British Engineering meets Tone
Fusing the Obsession of Sound with British Electronic Design
Established 2012 in Cambridgeshire in the UK, Hamstead Soundworks builds on the decades of experience of its founder Peter Hamstead. Peter brings a fresh approach to amps and pedals, having a background in avionics and radar, as well as many years in electronic design and development. His varied career boasts an impressive CV with projects ranging from audio switching systems to non-destructive testing equipment for the supersonic airliner, Concorde.
Now well respected for their boutique amplifiers and effects pedals, the company was born out of the fusion of two obsessions – electronic design and tone.
But Hamstead not only accommodate players that prefer old-school boutique amplifiers. On top of their all-tube amps and fantastic vintage-voiced cabinets, they offer a range of supremely versatile effects pedals offering only the best tones.
The Odyssey Intergalactic Driver encompasses a myriad of features such multiple Overdrive voicings, a 2 Band EQ and multiple clipping options, creating possibly the most versatile analogue drive pedal ever made. Subspace takes this versatility and optimises it further for lower frequencies such as bass and extended range guitars. From a clean boost to thick and heavy distorted tones that are ideal for hard rock and even metal, you will find what you are looking for in these tone champions.
Signature takes their gorgeous renowned analogue tremolo circuit out of the Artist Series amplifiers and packs it into a pedal format, while Zenith brings incredible fidelity and ease of use for Compression and Equalization duties as ‘The Ultimate Tone Shaper’ for your pedalboard.
Building their products in the UK, Hamstead Soundworks take great pride in their products’ quality and manufacturing precision. Their unique approach to amp and pedals – to design and engineer not for the sake of it, but because they believe there is to be a better way to do things – is reflected in each of their incredible creations.
Artist Series Amplification
It all began with a friend and colleague of Peter who asked him to replicate one of his old and cherished amps – a modded mess of tacked on parts, but one that sounded truly amazing. Peter went one step further and made it even better. This collaboration served as the foundation for Hamstead Soundworks and inspired their flagship Artist 20+RT and Artist 60+RT series of amplifiers.
Heralded by many pro players and industry leaders alike as the ultimate pedal platform, Hamstead’s Artist Series tube amplifiers feature a single channel design. Their take on the iconic British sound of the 60s is enhanced by modern versatility and features for maximum tonal flexibility, without compromising on tonal quality.
Both models are available as either a combo with 12” Celestion drivers (the Artist 20+RT Combo with a UK G12H Anniversary speaker for the best all-round boutique tone, while the Artist 60+RT is fitted with Celestion G12M-65 Creamback speaker for warm midrange tones) or as a stand-alone head. In addition, two models of Hamstead Extension Cabinets are also available, making a complete rig to undoubtedly help players attain remarkable results.
The Artist Series is meticulously hand-built in the UK and is powerful, portable and works brilliantly with pedals and guitars of all types. Add in superb integrated Reverb and Tremolo sections and they are designed to inspire total musical expression.
Odyssey Intergalactic Driver
An Unbelievable Journey Through Tone
Hamstead Soundworks’ obsession with tone and electronic design has driven them to push the boundaries of what a drive pedal can be. The result is the Odyssey Intergalactic Driver – a single analogue circuit by Peter Hamstead. With interactive controls for unbelievable versatility, Odyssey can take you on a tonal journey. From clean boost with tone shaping, to classic rock, through to heavy metal and all the way to oversaturated fuzz, the sweet spot is wherever you want it to be. Whether you simply want to find your sonic nirvana or embark on an epic adventure of discovery, Odyssey gives you countless classic and contemporary tones, all just waiting to be unleashed.
Odyssey takes all-analogue Drive & EQ circuits and pushes them to their limits, creating possibly the most versatile analogue drive pedal ever made. The Drive circuit features three clipping modes each with its own character and voice, while the Gain knob has a wide range – from very light breakup to incredibly saturated distortion.
The key to Odyssey’s versatility is how the Drive circuit interacts with the EQ to create an entire galaxy of tonal options. The EQ circuit is very clean and very powerful, allowing the tone to be sculpted when placed after the Drive circuit in ‘Post’ mode or used to drastically alter the response and character of the breakup when before the Drive in ’Pre’ mode.
Clipping stages can be boosted by the ‘X’ switch, setting the input level to X1 (unity), X2 (twice your original signal) or X5 to boost the input level by almost 14 dB. Boosting the level into the Drive circuit creates anything from a subtle increase in saturation and harmonics at low gain levels. It can also be used to push the clipping all the way to fuzz and even octave style effects.
While the Tone control is a low pass filter that controls the high frequencies in the Drive circuit, which is very useful for tailoring Odyssey to your set up. Alternatively, this can be used with the Treble control to fine-tune the high end.
Odyssey features silent optical switching, plus OptoKick footswitch from our friends at The GigRig for excellent reliability. The pedal has been extensively tested with a large range of familiar guitars and amplifiers, ensuring that it will work superbly with any setup.
Subspace Intergalactic Driver
A Journey Through Subspace
Hamstead Soundworks’ journey to push the boundaries of what a drive pedal can be, has come to its next logical stop. This is the Subspace Intergalactic Driver – all of the analogue versatility of Odyssey by Peter Hamstead, now optimised for low frequencies. With its re-voiced circuit, enhanced with the addition of a parallel dry control, Subspace allows you to craft your perfect driven sound without losing any character or low frequencies from your original signal. You’ll be taken on a journey from clean boost with tone shaping, to warm vintage valve style overdrive, through to defined distortion and all the way to glitchy oversaturated fuzz.
While developed with bass in mind, Subspace can take you further than you would have imagined. When used with guitars it opens up a whole range of alternative and inspiring drive sounds. However, with bass it offers more than you could believe was possible from a compact analogue drive pedal.
The Parallel control in Subspace works as a volume control for your dry signal and features a notch at the 12 o’clock position for unity gain, which can then be boosted by up to +6dB. Unlike a normal passive blend control, your dry signal is split by a high-quality buffer circuit meaning that 100% of the signal goes to both the Drive circuit and the Parallel circuit with no tonal loss.
Signature Tremolo MK II
Analogue Waveform Perfection
Tremolo is one of the earliest effects to be applied to the electric guitar and its timeless quality has ensured its popularity across many genres throughout the years. Signature Tremolo MKII is Hamstead’s take on this classic effect, created with the refined analogue engineering that Hamstead Soundworks is known for.
The Signature Tremolo MkII takes Hamstead Soundworks’ renowned analogue ‘Sinewave’ circuit straight out of the Artist +RT series amplifiers and packages it into a pedalboard-friendly format. This is coupled with two additional tremolo modes and Wave Shaping features. Add speed control via expression pedal support and you have a flexible, yet high quality device than is perfect for adding movement to guitar or keyboards alike, without messing with your core tone.
‘Sinewave’ mode is a true sinusoidal waveform for the cleanest, smoothest and most musical sounding tremolo. Switch to ‘Classic’ mode for a more vintage ‘Output Bias’ style feel, replicating the familiar tremolo sounds found in vintage amplifiers and thousands of seminal records from the 1950s to the present day. While ‘Triangle’ mode is far more natural sounding than the angular name suggests and is particularly useful when used with the Shape control.
The Shape control allows the ability to tilt any of the waveforms to the left or right. In Triangle mode this can create both up and down sawtooth waveforms for more modern tremolo and chopping effects and can really accentuate the thump of output bias style tremolo in Classic mode.
With speeds ranging from 0.4 to 15 Hz controllable either by the Speed control or an external expression pedal, this pedal offers superb versatility and playability. The Depth control sets the level of the effect from subtle modulation movement that you’ll never want to turn off, right through to aggressive side-chain style pumping volume.
Signature’s feature set is rounded off by a Gain control. This can provide a boost of up to 10 dB to really accentuate the tremolo effect or even push the front end of an amplifier. All of the waveform modes have the same internal compensation against perceived volume loss as Hamstead’s Artist series tube amplifiers, allowing you to use the Gain simply as a boost if desired.
To round the pedal off, Signature Tremolo MKII features silent optical switching, plus the OptoKick footswitch from our friends at The GigRig for excellent reliability.
Zenith Amplitude Controller
The Ultimate Tone Shaper
Tone is more than just guitars, amps and pedals; but the voice of the player. Once your core elements are brought together, you can refine your sound or even push it to a whole new level. Meet Zenith – a powerful EQ, Boost and Compressor, all delivered in one compact and incredibly flexible package.
From subtle tone shaping and compression that is felt and not heard, through to extreme sound sculpting and sustain beyond the natural realm, Zenith’s three circuits cover it all. Digitally controlled switching then allows the 100% analogue EQ and Compression circuits to be accessed independently and all via one OptoKick footswitch.
Treble, Middle and Bass controls are nothing new to guitar effects, but with Zenith we have endeavoured to voice these parameters to not only sound, but feel natural to use. Boosted high frequencies are present but not harsh; boosted lows remain tight while adding warmth, and the Middle control offers a huge amount of flexibility with its three position ‘Q’ and Frequency switches.
Compression is an often misunderstood and potentially complex effect in guitar culture. We wanted to design a circuit that was simple to use, but at the same time incredibly high quality and versatile. Our compression circuit has a very fast attack and medium/long release and is designed to work with any set up and remain very transparent. The feel of the compression can also be dialled in with the Blend control, allowing natural pick attack but also hugely increased sustain. Covering a wide range from subtle level balancing through to hard compression with very musical bloom, pro compression has never been easier to achieve.
With its features of EQ and Compression, Zenith can recreate the tone and feel of your amp at its best at all volume levels. When you have found your tonal nirvana at gig volume, turning an amp down to practise levels often results in EQ changes and lack of output tube sag and saturation. With Zenith, you can attenuate the volume with the Level control without affecting pre-amp gain in an FX loop, or add a drive pedal in the front end for your breakup style of choice. Adjusting the EQ then brings back your original tone and by adding a touch of compression, the feel of tube sag returns with musical bloom.