Ibanez's new effects pedal is definitely not another Tube Screamer. It's also quite a surprise, arriving alongside a slew of new guitar models; the new Pentatone Preamp is going heavy on parameters with a packed fascia of controls to bring a wide range of gain-shaping options.
Three toggle switches, 12 rotary controls and a five-band EQ mean this thing goes deep. But it's important to say early on that it's a distortion preamp pedal, rather than an overdrive, with plenty of gain on tap, and a post-boost control that can offer additional saturation by turning clockwise or take it out anti-clockwise. And that's just scratching the surface.
The passive bass and treble controls allow for subtle shaping alongside the active parametric five-band graphic EQ (with LED lighting). A bright switch can be used to enhance the top end of your tone, while the two footswitches control the preamp bypass and the aforementioned post-boost.
A built-in noise gate also offers peace of mind when the gain gets spicy.
At £179 / $249 it's cheaper than we were expecting for what looks to be quite a Mesa/Boogie-flavoured experience from a big name. It's clearly one that will require time investment, but by the same measure, once you find your sound it could well be a set and forget – or at least ballpark – affair with the settings.
The 9V current draw here is 110mA and the Pentatone Preamp will be shipping in February.