you in the general ballpark of the Dual Rect distorted lead sound and without the extreme top end fizz a real Rectifier brings along. Even with extreme high gain distortion settings the Preamp House did not turn into a wall of noise, it's a very well behaved pedal.
|R SERIES LIGHT EFFECT ON REAR|
When comparing modeled guitar sounds the most important thing to consider is whether the tones have a place in the music you're creating. I have no problem using the clean and distortion tones produced by the Joyo Preamp House. I think this is a very good pedal.
JOYO PREAMP HOUSE CONCLUSION
IMO this pedal is a winning combination of features, tone and price. It's compact and two programmable pedals in one.
JOYO DISTORTION PEDALS
Joyo markets many different models of distortion pedals. I lump "Overdrive" and "Distortion" into a single group but "Fuzz" is a different effect unto itself. Fuzz is the total mangulation of the guitars sound. Technically fuzz is like if you put your signal in a drink-blender, grind it up thoroughly, then set it on fire or serve it on ice. Tone controls take the sound from hot and wild to smoother mild. The knob labeled "Fuzz" is like the speed control on the drink blender, crank it for more grind. Volume or Level is usually like a master output control.
JOYO R-05 MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, $58.99 from Amazon
The Joyo Maximum Overdrive pedal is a distortion and boost pedal in one enclosure. A single ON-OFF footswitch controls the "Drive" function and a second footswitch labeled "Boost" gives it an extra push over the cliff. Boost does not have effect when the main ON-OFF footswitch is OFF. The Boost LED indicator may be lit but if the main ON-OFF footswitch is OFF you won't hear the boosted signal effect. Overall this is a very high quality distortion pedal, it's one of the "Revolution" series by Joyo.
The "Tone" knob makes the high frequencies less bright as you turn it counter-clockwise. The "Gain" knob cranks up the distortion. "Volume" sets the overall output level when the Drive footswitch is engaged. The knob labeled "Boost" is associated with the footswitch labeled "Boost". Two mini toggle switches are also provided. The left mini switch is three-position and selects "Hard Clip", "Flat Mode" and "Smooth Mode". The two-position switch on the right selects "MOSFET Clipper mode" or "Diode Clipper mode".
For jamming with this pedal I preferred the left mini-toggle set to the middle position and the right mini-toggle set to MOS. With the Gain set high there is a lot of good sounding distortion and drive effect. Even though the sound is distorted it is not completely blurred out and the guitar still retains dynamics.
The Boost effect is somewhat subtle depending on how you have the pedal distorting. With a lot of distortion the Boost is less noticable because the pedal is already very saturated. The Volume knob allows the output from the Maximum Overdrive to be set to match ON and OFF levels.
|R SERIES LIGHT EFFECT ON FRONT SIDE|
Overall I like the Joyo Maximum Overdrive. The packaging is their nicely formed metal enclosure wearing a sporty blue paint job with white nomenclature. The shiney chrome knobs top the pedal off with a touch of class. The Maximum Overdrive only draws 30 mA so it can be powered by a plug-in 9-volt battery or from one of your weakest 100 mA power supply outlets.
|R SERIES LIGHT EFFECT ON REAR|
At first glance I thought Joyo might have taken some ideas from the Fulltone Fulldrive2 pedal because many of the controls are labeled similarly. In actual use I liked the sound of the Joyo much more than my Fulldrive 2. The Joyo is capable of delivering a lot more distortion when maxed out.
At under 60-dollars the Joyo Maximum Overdrive is a winner, it's very good.
JOYO ULTIMATE DRIVE, $34.99 from Amazon
The Joyo Ultimate Drive is similar to other drive pedals in physical design. It has a three-knob layout with a "Gain" control to set the crunch, a "Tone" knob to roll off the high frequencies and a "Level" knob to set the ON-OFF volume to match your performance. A tiny High-Low toggle switch gives you a little extra kick without having to change settings.
The Ultimate Drive can go from agressive to mild depending on the Gain setting. This pedal produces distortion flavored like a Tube Screamer but it's capable of more sizzle. The Ultimate drive is capable of more crunch than either of my Tube Screamers, it can almost mangulate your sound like a fuzz effect. There is a lot of smooth overdrive on tap with this pedal but it can be mean too. It shames a lot of much more expensive overdrive pedals in my stash.
If you already have a Tube Screamer type of overdrive then you may not need the Ultimate. If you're contemplating purchase of a Tube Screamer style of drive then this one might be your next pedal. It's got a great tone, lots of overdrive saturation and it's built in a solid cast aluminum enclosure like pedals costing three or four times the price.
The paint job is nice, the mono input and output jacks are solidly mounted and an industry standard 9-volt DC outlet powers it up.
Is this the Ultimate Drive? It says it is on the surface and after a long afternoon comparing it to my other overdrive pedals it would be an easy one to purchase. The sound and the features are totally pro and the price is very attractive.
I can tell you that there are several overdrive pedals in my stash that would not be here if I'd found the Ultimate Drive sooner. In my opinion the Joyo Ultimate Drive is a very good pedal.
JOYO VOODOO OCTAVE FUZZ, $39.99 from Amazon
I have mixed feelings about the Joyo Voodoo Octave Fuzz pedal, it only sounds good when used on a very limited range of amplifiers. Generally speaking I avoid using this pedal because it's shrill and painful to anyone who still has their high-frequency hearing. Josh from JHS says in one of his videos that the transistor in this pedal is wired wrong and if they changed it then it would really be what they intimate. As it is, it's close. If you play in a Jimi Hendrix cover band and need that screetchy intro tone to "Foxy Lady" well this is your pedal. It does that sound very well.
This is a well built pedal. The green paint is smooth and good, the knobs feel solid, the toggle switch does not feel cheap. The footswitch buttons work well and the ON-OFF button is "True Bypass".
The Voodoo Octave is powered by a standard external 9-volt DC input jack. You can easily run this on a 9-volt 100mA power supply outlet or a plug-in 9-volt battery.
This pedal does not sound good with most amplfiers unless you like shrill and obnoxious sounds in which case this pedal is for you.
It was fun playing my Jackson super strat with a clean boost in front of the Voodoo Octave pedal. In another test the combo of the Joyo Dyna compressor set to a pushed output feeding into the Voodoo Octave produced some fun '60's fuzzy lead tones.
If stange and somewhat uncontrollable buzzy square wave effects are what you crave then give the Joyo Voodoo Ocatve a shot. With a street price of under 40-bucks and this much twisted, mangled distortion on-tap it's a fun way to play on through to the other side.
MODULATION WITH THE JOYO VISION PEDAL, $89.99 from Amazon
The Joyo Vision is two modulation pedals in one enclosure. There is one processor on the left and one on the right. Each of the two modulation sections is capable of different effects and they're switched independently by the two footswitches. You can "Hold" either footswitch to put the associated effect into "Tap Tempo" mode.
In use I set the left side of the Vision to a Tremolo effect and the right side to a Chorus effect. You can use the left and right sides independently or simultaneously. It really is like having two separate modulation pedals in one box.
For inputs and outputs the Vision provides full stereo connections. You can also use it as mono-input to dual-output or as a mono pedal.
The Tremolo effect in this Joyo pedal is as deep and penetrating as the much more expensive Fulltone tremolo (an expensive boutique one-trick pony).
Each channel on the Vision pedal has a Depth/Mix knob, a Control function knob, a speed or rate knob and a rotary selector switch to select from the various modulation models included. Pitch-bending vibrato, phaser, chorus, Temolo, Rotary speaker and chorus are just a few of the modulation models in this pedal.
|R SERIES LIGHTING EFFECT ON FRONT|
On their own individually, the effects in this pedal can be surpassed by much more expensive solutions, but not by much and not in ways normal humans will hear. The clarity and depth of each effect is notable and they're all useable in some obscure musical context.
|R SERIES LIGHTING EFFECT ON REAR|
The Vision was my first Joyo pedal and I was blown away by the quality. The enclosure is nicely formed metal, the paint is great, the silkscreen nomenclature is clear and professional. Overall the construction is excellent quality.
JOYO VISION DUAL-MODULATION PEDAL CONCLUSION
I run this pedal on a 200 mA power supply outlet since it's a digital pedal. This Joyo Vision pedal was such a great performer that it propelled my interest and exploration into other Joyo pedal models. I now own two of these Vision Dual-Modulation pedals, one is a resident on my big studio pedalboard and the other one floats around among various other guitar rigs. You can't beat the features, sound and price of the Joyo Vision.
JOYO DYNA COMPRESSOR PEDAL, $37.99 from Amazon
The Dyna Compressor is a budget priced pedal from Joyo and it's a great effect. When I want to use a compressor pedal with a distortion pedal or distorted amplifier this is the piece I turn to. It's not a crisp clean sounding compressor, it has a unique but subtle distortion flavor of its own that complements distorted guitar. Much of the advertising for this pedal talks about it being a "low noise recreation of the Ross compressor". I never used Ross pedals so I can't comment on that claim. You can definitely spend more and get less, that I do know.
Most compressor pedals have fast attack settings that create a sharp edge to the sound which I don't care for. The Dyna Compressor from Joyo has an Attack knob that softens the attack when set above the 3 o'clock setting. I usually start with the Sustain and Attack full clockwise, then I use the Level knob to set the volume. There is plenty of Level on tap to boost your amp into cruch if you want.
I back off a little Attack and Sustain to sweeten it to match the music I'm working on. It's quick and easy to get this effect dialed in. It's another winning combination of features, tone and price from Joyo.
JOYO ATMOSPHERE REVERB, $89.98 from Amazon
The Atmosphere was the second Joyo product I ever bought. It comes in a nicely folded metal box which resembles the Vision Dual-Modulation pedal construction.
I personally think every pedal should have the current draw printed on the pedal, it's as important as the polarity and voltage for correct pedal function. HOW'S IT SOUND?
When I first received the Joyo Atmosphere I plugged it into the effects loop of my 20-watt Marshall Origin combo amp. Some of the Atmosphere reverb effects sounded a bit too bright to me on this amp.
I moved the Atmosphere to the effects loop of the Joyo Preamp House pedal and found the reverb tones to be much more pleasant sounding, full and natural. I have since used the Joyo Atmosphere in a wide variety of ambient compositions. After spending time tweaking the controls I've found it to be rich and wonderful in tone.
Trails is a function that allows the reverb to either decay naturally when you hit the ON-OFF footswitch or to cease sounding immediately. A small toggle switch selects whether "Trails" is ON or OFF. This is an important feature that I personally like and I'm glad to see a dedicated switch for it rather than a hidden setting. I always choose Trails or Tails to be ON.
The Joyo Atomosphere has my favorite "Shimmer" reverb sound. Shimmer is a higher octave of reverb that almost sounds like a string machine is playing along with you. One day while jamming with Shimmer my girlfriend ran into the studio and asked "what is that sound?". It took me a couple of minutes to figure out what caught her ear, as it turned out it was Shimmer. It's rare for her to have a strong positive reaction about an effect, this was my first clue that Shimmer is a special sound on the Atmosphere pedal.
Several dedicated control knobs are provided. A single rotary switch moves you through the available algorithms. A "Mix" knob lets you blend reverb in with your regular sound. A "Decay" knob adjusts how long the reverb sustains. A mini "Tone" knob adjusts how bright the reverb sounds. The mini "Mod" knob adjusts modulation and timing of cyclical effects modifiers. A "True Bypass" ON-OFF footswitch completes the control feature-set.
The Joyo Atmosphere is mono, with a single input and output on 1/4" jacks. For this range of "R series" effects pedals Joyo has employed a unique lighting system, a rim of translucent plastic allows the blue glow to come off the face and the rear of the pedal. A little toggle switch on the bottom of the pedal allows the lighting effect to be used in three different modes. I like the stock mode which has the front and rear LED glow areas to be "in sync" with the ON-OFF LED controlled by the footswitch. All the extra lighting really helps me notice when Atomosphere is ON.
JOYO ATMOSPHERE CONCLUSION
This pedal is unique, it's not a copy of anything, it's a brand new classic on its own. It delivers rich reverb tone in a beautiful enclosure with great knobs. This is a power-hungry digital pedal so you'll want to plug it into a 9-volt DC power supply with at least 200 mA of current available. I've installed a Joyo Atmosphere on my main studio pedalboard so I have the Shimmer available all the time.
|LARGE BUTTON CAP IS NOT INCLUDED|
I purchased a second one of these pedals to use on other pedalboards because I've come to appreciate the deep tones this pedal is capable of. If it broke or was stolen I'd immediately order a replacement, the Joyo Atmosphere is an amazing reverb. The price is astonishing. If you like reverb buy one of these.
ARE JOYO PEDALS GOOD?
If you've read this far then I'm fairly certain you'll agree based on the features and prices that Joyo pedals are good. They have excellent sound comparable to much more expensive boutique brands, they're very reasonably priced and mine have all been reliable. The Voodoo Octave fuzz pedal is my least favorite tone-wise, maybe someday I'll think of some composition to use it in. All the others are in regular use here, these Joyo pedals are not just good, they're Great!
Good music to all!
This review is copyright January 2021 by Mark King, it's not ok to copy or quote without written permission. Thanks for reading High on Technology.