Here at Pedals And Effects, we're definitely all about the stuff that comes out of left field, the stuff that subverts your expectations. The Big Trees by Audio Kitchen fits that mold perfectly. When you first look at the thing you think, "wow this pedal is huge" but looks can be deceiving, as it's actually a 2.5 watt Class A tube amp that doubles as a really cool preamp. Bass legend Jonathan Hisckhe, dropped by and gave us at 5 Starr Sound Labs a run down of this very unique piece of equipment.
Based out of England, Audio Kitchen is an all hand-made boutique company that has serviced many an English musician over the years, but have only really started to pick up in the USA. They're big with U2, The Artic Monkeys, Troy from Queens of the Stone Age, and many producers use it for re-amping tracks too. The Big Trees can be used as a preamp, a boost, a line driver, and it even has a speaker output to plug directly into a cab as an amp.
The Big Trees has a really simple design, a very minimalist chassis with only the necessary knobs, and a switch to determine the outputs from the amp side with gain stages to the effects side. The Big Trees has this really cool cascading "leaves" decoration that actually has a practical use in protecting the tubes that drive it. The Big Trees was built around ECC82 and ECC83 preamp tubes with an EL84 output tube. In keeping with the "trees" theme, bass is labeled as "root" and treble as "branch" and of course gain is gain.
The Big Trees has got a lot of character, the tubes make this effect stand out from the rest. The idea from Audio Kitchen was that The Big Trees was made to be a "recording amp which can be taken on tour." As an effect, The Big Trees adds that perfect amount of warmth and crunch to your signal, and I can totally see how effective it would be as a portable amp. It's super light weight! Peep our video review where I run it with bass and Nick runs it with guitar.
Audio Kitchen is doing some super rad things, in addition to The Big Trees they make a "Small Trees" which is just the clean boost portion of The Big Trees. They also make amps and cabs too show them some love! You can check out their stuff at their website here.
You can find this pedal, and more at Reverb.com!