CMOS overdrives: EHX Hot tubes / Darkglass B3K?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by dnp41, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. dnp41


    May 10, 2016
    I see that both the EHX Hot Tubes and the Darkglass B3K mention that they are CMOS overdrives. Do they sound very similar? I found no demo's comparing the drives.
  2. onda'bass

    onda'bass Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    Buffalo Ny
    for one thing that is not a bass pedal, Bk3 most definitely is.
  3. dnp41


    May 10, 2016
    Yes the B3K is marketed towards the bass player and the hot tubes towards guitar. I'm just wondering if they are in the same ballpark, and if for instance the Hot Wax (hot tubes + crayon + blend) will get you in the same territory as the B3K
  4. 2010P

    2010P Inactive

    May 13, 2017
    They sound absolutely nothing alike and neither pedal will get into eachothers territory.
    K-2 likes this.
  5. I would think there are significant differences given the design objectives. I can say that the EHX Hot Tubes is outstanding on bass as a low gain warmer up through a really saturated drive and the tone bypass adds a lot of versatility if you add an EQ before or after. Sounds really quite nice on guitar and keys too. Plus the price is very nice.
  6. BurtMacklinFBI

    BurtMacklinFBI Degen from Up-Country

    Apr 3, 2018
    They don't sound anything alike IMO. The Hot Tubes isn't a bad pedal, but if it interests you I suggest checking out the Hot Wax; it has a Hot Tubes and a Crayon on the same pedal with a clean blend. It still won't sound like a b3k, but it will sound good.

    Edit: Doh, you're already thinking about the Hot Wax. Derp.
    K-2 and Rollin Thunder like this.
  7. Rollin Thunder

    Rollin Thunder

    Mar 20, 2017
    The hotwax is an outstanding pedal and the low price makes it even better, I bought one on a chance/impulse buy, and it's great such versatility. And it works very well on bass as well as guitar, and you only really need the blend on higher end gain settings or when both used in sequence. Think the hotwax is the most underrated pedal around, just because it does not say "for bass" on the box.
  8. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    I owned the Hot Tubes and there is no setting on it that sounds like "low gain warm up." The left half of the gain knob sounds like it doesn't do anything to your signal at all. Once you hit noon it turns into a distortion and takes off from there. It's a useless pedal for someone looking for low gain or subtle overdrive.
  9. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    I disagree 110% with Mr. matante and use the Hot Tubes as a slight warming OD right up to a almost-fuzz. As well, it's excellent to boost into a distortion. I have mine before a BBM and a Pork Loin and it's very nice used to push those louder and hotter.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I think thay really depends on two things.

    1) Input signal strength. Whether it's the outout of your pickups, your bass volume knob, or how hard or gently you play, the strength of your input signal will greatly affect how any drive performs. I am able to get any drive (other than those designed to get nasty out of the gate) to ve a "warmer". But I might have to tweek some things on the front end to get it there. I have even had great success using a Team Awesome Fuzz Machine as a mild drive pedal.

    2) What YOU call "warm". That's subjective.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
    SwitchGear and giacomobass like this.
  11. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    I'll put it this way. Plug in a passive PJ bass and you will find that the gain knob does NOTHING. ZERO to the sound of your bass (other than make it louder) from minimum to 12 o' clock. That's not something to do with your bass or playing style. When I received mine I thought it was defective but then I looked up demos on the internet and they show the same thing. "Warm" is subjective but "something" and "nothing" are objective. I can get a subtle drive from a Tube Screamer or a Boss overdrive (not the bass model) by simply keeping the gain knob at or below 9 o'clock. By the time a Hot Tubes actually does something it sounds like other pedals at 1 o'clock.
  12. Lotsa other pedals have the same CMOS chip that's in those two pedals...

    Kinda like how lotsa cars have 4 wheels, but their design differs slightly.

    You can drive a Ferrari F-40 or a Ford F100... :woot:

    Kinda like how you can drive a Way Huge Red Llama or a Dwarfcraft Robot Devil. :laugh:

    I know I know... Those are extreme examples. Comparing similar CMOS ODs is a reasonable and noble pursuit, more akin to comparing a Fiat 500L to a Ford Focus.

    The thread just got me thinking of all the different pedals that use that same chip, 4049UBE...

    I've never had chance to play through a Hot Tubes, just the B3K and a Red Llama. Saab-Pontiac comparisons anyone? :wacky:
    dnp41 likes this.
  13. Not that I should need to defend or debate my opinion but.. As with any opinion there is always a bit of YMMV or your experience may vary, for any of a number of reasons. Bass, playing style(s), reference point, reference speaker all may be reasons we have a different opinion. My bass is an 1982 Carvin LB50 with high output passive humbuckers that have a very flat output, not naturally scooped like Fender style pickups. I generally play pizzicato but also use plectrm, thumb slap and pop. I am a studio musician and engineer for recording and mixing. My reference equipment is both a bass amp and also my recording studio where I am able to hear nuances of sound beyond the capabilities of most bass amps.
    giacomobass and matante like this.
  14. Zon master

    Zon master

    May 10, 2017
    CMOS(fet). IIRC, Produces a type of light distortion to emulate tubes and clipping without diodes. I haven't tried the Hot Tubes but I've heard bassists using them just fine. There are a few 7-str guitar players in my area that think darkglass pedals sound better for guitar than most guitar specific pedals do. Meaning, as mentioned above, there are lot of variable factors that can affect the overall result.
  15. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    I've done a comparison between my darkglass vmt and the ehx hot wax. and I would say the crayon side sounds very similar to the vmt. I even once experimented my vmt with the crayon side of the hot wax and got a smooth distorted bass sound that's not over the top but heavy enough for hard rock and heavy metal music.
  16. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    I get what you're saying, my experience with the Hot Tubes was similar. The Hot Wax however was way more flexible. Definitely able to get warm OD, not near as touchy as the HT.