As mini-sized pedals continue to gain in popularity they are also becoming increasingly refined and versatile in their layouts. One of these, the popular BMC (Bass Mid Control) from E.W.S Japan (a partner with Xotic), has been reworked with some added features.
The resulting BMC2 is a compact but powerful mid booster with three added controls. A Gain Boost switch increases the input by 10 dB. An added Volume control makes it easy to achieve unity gain (the Volume control can also be used to add another six dB), and a Middle knob boosts or cuts the frequency setting by +/- 12 dB.
Starting with the Gain Boost switch off and the Middle and Volume controls in their center-click positions, unity gain is very close to the true-bypass signal. Initially exaggerating the Middle knob by maxing it out makes it easy to quickly dial in the 160Hz-2.5kHz frequency sweep. Once at the desired range, choose to cut or boost by turning left or right from the center position. For more modern tones and certain slap sounds, cutting mids makes the bass sound stand out and cut through the mix. Going the other direction and adding more mids sculpts a more vintage, Motown gutbucket sound.
While plugged into a very clean-sounding solid-state amp, the BMC2 added a nice grit and warmth going through the effects loop when on its nine-volt DC setting with the gain boost engaged, giving it that musical midrange punch you want in order to fit into the mix. Increasing the pedal’s volume distorted gradually without sounding harsh. Because the BMC2 is also fairly touch-sensitive, it played well when followed by a compressor before the amp.
When switched to 18-volt DC, the BMC2 produced less distortion and more headroom. This setting also worked really well in a recording situation, giving a little extra push to an Ampeg B-15. It should be noted that the BMC2 has an internal selector switch that makes it possible to run it in 9- or 18-volt DC mode; when running 18 volts, the circuit will internally convert from the wall source or the battery.
The 160Hz-2.5kHz frequency sweep is the heart of this pedal and the well laid-out manual states where the specific frequencies are located on the dial (though it would be very useful to have this printed on the pedal, especially when working in a recording situation). Overall, though, the BMC2 is a very impressive pedal. After playing it you may wonder how you managed all these years without one.
This article originally appeared in VG November 2015 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.