Carl Martin Hydra Boost review

  • £84.99
  • $182
The Hydra Boost: Simple and efficient

MusicRadar Verdict

The most efficient clean boost we've tried.


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    An excellent pedal that is perfect if your solos need an extra hike in volume.


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The problem of ensuring that your carefully crafted solos are loud and proud within the parameters of a full band hasn't really been properly solved. Of course, if you rely on multi-effects units or multi-channel amps for your tone, the chances are that you've already turned the page.

However, if, like an increasing number of players these days, you have two options (clean and dirty, for example) or even just a single channel on your amp, this unassuming little box could be the answer that allows your solos to cut through.

The trick with a clean boost is for it to take the original tone and make it louder without actually adding anything else, and that's exactly the premise behind the recently re-packaged Hydra Boost.

Boasting one chicken-head control, the pedal can add up to 15dB of ultra clean gain that's designed for a hugely efficient hike in signal. The proof of this particular pudding, as ever, is in the eating…


In short it does exactly what it proposes: it makes whatever tone you're using incrementally louder, even ultra-dirty modern high gain tones.

For jazz and country styles it'll prove a godsend, but any player of any style can use the Hydra with ease. It's slightly warmer in tone and ever-so-slightly cheaper than the equally lauded Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive (around £107) too.

With a cool boutique livery and backed up by Carl Martin's consistent quality of construction, there's no reason why you shouldn't go and get one right now.

Simon Bradley is a guitar and especially rock guitar expert who worked for Guitarist magazine and has in the past contributed to world-leading music and guitar titles like MusicRadar (obviously), Guitarist, Guitar World and Louder. What he doesn't know about Brian May's playing and, especially, the Red Special, isn't worth knowing.