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Tech 21 Character Series Oxford Reviews

4.5 stars based on 6 customer reviews
  • from Seattle, WA July 29, 2012Music Background:
    worship leader, recording artist, general tone enthusiast

    its 90% of the way there!!

    For 170 bucks you can't do better. I own an actual Orange th30, bought this baby from Sweetwater to use as a nightime recording replacement, and at church where amps are frownd upon. After recording my amp and the pedal directly into my audio interface back and forth; and tweaking this pedal to get it as close to the sound coming out of my $1700 Orange+celestion cabinet+shure beta 27 combo, I would say I got it 90% of the way there!!!! The recorded amp tone has more high.end detail and life, whereas the pedal is a tiny bit muffled in comparison...However the character of the overdrive is absolutely spot on...It rips like am Orange, punches like an Orange, and responds like an orange, but for 10% of the cost...it was definitely worth the money. I no longer need to lug my amp, cabinet and microphone around everywhere I go. I can plug in and play and the audience doesn't even know the difference. For recording of course i still prefer the amp, but that's to be expected.

  • from st charles, IL December 28, 2011Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Wonderful product!

    Yes. I am blown away by the Character Series from Tech 21 - I've worked hours in my pro-studio with digital modeling and direct recording and nothing comes close to the tone and sound these pedals will give you.

    The OXFORD is an incredibly versatile pedal and can cover anything from Brit-Pop (Think Oasis) to Classic/Stoner/Hard Rock (Think Black Sabbath/Queens of the stone age and everything in between) to amazingly warm cleans. You'd swear it had tubes in it when it doesn't.
    I use this direct to my macbook via a Mackie Onyx interface and again it's the best direct recording tool I have ever used.
    Add a little reverb and it's simply beautiful. I also own the LIVERPOOL and in conduction with the OXFORD I get the most incredible layered guitar tracks.
    The controls are extremely sensitive and you can get hundreds of usable tones out of it, so don't think of this as a one trick pony "amp modeler" - While it does model a specific brand you can achieve the sounds of most british amplifiers with this thing. Fantastic!

  • from September 12, 2011

    Wonderful pedal

    Extremely great sounding pedal. I run my semi-hollow tele through it straight into a keyboard amp. I do a lot of multi-instrumental looping all through 1 loop pedal and I didn't want to sacrifice guitar tone for my electric. This pedal does the trick, wide variety of beautiful british tones that sound thoroughly convincing. The footswitch is nice and quiet, has a sturdy build, and is an overall great value for what your paying for it. Only problem is is the battery life is rather short if you use it a lot, but you can always buy a power supply. Get this!

  • from February 17, 2012

    Versatile, simple pedal

    Fantastic pedal! I have used it both as a stompbox before a clean amp (ironically, an Orange, and also a Mesa F30), as well as a preamp for recording. Works great for both. Plug and play, but also, spend some time with a piece of paper (to jot notes and settings) and the unit, and you will find a multitude of useful sounds, clean to heavy. I can easily mimic my Orange or the F30, or shoot for other sounds too!

  • from The Great Mid-West June 18, 2015

    Oxford Character

    Tech 21 has built their business on pedals that provide direct to board or direct recording capabilities. The Oxford is part of their Character Series of pedals designed to emulate, in this case, Orange amps. I am not your typical electric player and my setup is not typical, so I can't really compare this pedal to an actual Orange amp. I can however review my perspective of how this pedal works for me. First of all, my setup is designed to take my guitar signal directly to the mixing board with no amp on stage. I use an auxiliary output to feed my personal monitor, which provides my connection my sound. My pedal chain is basically Guitar > SansAmp > Volume Pedal > Tuner > Modulation pedals (choirs, delay, reverb) > out to DI > then XLR to the mixer. This gives me a quiet, controllable stage volume with ample ability to control my tone. I actually use 2 SansAmp Character Series pedals. One is the Blonde, which I use for clean tones. The second is this Oxford, which I use for my crunch and distorted tones. I opted to go this route after trying to use an overdrive pedal with the Blonde to produce my distorted tones. I just couldn't get a good sweet spot with that configuration. I could have used the Blonde to give me distorted tones by itself, but I wanted to be able to switch quickly between clean and dirty tones, so I needed a second source to achieve that on the fly. Since the overdrive pedal in combination with the Blonde didn't give me sweat spot tone I was after, I decided a second Character Series pedal, used like a dirty channel of an amp, was worth exploring. When I want a distorted tone, I switch from the Blonde to the Oxford. I have them wired in series, so I could stack them and use them together, but I usually prefer to only have one active at a time. That's just a tone thing, since I haven't found a great benefit in tone by combining the two together. This doesn't mean you can't do that. It's just that I haven't made that a priority at this point. I may explore that more later. Comparing the two pedals, the Blonde and the Oxford, it is very obvious that the tone character (not the character knob) of each pedal is very different from each other. The Blonde does take you into the Fender tone zone and the Oxford does go in the Orange zone. I don't have enough experience with actual Fender and Orange amps to tell you how much these pedals represent the amp tones, but they are certainly in the ball park. The real strength of these pedals, as far as I am concerned, is their ability to provide really good tone that can be feed directly to your recording setup or live stage PA setup, without the need for actual amps. I can carry my guitar in one hand and my pedal board in the other and I am good to go. Very convenient. Tone wise, these pedals provide a broad range of tone shaping and tweaking within the realm of their targeted amp tone. The Oxford has a brighter overall tone, as you would expect from an Orange. I would say it excels at the Rock tones, where the Drive knob is turned up. It will clean up nicely, but I like the clean tones on the Blonde better. For me, the greatest tone challenge is finding that sweet spot where you get just the right amount of grit while maintaining clarity the notes, especially if your playing chords. My playing in not lead, but rather fills and accents based off of chords. If the tone is too dirty, the fills and accents can become a muddy wash. Not enough grit and they loose their dynamic punch. I have found that the Oxford gives me a better gritty tone than my old setup trying to use the overdrive pedal. I can't say that I have yet to nail down "my tone", but the Oxford is getting me there. I have been using this pedal for about a month, so I haven't mastered it yet, but it certainly has improved my tone.

  • from NY, USA April 2, 2013Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    Good if you're into the orange flavor.

    At certain settings, with certain guitars, this pedal does very well. It has a very smooth distortion, especially with the mids turned down. You can hear every note played even at the highest gain. The cleans are also jangly and bright, as you'd expect from a good orange amp.

    I did have some issues with the character control on this one. Whether or not it responds like the f.a.c. knob from original orange amps, I cannot comment upon. I can note however, that I was only really able to get good tones with the character between 10 and 2 o'clock. Bringing the character up too high caused an odd amount of feedback tone in several different guitars, even with a good noise suppressor first in the chain. With the character too low, I had to overcompensate with the EQ section. Perhaps this is fully intended, and it makes for a tweaker's delight. It just wasn't up my alley in particular. Also - to get a smooth distortion character, the mids couldn't climb very high. Above a certain point, the tones become quite 'fat' for lack of a better word. Also intentional, but not a ubiquitous tone for all styles of music.

    I know Orange amps have a characteristic tone to them, and when you dial this in just right, it can do quite a lot. This is a master of the mid-gain sound, and if that's where you want to be, then this could be your ticket to tone.

    I found the Tech 21 Blonde pedal in conjunction with a good compressor/overdrive to do everything from clean to heavily distorted a little better, or at least more to my liking. I've tested humbuckers, p90's and texas-style overwound single coils on these pedals, and they respond to each pickup very differently with the turn of the character knob.

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