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Stages

Overdrive
$
$
The Shift Line Stages is an overdrive with an excellent dynamic range and deep tone-shaping capabilities. If you're looking for a pedal with a meticulous response to your playing and great control over the tonal balance, the Stages is for you.

The Stages was primarily designed for use with electric guitar, but you can certainly run other instruments through it as well. For instance, the pedal works really well with bass (even despite the lack of wet/dry mix control).

The Stages isn't yet another "amp in a box", nor is it based on a classic design with a few tweaks.

Instead, the Stages combines the best of both worlds when it comes to tube- and transistor-based gear, offering a harmonically rich sound with great dynamic response. The flexible EQ section and the switchable number of gain stages allow you to shape the sound exactly how you want it to be, while the wide gain range lets you go all the way from clean boost to thick overdrive. The pedal wasn't designed to be a high-gain monster — but it works great with other drive pedals before it, and it also can push your amp really hard due to all the output volume on tap.

Key Features

  • Fully analog signal path.
  • ±18V internal power (studio gear level) for the best dynamic response.
  • Wide gain range: from clean boost to thick overdrive.
  • 3-band EQ for precise timbre control.
  • Switchable number of gain stages and high-pass filtering for the distorted signal.
  • Compact and lightweight aluminium enclosure with top-mounted jacks to save pedalboard space.


Connections

  • IN
    Is a high-resistance input for a mono signal source (such as electric guitar or any other instrument).
  • OUT
    Is a mono output which connects the pedal to a signal receiver.

    NB: The max output voltage can reach 36Vpp (+24dBu). Set the LEVEL knob to lower values for a start.
  • POWER IN
    Is the power input jack. One of the pedal's key features is its circuit design which retains the dynamics of your playing. No matter if you power the Stages with a 9V or 12V PSU, the power is internally converted to ±18V (bipolar voltage); this allows the gain stages to work in the widest dynamic range possible.

    NB: The Stages has a high current draw. It can malfunction or refuse to turn on if the PSU isn't powerful enough.


Controls

  • STG
    The STG switch that selects the number of gain stages. This control has the biggest impact on the sound: it determines the pedal's overall sonic character and its response to the incoming signal. The amount of harmonics in the resulting signal is also influenced by the GAIN knob position. The STG switch has three positions:
    • UP: The maximum number of gain stages. The highly saturated signal is colored by filtering.
    • MIDDLE: One fewer gain stage and a different filter character. The sound is more "open", while the harmonics reside in a different part of the frequency spectrum.
    • DOWN: The smallest number of gain stages. This results in the least amount of harmonic distortion and the most prominent dynamic response.
  • HPF
    The HPF switch controls the amount of low frequencies in the amplification chain. Just like the STG switch, this one also has a significant impact on the tone and character of the overdriven signal, but it only affects the lower part of the spectrum. The HPF switch has three positions:
    • UP: The low cut is minimal. In this mode, the pedal's frequency range is 25 to 16000Hz.
    • MIDDLE: The largest amount of low cut. The mild filter set at 400Hz boosts the harmonics in the mid and high frequencies. This mode works great for mid- and/or top-boost applications.
    • DOWN: A moderate amount of low cut. The filter set at 200Hz boosts even harmonics in the mids. This mode works best for classic overdrive sounds.
    The mild filtering occurs before the gain stages which introduce harmonic distortion. As a result, the actual amount of low cut is quite small, which allows the pedal to work very well with downtuned instruments. Additionally, the EQ can compensate even for the largest amount of low cut.
  • GAIN
    The GAIN knob controls the amplification of the input signal and the amount of harmonic distortion in it. Depending on the STG switch position, the GAIN knob can get the sound all the way from almost clean to highly saturated. It's worth noting that in the final 10% of the GAIN knob range, the gain is boosted and harsher distortion is introduced (regardless of the STG switch position).
  • BASS, MIDDLE, TREBLE
    The BASS, MIDDLE and TREBLE knobs constitute the 3-band EQ section.
    • The BASS knob controls a focused "bell" at the 80Hz mark with a 13dB range.
    • The MIDDLE knob controls a mild "bell" in the 600 – 800Hz range. This control affects both the mids and the gain texture.
    • The TREBLE knob is a mild "shelf" set at 10kHz with an 11dB range.
    The MIDDLE and TREBLE knobs have wide ranges of effect. Each of the two knobs is affected by the other's position.
  • LEVEL
    The LEVEL knob controls the output signal volume at the OUT jack. The pedal has a lot of output volume available, so it's recommended to initially set all controls to neutral positions (12 o'clock for the knobs, middle position for the switches). Max output voltage can reach 36Vpp (+24dBu).
  • FOOTSWITCH
    The FOOTSWITCH turns the effect on or off. When the pedal is engaged, the LED glows white. The pedal uses true bypass.

VIDEO GALLERY


Starter Settings

Despite the simplicity of its controls, the Stages offers a wide sonic palette. We've designed four reliable settings to get you started.
The Stages aims to preserve your instrument's character as much as possible. The audio examples below will give you a general impression of the effect, but the end result will depend on the instrument you use.

Specifications

  • IN: 6.3mm, mono, unbalanced, 500kOhm input resistance.
  • OUT: 6.3mm, mono, unbalanced, 100Ohm output resistance. Max output voltage can reach 36Vpp (+24dBu).
  • POWER IN: 9V DC 180mA or 12V DC 140mA, negative tip, 2.1/5.5mm. The pedal has no battery slot. Use a regulated PSU only. NB: The Stages has a high current draw. It can malfunction or refuse to turn on if the PSU isn't powerful enough.
  • Dimensions (LхWхH): 108x68x55mm (4.25x2.7x2.2").
  • Weight: 310g (0.68lbs).

PHOTO GALLERY