My first 3 words are – Oh. My. God. Mike Congilosi over at Lightning Boy Audio sent over the Thunder Knob – which is their latest release. It’s a new design based on their Lightning Boy II, which I talked about not too long ago. I like the that it’s still the one knob high voltage tube (12AX7) overdrive, but he made some great improvements. Primarily, he changed the power supply to be 9V which is then boosted internally to 190V. The other addition is the ‘Thunder’ switch.
The Thunder Switch almost reminds of of a ‘focus’ knob on some amps. Things become more present and thicker/fatter. I was having trouble determining if I like it on or off the best.. that’s a good problem. Both sound great.
What I really liked about the Thunder Knob is the lighter drive setting. Setting it around 9 o’clock, you’ll get a nice medium grit hair, but with some great natural tube ‘squish’ when you hammer the strings. I really enjoyed how the pedal naturally reacted to how hard you’re playing. Cranking the knob obviously gives you your more dirt to the signal, but the clarity remains.
The Thunder Knob sounds great as a light overdrive, and would be a monster as a lead boost. I was also having some fun pairing this with pedals after it, driving those pedals. Again, he knocked it out of the park on this one.
This is the official description of the Lightning Boy Audio Thunder Knob
Lightning Boy Audio – Thunder Knob
The Thunder Knob is a new design, which is a huge evolutionary step from its predecessor, the Lightning Boy II. The most significant advancement is the Thunder Knob is 9v DC powered. Everyone wanted us to make a 9v powered pedal, while still being high voltage inside. It took a bit for us to figure it out, but here it is! The Thunder Knob boosts 9v DC to 190v DC (+/- 10%) internally thanks to our proprietary low noise DC to DC voltage booster. Any standard 9v pedal adapter will work if it can output at least 350mA of current.
A really cool new feature is the Thunder switch. This switch toggles between “Normal” which is a mellow tone and a mild degree of distortion (think early stage of break up from a tube amp) and “Thunder,” which offers increased distortion, treble, and volume. Plus, when “Thunder” is engaged the Lightning Boy logo lights up!
The Thunder Knob offers very low noise, quiet true bypass switching, plenty of gain, and the inspiring Lightning Boy sound our fans have come to love.
- 12AX7 vacuum tube pedal. All-tube audio path – no transistors or IC’s.
- NOS paper-in-oil capacitors in audio path for silky smooth tone.
- Hand wired point-to-point audio path – just like a vintage tube amp!
- One big knob for volume.
- Thunder switch toggles between two different modes of gain and tone.
- True bypass with quiet switching.
- Designed and assembled in the USA.
Check out this great video showing you what the Thunder Knob is all about:
The Lightning Boy Audio Thunder Knob is available for only $189 (stock – additional tube upgrades are available with a slightly higher price point) via Lightning Boy Audio’s webstore.