REX Sono Magnus: The Great Tone of Grace Design's Preamp in a Pedal

In the last few years, more pro audio companies have been dipping their toes into the pedal world. It's easy to see why; pedals are smaller, less expensive items that can fill a spot in their product line that will create create new customers. And, let's face it, not all of us are building top-dollar recording studios. It makes sense.

Having tried a few of these "pro audio pedals" I can say that they are quite good. They bring quality and specs of their high end pieces to the pedalboard. The prices also reflect this...they don't always come cheap. But at the end of the day, the pedals are just...pedals. They're just their "flavor" of certain effects like EQ, compression and maybe a preamp. They don't exactly bring anything "new" to the table... well, not all of them.

I always get a little excited when my pal Ryan from Sweetwater emails me. Sometimes he's sending us Sweetwater Affiliates tips and news. Other times (my personal favorites emails) he's emailing about gear; companies come to Sweetwater looking to partner up with video creator to showcase their gear!

This time, the list had a pedal from Grace Design. I had known Grace for their high-quality studio gear but in the recent years they've added a host of preamp pedals to their line. But something about REX was different. I decided I HAD to check it out!

Click the photo to visit the Sweetwater page for REX

At its core the REX is a pedal-based microphone preamplifier...aka a mic pre. These are what you plug microphones into on your mixing desk or audio interface in order to bring the *tiny* output level of microphones up for recording good audio. REX does exactly this: it has a Mic Input, a Line/DI Output (for connecting to a sound mixer or interface) and even has a two-band (2-band) EQ with Low and High controls. There are some other cool features as well like a footswitch-able Boost circuit, built in Phantom Power and even a Mute switch. So really, the REX is a simple channel strip. And all of it requires no more power than a big Strymon pedal (500mA @ 9volts be exact). But there was ONE feature in particular that I got REALLY jazzed about...


FINALLY I'll able to mic up my favorite acoustic guitar and use pedals with it...without needing a bunch of extra stuff! And for those thinking it: yes, I know I could use an acoustic-electric. But I neither have one nor the money to buy a GOOD one.

And anyway, you don't just have to use the REX for acoustic guitar. I go their first because I make guitar videos! (duh) But you could easily use REX with vocals, woodwinds, brass, drums and foley sound recordings.

The possibilities were too good to pass up!

Although I love mic pre's with "character", the REX preamp is clean and high fidelity. The tone is clear and present and, thanks to the additional EQ and High Pass Filter, plenty of great tones can be recorded down without issue. But once you plug in some pedals the fun really begins! I tried MANY pedals with REX and filmed three of them for the demo: the BOSS DC-2w (OMG), the Sonicake Wave Crush, and the Chase Bliss


Amongst them, the DC-2w was an INCREDIBLE pairing! Dialing out plenty of the Low frequenices, emphasizing some Highs and putting the

DC-2w into the SDD-320 mode (setting 4) felt like a was back in the 1980's recording a big old power ballad or an intro for a metal record! And dare I say how lush a super lo-fi reverb from the MOOD mkII sounds on solo fingerstyle guitar? I think I dare: it sounds just wonderful!

But I don't see REX as a wholly "guitar-oriented" product. Live-streamers can get a lot out of the Mute and Boost functions. Podcasters can use the MUTE switch as a foot-activated "cough button" for recordings. Stage performers will love the low profile form factor. And I think I know a vocalist who would love the simple user interface and possibilities of adding pedals to her vocal chain. ;)

I'm very excited I got to check the REX out and so thrilled Grace Design loved the video! I hope you enjoyed it as well. I can't wait to bring MORE acoustic guitar into future demos! It should be fun to get down to more experimentation. Who know what will come out of it?

I want to say thanks to Ryan and Josh at Sweetwater for putting this little partnership together. I don't think I need to tell you all that I love Sweetwater and I know they take good care of many musicians across the U.S.A. If you ever need anything from Sweetwater, please consider using my affiliate links. The links are connected to me and if you use them for a purchase it generates a small commission to me. It's an easy way for you all to support my content without any extra cost. Bookmark the following link and use it every time you shop:

Wishing you Great Tone & Happy Stomping! - SPJ

Hey there! Thanks for reading my latest Blog. If you enjoyed it, consider joining my Email Club. Members get all my content delivered direct to their Inbox and are even entered into giveaways open ONLY to Email Club Members. Just fill out the form below! Thanks again and Happy Stomping!