The KAT STB unit was originally designed for Brian May for use in conjunction with his strap mounted radio transmitter system.
By design, Treble Boosters do not exhibit particularly high impedance inputs. For this reason they interact quite severely with the guitar that is feeding them. This is why the Red Special Guitar always sounds better with the Treble Booster inserted first in line.
The KAT STB was therefore designed to interface better with the radio transmitter, whilst also offering gain trim controls to match signal level, RF filtering to help reject ambient noise and on/off switching to reduce the need to constantly disconnect either the input lead or battery cover. A power-on status LED also features on the front panel.
Having built Brian a number of these units, it became apparent that they actually sound great as a stand-alone Treble Booster regardless as to whether or not they were followed by a transmitter unit. In this mode they have a number of benefits; firstly, because they are connected within a few millimetres of the guitar, the high frequency losses in the first run of cable are seriously minimised. The effect of which is to enhance the clean trebles achievable from the guitar at low volume settings. Secondly, by mounting the KAT STB on the guitar strap, you immediately have a low impedance source line driver to push the signal through the long cable to the next effect unit or amplifier, and thirdly, the unit has all the on-board RF filtering to help reduce noise picked up from stage dimmers and the like.
Physically, the unit is small and light. The front panel features the on/off switch, power status LED and level trim pot, which is accessed via a small hole in the panel. (you will need a small ‘watchmakers’ screwdriver to adjust this). Removal of this panel provides easy access to the internal PP3 battery (Provided). The rear panel provides strain relief to the incoming guitar lead (fitted with a Switchcraft right-angled jack) and output jack socket.
The KAT STB features a radically new circuit design that incorporates frequency dependent negative feedback to enhance the band-pass characteristics of the unit which is delivered by ‘state of the art’ surface-mount component technology to ensure robustness on the road.
The unit can be adjusted to provide up to 32.5dB of gain, although we set them at the factory to 31dB such that they provide a slightly higher gain structure to the TB Touring out of the box.
Sound wise, the unit can best be described as similar in cleans to a Treble Booster Touring, yet with the drive of a TB Deluxe. Wind the trim pot to max and you’ll start producing ‘Marshall’ style harmonics.