Guitar Player Magazine, November 2005

STOMPBOX FEVER – MAXON CP-9 PRO+ AND PT-9 PRO+

Fans of classic pedals know Maxon as the Japan-only brand of the Nisshin Corporation, from which the first great Ibanez stompboxes evolved in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Our review samples are newcomers to the 9-Series, and they are entirely new designs with true bypass switching and 18-volt circuits (for added headroom and reduced noise). A voltage doubling circuit allows the pedals to run on either a single 9-volt battery or standard center-negative adaptor input. Both pedals eat batteries, so use of an adaptor is recommended.

MAXON CP-9 PRO+ COMPRESSOR

The CP-9 Pro+ ($300 Retail, $225 Street) boasts a circuit patented by the legendary studio gear manufacturer DBX, and this compression pedal indeed produces a lot more clarity, linearity, and dynamics than most of its ilk. I was able to cop anything from a smooth, springy, chicken-pickin’ squash to a ringing indie jangle with little trouble, and advancing Gain to about 20 with Threshold at -30 and Ratio at 4:1, I could even emulate a spongy, tactile blues sound reminiscent of a small tweed amp pushed hard. Full limiting works smoothly, and at 1:1, you can use the unit’s 30 dB of available Gain as a clean boost. While the CP-9 Pro+ is more open and linear than most comps I’ve tried, it definitely adds a welcome degree of sweetness and thickness to your tone. It also has the lowest operational noise of any comp pedal I can recall - Excellent stuff. Its only drawbacks are some intermittency in switching when the battery is low, and the fact that you need a firm foot for positive engagement at all times.

KUDOS: Transparent, great sounding, loads of gain
CONCERNS: Heavy foot required for positive switching

MAXON PT-9 PRO+ PHASER

As analog phaser go, the PT-9 Pro+ ($350 Retail, $262 Street) is of the more potent variety: An LDR (light dependant resistor) based, 10-stage phaser that shares sonic territory with such heavyweights as the MXR Phase 100 and Boss PH-2. The main benefit is a Feedback (or resonance) control – typically found on more advanced phasers – that taps a feedback loop in the circuit to enhance frequency peaks as desired. When nearly cranked, the knob enables a honking, synthetic swoosh that can even approach subtle flanging. Pushed even further, it induces piercing internal oscillation. Used in moderation, with a light touch of Width, the pedal sounds smooth and vocal, with a warm wobble that produces toothsome movement and depth. This circuit always retains a good deal of your guitar’s dynamics, although it certainly stamps its sound all over your tone at anything but the subtlest settings. Also, most of the Speed control’s action happens in the final 20 percent of its travel – a short twist that runs all the way from a Univibe’s slow to fast settings.

KUDOS: Versatile, capable of intense sounds

CONCERNS: Dramatic changes in Speed controls clockwise sweep
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