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Review

Thermion Gasoline and Heartbreaker

Issue #64

Thermion Gasoline and Heartbreaker

Guitar Interactive star rating: 4.5

PROS

Inspiring and transparent tones.

Reasonably priced.

Easy to operate.

Built like a tank.

CONS

No battery operation.

 

Thermion Gasoline and Heartbreaker

MSRP Gasoline (UK) £169

MSRP Heartbreaker (UK) £189


 

SPECS

Handmade

True Bypass

Effect On LED

Input and output: 6.3 mm jack

 

For more information, please visit:

thermion.eu

Manufactured entirely by hand in Albacete, Spain using a careful selection of components and very high-quality standards, Thermion looks to translate the tone of a musicians dream and transport it into a product line away from mere reissue or improvement of classic equipment. Sam Bell reviews the Thermion Gasoline & Heartbreaker.

Thermion is right out of Spain and prides themselves on making some awesome Handmade gear. Today I have the pleasure of looking at two unique pedals which are designed to transform your amp into a different beast entirely. First up we’ll be looking at the Gasoline which is an angry high gain burning saturation machine, then we’ll be diving into the Heartbreaker which is a Blues Beast with a focus on a lower gain transparent sound but still with plenty of options for long sustaining leads. Both of these pedals can also be used directly into your interface using their SE2 technology, you can use these pedals in your DAW with some of Thermions Impulse Responses to get some truly monstrous tones in the comfort of your own studio! Today, however, I’ll be looking at both pedals through a clean valve combo to demonstrate how they would sound on a regular pedal board set up. Let’s get stuck in, first up the Gasoline…

Thermion Gasoline:

 

This pedal is designed to voice that of a boutique high gain amplifier, you can go from crushing hard rock all the way through modern metal tones in the tweaking of a few knobs. And there are a few knobs! The pedal features everything you’d expect from the front panel of a high gain valve amplifier. You have your Level, Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, Presence and Deep (Deep works like Resonance) then you have the option of changing the voicing of the drive by the toggle switch between Modern, Raw and Vintage. Modern gives us more saturation, a slightly tighter low end, pronounced upper mids without too much treble. Raw is like we have opened up the pedal and we’re hearing all the details, it’s aggressive and punches you in the face. Vintage, although not actually vintage sounding, means the pedal gets a bit more of a mid-range hump in the EQ with slightly more sag on the low end. The amount of gain that you can get from this pedal is terrifying, even past mid-way is enough to melt a few faces. The magic really happens when we start tweaking the Treble, Presence and Deep controls. We can really tailor our sound in this area of the pedal, the Deep control helps us add tons of low end to the sound or clean it up depending on what we’re looking for. The pedal is designed to be used with a clean amp, so if you had a Fender Twin for example but wanted to make it sound like some huge stack, using the Deep control helps us add a little bit more depth to the sound, we can also make it sound less nasal this way using the EQ. This, of course, could be different depending on the amp you’re going through! It’s great that these EQ controls are so responsive for this very purpose.

Thermion Heartbreaker:

This pedal has much the same vibe in terms of use as the Gasoline, however, we are focusing in on much more of a classic rock/blues sound, less gain, more mids. This pedal features the same Vintage, Modern and Raw toggle switch as the Gasoline, however, we now have some different options on the Heartbreaker. With this pedals tonal focus being more based on getting a classic British style blues crunch, the gain options are unique. We have our usual Bass, Middle and Treble. But below these controls, we have pre-amp, master and level. The level controls the overall level of the drive pedal, however, we can really dive deep into the pre-amp and master control to stir up a wealth of satisfying crunchy sounds that are inspiring to play through. The Master knob is designed to emulate a valve amps power amp stage being pushed, this results in a more open sound which is harmonically rich, its much cleaner (with lower pre-amp settings) but still sustains and gives a huge amount of body to the tone. The Pre-Amp knob adjusts the pre-amp gain, at higher settings we can get more saturation and drive. Playing the pre-amp and master controls off each other, we can emulate many classic sounds, from all-out sustain to ice pick aggression.

When these controls are combined with the Raw, Vintage and Modern toggle switch we can further shape the EQ and the feel of how the drive pedal responds to our playing.

Conclusion:

Thermion has delivered some serious quality in these pedals, the construction is robust, and I really like the focus on making these pedals as diverse within their specified style fields as possible. If you’re a pedalboard and clean amp kind of player, these are definitely worth checking out as they could really transform your rig.

 

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