Xotic EP Booster Review: A Clean Boost with Vintage Mojo

Sometimes, you want a guitar pedal that can instantly kick your guitar tone up a notch with a single tap of your foot. Well, that's exactly what boost pedals are designed for.

A boost pedal lets you crank up the gain of your guitar but also helps color up the signal a bit more, adding some nice preamp style saturation.

There are loads of boost pedals on the market, all with different tones and functionalities. You need to choose one that suits your playing style, genres, and the logistics of your pedal board – or else you're asking for a headache.

The Xotic EP is a small and unique booster pedal, modeled off a classic piece of hardware loved by iconic guitar players.

In this Xotic EP Booster review, you'll learn why this pedal stands out, and what kind of players are itching to get it in their pedalboards!

The Xotic EP booster came at the top of our clean boost pedal reviews, so you know it's a banger!

Xotic EP Booster Pedal - Overview

Xotic EP Booster

Average Overall Rating: 4.25/5

Why I Like It

  • Modeled on iconic preamps found in the EP-3 Tape Echo, used by guitar legends.
  • Simple, pure, and effective, and sounds fantastic.
  • Small, portable, and most importantly - affordable.

What I Think Could Be Improved

  • The small footprint can make it a bit unstable.
  • The foot pusher button could be a bit smoother.
  • Dip switches are inconveniently placed.


  • Type: Boost Pedal
  • Connections: 1/4" input, 1/4" output
  • Powering: 9v battery or 9v power supply cable
  • Size:
    • Height: 1.5"
    • Width: 1.5"
    • Depth: 3.5"
  • Controls: On/off footswitch, Gain knob from +3 to + 20 dB, internal dip switches
  • True Bypass

The Xotic EP Booster is a small format, volume boost pedal. Its gain circuitry is modeled on the preamp found in the Maestro Echoplex EP-3, which was a tape echo effects unit released in 1970.

The preamps in the original EP-3 were loved and lauded by many iconic guitarists, such as Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, and virtuoso Eric Johnson.

While the Xotic EP isn't an echo/delay pedal, it gives your guitar signal the classic sound of the EP-3's preamps, which have a very rich heritage.

The Xotic EP is a great boost pedal that stands out from its competitors due to its affordability, small size, simplicity, and super tasty tone.

Xotic EP Booster Pedal - Main Review

Boost and Tone – 5/5

In terms of boosting, I really couldn't fault the Xotic EP. The knob lets you dial in a signal boost of up to +20 dB of gain, which is a pretty huge amount of volume.

Unlike a lot of boost pedals, it didn't overly color the tone. It was smooth, rich, and warm, but it wasn't particularly crunchy or compressed. I could still play very dynamic passages without my playing becoming flattened, which I've experienced on other boosters.

This cleanliness was particularly notable when playing with tube amps and single-coil guitars. When you play boosted single-coil pickups through a tube amp, the noise can get pretty intense. But in the case of the Xotic EP, I really had no issues.

If you are looking for something a bit more colorful and aggressive, this might not be the best choice – although it still adds a bit of character, making the highs a bit more shimmery. If you engage the high-end frequency boost mode, you get more presence and clarity when the boost is engaged.

If you just want to step up the volume, but not make big changes to the gain, saturation, and overall tone of your signal, this is a clear choice.

Controls and Ease of Use – 4/5

Xotic EP Booster

I'm in two minds about the controls and ease of use on this pedal. On one hand, the core features are super easy to use – but it's not perfect, and I had some minor complaints.

Its focus is clearly on user-friendly simplicity and a kind of 'set it and forget it' approach, rather than ultra-deep customization.

On the faceplate, all you see is a single knob and footswitch.

The knob controls the boost gain level, and I found it to be smooth, accurate, and responsive. I could easily dial in just the right amount of boost, from subtle to substantial. However, there are no clear markings of how many dB you're adding, so it's all done via listening (which I think is a good practice really).

Xotic EP Booster

Now, my issue with the Xotic pedal was with the internal switches - which other EP Booster reviews also complain about. There are two switches tucked away inside this little pedal - one which sets the minimum gain level (for unity gain), and the other which adds a high-end boost.

My issue here is that you have to unscrew the case to access the internal switch bank. This makes it pretty inconvenient if you want to reconfigure the pedal's EQ setting. It's impossible to do on stage and a minor convenience in preparation.

That said, I think this does suit the 'set and forget' approach at the center of its design, so it's definitely not a deal breaker.

Build Quality and Construction – 4/5

Xotic EP Booster

Like all of the pedals on the Xotic roster, I found the EP booster to be well-made, super durable, and high-quality.

It has a very sturdy metal case, and the knobs and controls felt robust and tight. While being small, it has a nice weight to it.

I'm personally not a huge fan of the smaller pedals in terms of foot feeling. They aren't as steadfast when you're putting your weight into them, so they are prone to moving around, or wobbling when you push them which isn't ideal. However, I'd say this is just the natural tradeoff for having a smaller footprint, which is beneficial in many situations.

The pusher switch could be a little bit smoother, and it was slightly stiff compared to others. But I'm really splitting hairs here, as this does not affect the overall experience and build – which is pretty close to perfection.

Versatility – 4/5

The versatility of the Xotic EP Booster is impressive, and I tried it with a bunch of different guitar setups and pedal chains. Whether I was playing it through a gentle rock or blues setup, or in a heavily distorted metal rig – its performance was spot on.

Things to Consider Before Buying Xotic EP Booster Pedal

Booster pedals are a handy addition to your pedal board, giving you an instant hands-free switch between different gain levels. These give you a convenient way to add a bit more dynamic range to your performance and are a maintain on professional guitarist's pedal boards.

With so many boost pedal variants out there, you need to make sure you pick one that has the functions and performance characteristics you need. Here are some things to think about!

Tone - Clean or Dirty

Some tone pedals (like the Xotic EP Booster) are clean, while others are dirty and more saturated. If you want to boost the signal of your guitar without it affecting the color and distortion of your pedals, then opt for a cleaner pedal. However, some guitarists want a boost pedal that not only ups the volume but also the overdrive of their signal.

Simplicity vs. Control

The Xotic EP Booster is definitely on the simple end of the spectrum, but not all boost pedals follow suit.

Maybe you want something basic with a single knob, or perhaps you want something a bit more complex and configurable. The choice is yours, but it's definitely a trade-off between diversity and convenience.


There are a lot of logistical considerations to make when choosing a pedal of any kind. What kind of power system do you need? Batteries or cable?

What size pedal fits on your board? Smaller pedals are more portable but less stable.

Do you want a single-channel (mono) pedal, or are you rocking some kind of stereo or multi-amp setup that needs more than one audio channel?

These are just some of the logistical considerations you need to make when choosing a new boost pedal.

Best Alternatives to Xotic EP Booster Pedal

While the streamlined, humble Xotic EP Booster is a strong choice for many players, some guitarists might be looking for something a bit different...

Check out our roundup of the best Clean Boost Pedals for a bunch of other alternatives, but here are some of my favorites.

TC Electronic Spark vs Xotic EP Booster

TC Electronic Spark

If you're looking for a bit more bang for your buck, the TC Electronic Spark is a more affordable pedal with a few more controls on its face. Despite the lower cost, these pedals offer really nice sound and build quality and are a bit more versatile than the Xotic.

Fender Engager Boost Pedal vs Xotic EP Booster

Fender Engager Boost Pedal

This mix between a booster and a 3-band EQ pedal gives you a lot more control over the tone and frequency balance of your boosted signal. Made by Fender, the quality is high, although it might be a bit too colorful for those looking for a clean sound.

TC Electronic Spark Mini vs Xotic EP Booster

TC Electronic Spark Mini

The TC's Spark is packed into a smaller footprint. This is a lot more budget-friendly than the Xotic, but the quality isn't quite there. That said, it's still a decent clean boost pedal – especially for those on a budget.

My honorable mention goes to Keely Katana guitar pedal as yet another simple, reliable, and affordable alternative.

Final Verdict

If you're looking for a small, simple, and clean boost pedal to integrate into your guitar setup, the Xotic EP Booster is a strong choice. It's got just the right amount of sonic flavor, without being overpowering. It has plenty of gain boost, and the quality is pretty much flawless all around.

I'm a big fan of this pedal, and I think the effect is versatile enough for any guitar player to use, no matter what style of music you're playing. If you need to boost your signal, this does the job in style.

For a bit more versatility, look at the Fender Engager Boost Pedal, and if you're looking to cut the expense, the TC Electronic Spark Mini is a great choice.

See more in our Clean Boost Pedal Comparison!

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