Review: Bogner Harlow, Wessex and Burnley

Reinhold Bogner

This time Kitarablogi has had the pleasure to review the fruits of a cooperation between two legendary designers:

Custom amp guru Reinhold Bogner

Rupert Neve

…and the grand old man of recording studio electronics Rupert Neve have unveiled a line of three Bogner effect pedals (made in the USA), which were designed around Rupert Neve’s famous audio transformers.

Bogner – Neve transformer

Audio transformers are rarely seen (or mentioned) when it comes to pedal effects, for both reasons of price and mass production.

In valve amplifiers audio transformers play a crucial role, because they are the last stage before the signal reaches the speaker. Audio transformers ”translate” the signal for the speaker, which is why they have a direct impact on the tone and dynamic behaviour of a tube amplifier.

Bogner-pedals teaser – w lights

At the moment three different Bogner/Neve-pedals are available – the Harlow booster (current price in Finland: 235 €), the Wessex overdrive (229 €), and the Burnley distortion (235 €).

Each pedal has a glowing ”eye” indicating the current signal strength of the stompbox.

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Bogner Harlow – with box

The Bogner Harlow gives you two effects in one pedal:

In addition to it’s boost function, the Harlow also incorporates Bogner’s Bloom compression circuit, which promises to give you a very natural, three-dimensional and musical type of compression.

You’ll find three control knobs on the Harlow – a level control for the booster, a Bloom-control for the compressor, and a master tone.

Bogner Harlow – full front 2

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Bogner Wessex – with box

Bogner’s Wessex is the overdrive pedal in the Bogner/Neve-family.

In addition to its gain and level controls the Wessex also includes a two-band EQ, as well as a E/N-switch. ”N” stands for ”normal” and this mode will give you a slightly more traditional, mid-range centred sound. Switching to ”E” (for ”enhanced”) there’s more gain on tap, coupled with a fatter, more full-range tone.

Bogner Wessex – full front 2

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Bogner Burnley – with box

The third pedal, the Bogner Burnley, is a distortion effect.

The Burnley offers three controls – level, gain and tone – plus an F/T-switch. ”T” (for ”tight”) promises you a more aggressive distortion effect than the warmer and fatter ”F” mode.

Bogner Burnley – full front 2

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Bogner Harlow – inside

Both Mr Bogner and Mr Neve are known for their uncompromising commitment to both sound and workmanship. This commitment is well represented in this range of pedal effects.

In the Bogner-pedals the circuit board is hidden inside a black plastic box. This is a workable solution weighing the risk of direct backwards engineering against the possible future need for repair or servicing. Components completely covered in black resin (some boutique manufacturers do this) are the bane of any guitar technician!

As you can clearly see in the pictures, all three stompboxes can be run using a nine volt battery or an external PSU (using the Boss-standard).

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Bogner Harlow – left 2

Bogner doesn’t divulge the precise amount of boost that can be had from the Harlow, but let me tell you it will most probably be enough to overdrive even the cleanest of amplifiers.

The Bloom-circuit in the Bogner Harlow sounds deliciously chewy and reacts very musically.

Bogner’s Harlow is the type of pedal you want to leave on the whole time, because any guitar will sound better with this box running. This pedal also reacts very well to changes in your guitar’s volume control setting.

There’s a nice attack click, when played with a Stratocaster:

The Harlow stays clear and clean, even when you play a neck humbucker (I’m using my Hamer USA Studio Custom):

Bogner Wessex – right 2

The overdrive and distortion tones of Bogner amplifiers are already the stuff of legend, and the amp guru has managed to pack these sounds into two Bogner/Neve-pedals.

The Bogner Wessex luckily isn’t just another Tubescreamer clone; instead this stompbox gives you Mr Bogner’s vision of the perfect overdrive sound.

Even though there’s a healthy amount of gain on offer in the Wessex, the sound always stays transparent and well-defined. This pedal also keeps the inherent character of your guitar intact.

Wessex’s Enhanced mode will even make your vintage-styled Strat sing:

On the other hand there won’t be any boxiness, or mud, when using humbuckers:

Bogner Burnley – left 2

If you’re a Hendrix fan you should definitely try the Burnley’s Fat mode. It will make your Strat sing and growl in Woodstock-fashion, even when played into a clean amp channel at bedroom volume levels:

Bogner’s Burnley, too, is sensitive to guitar volume changes. Using Tight mode and humbuckers will give you a modern distortion tone:

Bogner-pedals teaser

Here’s the audio track off the Youtube video. All guitar parts have been played on a P-90-equipped Gibson Les Paul Junior:

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Bogner Harlow – right 2

Bogner Wessex – left 2

Bogner Burnley – right 2

Rupert Neve and Reinhold Bogner aren’t men ho do things by half – and these pedals are a fitting testament to this commitment!

The Bogner/Neve-series of guitar effects offers you Bogner’s boutique tones in a very compact guise, and at a very fair price. Try these pedals out – you won’t be disappointed!

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Bogner Amplification Harlow, Wessex & Burnley

Harlow – 235 €

Wessex – 229 €

Burnley – 235 €

Finnish distributor: Musamaailma

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Pros:

+ workmanship

+ compact size

+ genuine boutique amp tones

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