Jackson Audio Asabi Review
What happens when Jackson Audio works with modern guitar hero Mateus Asato? The Asabi overdrive distortion pedal of course! This unit is a very advanced analog design with some great control and sound capabilities. Available circuit board plug ins can change the sound of the device to match your desired play style without the need to purchase additional pedals.
Jackson Audio Asabi Pedal Features
Lets have a look at some key features of the Asabi!
- Overdrive And Distortion
- Active 3 band EQ
- MIDI Controllable
- Replaceable Plugins
- Gain Cycle Feature
- Four Clipping Diode Presets
- True Bypass
- Powered on 9V
- Analog Audio Circuitry
- Build Quality Is Good
- Plug Ins Change Your Sound
- Dual Overdrive And Distortion
- Active 3 band EQ
- Small And Light
- MIDI Control
- Asabi is Expensive
Asabi External Hardware
The first thing you may notice is the height is taller than your average pedal. It sits at 2.72″ high, 2.68″ wide and 4.84″ deep but sits sturdy for the height and width. The enclosure is stainless steel and weight in at .75 lbs.
There are a couple of different types of controls on the unit, some with knobs and some without. The EQ is an active EQ so the knobs at noon represent their neutral position. Turning left or right from center then cuts or boosts the frequencies they control. The other three knobs do not sit neutral at noon however.
The smaller potentiometers then control your overdrive portion of the pedal and are familiar Tube Screamer type controls. These are not active and act like passive controls with farthest left is your cut like setting.
The foot switches feel very good and are momentary switches. So when they are depressed they can serve different functions as offered by the device. The jacks are top mount and of good quality which is a great feature! Over all its well made with some high quality parts.
Asabi Pedal Controls
As mentioned above, your EQ is a 3 band active EQ with 12 dB of cut or boost depending on which side you turn the controls to from noon. The Presence knob is also a powerful control and is like a master tone control. As you turn it up, you will notice that it controls the over all brightness of the pedal and its perceived gain in the top end.
The overdrive section is controlled like a tube screamer from the 3 smaller rotary potentiometers. The real magic however is the drive presets programmed into the circuit. The over drive can be set to one of the available 4 presets in the pedal. By using the Drive foot switch, you can select the type of overdrive you want to use. Its a great feature!
Not only that, but you can also select the type of diode clipping sound you want from the 4 available presets. Again, the use of the distortion foot switch will allow you to set it up. Once the overdrive and distortion are set to taste, you can enable and disable them from the foot switches.
Analog Plug Ins
The Asabi is capable of different sounds by changing a board within the device. The plug in that comes stock with the pedal according to Jackson Audio is the JCM800 high gain unit.
In order to try out different sounds, you can purchase new modules that will support different amp sounds. These modules are actual circuits that are designed to provide all sorts of pedals without having to spend more.
Simply plug and play!
Another neat feature is the gain cycle feature. By pressing the two foot switches together at the same time you can increase the gain. As you increase the cycle, the distortion led will get brighter until you reach the top setting. Once your at the top setting, it will start from the lowest setting again. This can be great if you near the top gain control setting but want to punch up your gain quickly for a lead. Easily done!
The Asabi is an intelligent pedal based on Jackson Audio’s own digital design. The two foot switches can allow you to set different levels of diode clipping through out the unit.
Simply press and hold the foot switches to allow access to program the pedal to your favorite sound. Both overdrive and distortion can be set to taste.
There are 3 input jacks on the Asabi, one of which is for MIDI control. The unit requires a certain cable to convert DIN to TRS in order to do so, but once acquired you can use CC commands to control the pedal. This can be a powerful feature if your rig is heavily MIDI controlled. Not only can you turn the overdrive and distortion on and off, but you can scroll through the presets as you like.
How Does It Sound?
Starting with the overdrive side of the pedal. The 4 presets are great! You can start with lower overdrive and work your way up. As you do you can really drive your amp into some great crunch tones.
The Distortion side of the unit, also loaded with some great tone! There is a lot of gain in this pedal! Even at some lower settings, it was hot rodded tones all day long. If you know Mateus and his play style you know what your getting yourself into. But i think there is more gain on tap than even he would use!
You can also push the distortion side of the device with the overdrive and have some real fun! Because both sides are true bypass, you can use either over drive or distortion. But if you put them both on at the same time, your driving into some high gain territory real quick!
And i have to say, its a lot of fun for some real high gain hot rodded JCM tone, but dependent on your guitar of choice of course.
Jackson Audio Asabi Final Verdict
Its a great pedal full of some really cool features and great sounds. I really dig pedals that allow you to move up in settings on the fly. The Asabi is packed with great tone at every setting and it is easy to use and set up. MIDI controllable could get crazy good and super versatile.
I didn’t have any Plug in modules to play around with and would be interested to get a chance to play with some to see how different this pedal can get. But the stock plug in sounds great and is really fun to play around with. There is a ton of gain!
I do recommend this pedal, it is a bit on the pricey side, but it is a two in one unit with some great control features!