J Rockett Audio Designs has had another rumble with a Dumble tube amp and after two years of R&D it has released the new and improved Hot Rubber Monkey V2, a compact D-style overdrive pedal that replicates the super-premium drive sounds of a Dumble equipped with an HRM EQ mod.
Spending hours on the workbench trying to engineer a circuit that offers a drive and touch-sensitive feel like an Alexander “Howard” Dumble design is something of a J Rockett specialty. If they're on the money, this could be one way of getting closer to the electric guitar tones of John Mayer, Joe Bonamassa et al without remortgaging it all and going (for) broke.
As the name suggests, the Hot Rubber Monkey V2 is a revision of an already impressive drive pedal, which itself was based on another of JRAD’s Dumble-inspired creations, The Dude.
To recap; The Dude was an overdrive based on Keith Urban’s Dumble Overdrive Special; the Hot Rubber Monkey took this this D-style drive but with the popular Dumble HRM EQ mod, promising more bass and more drive. Now, well, now it’s better, with that HRM EQ mod making some magic happen in the midrange. JRAD describes it as “a very low-mid centric throaty sound where the guitar frequencies live”.
Of course, this is what the original Hot Rubber Monkey did but after two years with a modded Dumble, JRAD says it has been able to capture more of the nuances of the sound. “This pedal, even at lower gain settings, will bloom and feedback making it feel like the real thing,” it says.
Furthermore, all that time spent examining the source gave them the opportunity to source NOS components for the build.
The pedal has controls for Level, Gain, Top End and Midrange. Level and Gain do the jobs you would expect of then. Level controls the overall output of the pedal. Gain dials in the dirt. But they are both in conversation with each other and how you adjust one affects the other.
Expect to find a lot of surprising sweet spots playing around with these. Midrange controls those throaty, low-mid guitar frequencies JRAD was alluding to earlier while Top End allows you to dial in some bite. You should have no trouble cutting through the mix with this.
The good news for blues-rock players is you don’t have to be diming the gain to get the pedal to react. Even when set low, it will “bloom and feedback” as a loud D-Style tube amp would. It’s a bold claim but then those demo clips sure sound nice.
The Hot Rubber Monkey V2 takes 9V DC from a pedalboard power supply and draws 18mA. It is true bypass and it is available now, priced £239/$229. For more details, swing over to J Rockett Audio Designs.