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Keeley Electronics: Tone Workstation Review

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

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Have you ever taken your favourite #Tubescreamer type pedal and another overdrive and stacked them, only to find the results underwhelming? Sometimes even when two pedals sound amazing, they just don't match that well and then you've got the difficult decision to make of deciding which should stay on the board, or even buying other pedals to experiment with.

Well one way around this problem is to get hold of a dual overdrive pedal, basically two dirt boxes in one enclosure. This isn't a new concept and there are many out there from the Steve Vai signature multicoloured Jemini, to the Chase Bliss Audio Brothers offering. And they all bring something great to the table and are well worth checking out as the two sides usually complement each other in a very useable way.

The #Keeley Tone Workstation takes this concept a little further however, and does it with aplomb. Not only does it have a Keeley modified TS - the Red Dirt - it's also got the 1962 overdrive, which is based on the famous Blues Breaker. I mean, what more could you want? Well, how about the option of either the Mod+ or Baked Mod on the TS? OK, no problem, just flick a switch. Keeley has been modifying the TS circuit for years and really knows his stuff, and combining this with the British Amp based 1962 side is just inspired.

But, hang on, that's not all! Ever hear of the Keeley Katana clean boost? If you haven't, just Google it. Believe me, it's amazing. Something that John Mayer also agrees with, as it's found on his pedal board and that of plenty of other famous players. It has a reputation of maybe being the best clean boost on the market, and you get this thrown in too! What?! I know, unbelievable right?

But wait, we're still not done. So far we've got the famous Keeley modded TS circuit, the 1962, the Katana clean boost and if these 3 iconic pedals aren't enough for you, how about the Keeley Vintage Style Compressor? This is another iconic pedal in its own right and, like the other featured pedals here, has garnered a cult following of ardent fans who frequently attend gatherings where other pedals are burnt as offerings to the god that is Robert Keeley.....

Ok I made that bit up, but as the rest of this sounds a bit too much like a dream it's easy to get confused.

The Compressor even has the ability to blend in the dry signal along with the compressed to give a 'Manhattan' style compression which is just great as you can maintain all the sustain and 'pop' you want but still retain some dynamics. And if you feel some of your top end has been sacrificed, you can flip a switch and have it returned by some type of weird Voodoo that only the team at Keeley Electronics could have come up with.

So if you want a tone to die for; the option to go from mild, dynamic overdrive all the way to searing lead; the option to push the front end of your amp with a top-quality clean boost; to use a studio quality compressor that can be found on many top artists' boards; this the pedal for you.

In the UK the Katana Clean Boost and the Red Dirt can be bought for £199 at the time of writing, whereas the Tone Workstation costs only £299 and also includes the Compressor and the 1962 Overdrive. It's just a no brainer. An amazing pedal at an incredible price.

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