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The Battery-Free, On-Board,
BOOST and DISTORT circuits for your Guitar or Bass
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Questions & Concerns

Black Ice Boost


How does Black Ice Boost work?

Fundamentally speaking, our Black Ice Boost module works much like a high quality step-up transformer. One example of this type of transformer would be those designed to increase the output of fine, moving coil turntable cartridges. Audiophiles choose the best of these devices for their low self noise and well shielded design - attributes that our Black Ice Boost module also share. 

But that's where the similarity ends - these and other types of audio transformers are generally not compatible with the electromagnetic guitar pickups that we all love and obsess over. That's why we took a significantly different, non-traditional approach when designing our Boost module. And it's why we build them from the ground up, right here in NY. The results are a design that perfectly compliments the unique electromagnetic characteristics of a broad range of guitar and bass pickups. 

  • Fully shielded

  • No active circuit means no self-generated noise

You mention using Black Ice Boost with Strat, Tele and other single coil pickups. Can it be used with other pickup types?

Generally speaking, Black Ice Boost can be used whenever an increase in midrange frequencies, a small reduction of high frequencies and an overall increase in output level is desired.

  • The Partial Boost setting provides these enhancements in moderate amounts, making it also suitable for many low to medium output PAF types, P90s, Jazz bass and other non mid-focused pickups.

  • The Full Boost setting provides a more substantial increase in mids and overall output, and additional high frequency attenuation. While it's perfect for fattening up bright single coils, it may sound too dark with some higher output pickups.


Can Black Ice Boost be used with passive noise canceling, stacked or rail type single coil sized pickups?

Yes, but please note the limitations described above regarding other pickup types.


Can I use it with active pickups or electronics?



I hear the boost working, but it doesn't sound significantly louder.

  • Make sure your guitar's volume controls are turned all the way up. The amount of boost will be reduced at lower volume settings.

  • Set your amp for a cleaner sound. If the amp is distorting, the boost may increase the amount of distortion more than it will increase the output level.

  • Make sure your amplifier (or the first pedal you're plugged into if using pedals) has an input impedance of 1 meg ohm or more. Black Ice Boost is not compatible with devices that have a significantly lower input impedance (mixing boards, powered PA speakers, line level inputs, etc)


The Boost is causing unwanted distortion with my bass amp.

Use the ACTIVE or LOW input on your amplifier if it has one.


It sounds muddy when I use an extra long cable.

Long cables (especially cheap ones) have additional capacitance that will cause high frequency loss. Use a high quality, low capacitance cable of reasonable length (15-20' max).

I've seen a similar product called Black Ice Overdrive. What is it?

The Black Ice Distort was previously called Black Ice Overdrive. It was renamed “Distort” when we introduced our Black Ice Boost. The two products are identical in all respects.


Will Black Ice Distort work with active (battery powered) pickups?

No. Black Ice Distort will not function properly with active pickup systems.


Do I have to use a 250k potentiometer for the Black Ice Distort control?

A 500k pot will also work, but the transition from clean to dirty will not be as gradual when turning the pot.

Black Ice Distort

I don’t hear any distortion.

  • Make sure volume control is turned all the way up.

  • Make sure Black Ice Distort control is set to maximum (fully clockwise or counterclockwise depending on wiring configuration).

  • Make sure pickups are adjusted to proper height as per guitar manufacturers recommendations.

  • Set amplifier for clean sound. Black Ice distortion may be masked by distorted sound generated by amplifier.

  • Play through a guitar amp, not a mixer, PA, etc. with a line-level input. Line-level inputs are typically low impedance and not compatible with Black Ice Distort.

  • Note that gently played passages and single notes may not cause the Black Ice circuit to distort.


The volume drops slightly when I dial in maximum Black Ice Distort.

  • High output pickups may cause this to happen, especially with Industrial Strength and Hot wiring options. Turn down Black Ice control slightly, make sure pickups aren’t too close to strings or choose less aggressive wiring option (Polite or Warm).



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