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The North-Star is a new pedal capable of lending itself to a variety of overdriven tones, from country to rock. The overdrive circuit begins with a Drive control which sets the input level and the amount of distortion applied to the signal, which is complimented with a Level control for setting the output to your amplifier. You can tailor the overdrive to match your guitar and amp settings with the Tone control, as well as with a 3-position Range switch that boosts or cuts high frequencies. Additionally, the North-Star includes a Class-A power booster, which provides up to +24dB of clean gain when you need it. The Boost and overdrive functions on the North-Star are engaged via individual footswitches, with the Boost footswitch also activating a built in effects loop to add chorus and delay pedals for soloing. True-bypass switching retains your pristine tone when not in use, using gold-contact sealed relays and heavy-duty 6-pole switches. Please click on the link on the left to download the manual for further details on the North-Star.

Making Connections

Before you connect to the North-Star, make sure to turn your guitar amp down or off to avoid loud turn-on transients that can cause damage to your amplifier. There is no power switch on the device, you simply connect to a 9V supply and the unit will turn on. You can check that it is receiving power by depressing one of the footswitches to see if the LED illuminates. The North-Star does not come with a power supply as most players will use a multi-pedal power brick on their pedalboard. You can use a standard Boss® style 9V adapter for power, with a 2.1mm barrel connector wired for center-pin negative polarity. The power cable can be affixed to the pedal using the cable lock provided, preventing accidental disconnection. Use a hex key to unscrew the cable lock, pass the cable through the cavity, and then retighten.

The Overdrive

Start with the LEVEL and TONE controls at 12 o’clock, and the DRIVE control set to 9 o’clock. Next, turn your amp on and the volume up, and depress the DRIVE footswitch. Test out different settings on the LEVEL control to get an idea of the range of the overdrive, as it can provide a lot of gain to your signal. Now you can experiment with the TONE and DRIVE settings. The TONE control will add more high frequency content as you turn it clockwise. All three of these controls interact, so increasing the DRIVE will also increase the overall output level.

The Range

The 3-position RANGE switch has three settings: Low, Normal, and High. This will adjust the high frequency output of the overdrive, allowing you to compensate for overly bright or dark amplifiers. Use in conjunction with the TONE control to fine tune your sound.

Close-up of range switch

The Booster

Start with the BOOST level down at 7 o'clock. Turn off the overdrive, engage the BOOST footswitch, and listen as you increase the volume. You can use the BOOST function for high-output soloing, or to push the front end of your amp harder. When the BOOST is activated, it will also engage the effects loop, bringing your effects pedals into the signal chain after the overdrive section and before the BOOST.

The Effects Loop

The built-in effects loop allows you to connect a series of pedals that are brought into the signal chain when you engage the BOOST footswitch. This allows you to simultaneously activate the Booster and a delay or chorus pedal, giving you a more streamlined and professional transition for soloing. The effects loop employs standard ¼" guitar cable connections.

You can also use the effects loop in other creative ways:

Connecting a tuner

You can connect a tuner to the effects SEND jack and when the BOOST is engaged it will shut off the signal going to the amp, for quiet on-stage tuning.

Use the boost switch for silent on-stage tuning

Connecting a second amp

You can also connect a second guitar amp using the effects send; however, as this output is not isolated, you may experience a ground loop. To minimize the possibility of noise, make sure both amps are connected to the same electrical circuit using a power bar. Also make sure both amps have a proper U-ground attached for safety.

Use the boost switch to solo through a second amp

Connecting a second guitar

You can connect a second guitar to the North-Star by using the effects RETURN jack. This will bypass the overdrive circuit and feed directly into the Booster when activated.

Switch guitars so one uses the drive circuit and the other employs the booster