Tech 21 Q Strip Review: Giving Musicians Plenty of Power and Control

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Our Tech 21 Q Strip Review

Based out of New York, Tech 21 manufactures DJ boxes, amps, and bass and guitar effect pedals. They rely on analog technology, eschewing digital signal processing, as the force behind their tones.

This gives their pedals a unique and interesting sound and has created a rather large cult following of musicians who appreciate not only their attention to detail but the way that they manufacture and design their pedals.

What Is the Tech 21 Q Strip?

This pedal is celebrated because of its ability to roll off high frequencies and extra bass while still adding a little extra body to your sound. With a bit of extra grit at the end, it’s easy to see how this great preamp pedal can boost your sound and cuts through any extra rumble.

Thanks to the tone-sculpting powers of the Tech 21 Q Strip, musicians who use it enjoy complete control over how their sound either fits into the mix or cuts through it to really shine and be the star.

Tech 21 focused all of their efforts to create the signal path of a vintage console that was used by basses and guitars in the past and created it in a durable and portable pedal format. This means that this unit can be easily used as a direct feed to an amp or as a DI box, depending on your needs and the sound that you desire.

Who Is this Pedal Designed for?

This unit is designed for more advanced or professional musicians, as it is simply too powerful and a bit too difficult for beginning musicians to be able to easily use. It’s best suited for live performances, and to really improve your sound quality when used in a recording situation. For the most part, it’s not great for quiet practice, as it really shines on stage and in a recording.

When used for recording, the Tech 21 Q Strip does a great job producing musical and clean results that are bright and not muddy or fuzzy. The EQ does a great job smoothly and efficiently voicing the sound and offers plenty of flexibility. When used with a software amp modeler, these EQ controls are great for fine-tuning the overdrive sounds of this unit.

During live performances, the Tech 21 Q Strip sounds great and has plenty of output level to give you the sound you desire. Thanks to the low noise floor, you can easily use this unit without hitting the rails.

What’s Included?

Tech 21 QStrip Dual Parametric EQ Instrument DI Pedal Tech 21 QStrip Dual Parametric EQ Instrument DI Pedal
  • HPF cuts unmusical rumble associated with many instruments when going direct. LPF rolls off undesirable frequencies. Can also be used as a speaker simulator. When used in conjunction with the studio-grade EQ section, you can recreate different speaker cabinet curves so you can go direct with your favorite distortion and effects pedals. Very high impedance accommodates piezos and handles low impedance sources equally well. XLR is capable to drive power amps and has a -20dB pad to accommo
  • The ‘60s and ‘70s are widely recognized as the heyday for professional recording console design
  • The EQ and preamp sections of these near-mythical vintage consoles are highly sought after, even to this day
  • Some of the most iconic guitar and bass tones in the history of recorded audio were tracked “direct” straight into these consoles’ channel strips
  • The QStrip was designed with sophisticated features that enable you to take these highly-coveted tone shaping circuits with you, whether you’re heading to a live gig or tracking in the studio or into your DAW
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The Tech 21 Q Strip ships by itself. This means that you need to have on hand all of your gear and your cables so that you can set it up and start using it right away. Additionally, unless you are going to power the Tech 21 Q Strip via the XLR output or a 9V battery, you will want to make sure that you purchase the optional power supply.

Musicians who are worried about the Tech 21 Q Strip failing them or running out of battery during a live performance will want to consider the optional power supply, as this will provide peace of mind that you won’t run out of power.

Primary Features of the Tech 21 Q Strip

The Tech 21 Q Strip has four bands of equalization that provide low and high-shelf filters as well as two sweepable mids. It’s easy to switch between the low and high-pass filters, which makes it possible for more advanced musicians to tighten their frequency spectrum by removing any unwanted highs or lows. Other great features include:

  • All-metal housing
  • Three modes of operation
  • Smooth-action actuator switch
  • Phantom power via 9V battery or XLR output
  • Can be powered via an optional power supply
  • Can be used as a speaker simulator
  • Handles piezo pickups, as well as low-impedance sources

Thanks to the 100% analog MOSFET circuitry that is included in the Tech 21 Q Strip, it provides a very warm and large tone that mimics perfectly vintage consoles.

Some musicians have pointed out that not all of the presets on the Tech 21 Q Strip are the highest quality and produce the best tone. This is yet another way in which this unit really shines for more advanced musicians who will be able to adjust their tone and sound without relying on presets that may not offer the best tone.

Alternatives to the Q Strip

The Tech 21 Q Strip is a great option for a lot of musicians, but if you are looking for something a little different that is still very powerful, then you will want to consider the Fishman Platinum Pro EQ/DI. This analog preamp pedal is new and completely redesigned, resulting in a powerful 17V Class-A preamp with a lot of power, a five-band tone control, and a fully-chromatic digital tuner that is integrated into the design. This makes it a great option for beginners.

Another alternative that is worth a second look is the LR Baggs Venue DI pedal. It offers adjustable gain for active and passive pickups, as well as a filter that provides effective feedback control. The footswitch mute/tune function is handy and easy to use, and it’s powered by either a DC adapter or a 9V battery.

Conclusion – Should You Consider the Tech 21 Q Strip?

Any musician who is going to be performing live or wants to record will need to at least give the Tech 21 Q Strip some consideration. It makes it possible to sculpt incredible tones with very little effort, as long as you have the musical knowledge and background to do so, which is why it’s best for more advanced musicians. Additionally, this unit is incredibly rugged and durable, which is great for taking on the go.

While it is a little more difficult to use than some other options on the market, if you want to improve your overall sound and adjust how your tone fits in with other instruments on the stage, then you will want to consider the Tech 21 Q Strip. It is definitely an investment piece due to the price but will give you complete control over your music.

We hope our Tech 21 Q Strip review has been helpful. You might want to check out all the guitar pedals we recommend in this guide to worship pedalboards.

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