Hudson Electronics Broadcast AP-II review: two drive tones, infinite possibilities

Ariel Posen’s signature preamp pedal gets a doubled up version two, which massively increases the sonic versatility of this UK-made dirtbox.

Image: Adam Gasson

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Review Overview

Our rating


Our verdict

Pricey but versatile, the second version of the Broadcast AP is the most impressive yet, and offers a mind-boggling selection of hugely usable dirty tones.

$399/£269, hudsonelectronicsuk.com

If you’ve only been vaguely paying attention, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Hudson Broadcast has had more different versions than the Sugababes. Indeed, since Guitar.com first took a look at the original pedal back in 2016, there’s been a 24-volt version, a dual-footswitch version, the original Ariel Posen signature version in 2019, a bunch of limited-run colourways, and now we have version II of the AP.

If you’re wondering why the world needs so many versions of the same pedal in eight years, well we’d advise you to plug one of them in – any of them really – because when you do you’ll be greeted with some of the finest transparent drive sounds in the world today.

Image: Adam Gasson / Guitar.com

What’s the difference between the Hudson Broadcast AP and AP-II?

All of which brings us to the lovely pedal we’re talking about today – the second version of the tweaked broadcast that UK engineer Michael Hudson has created in partnership with Bros Landreth slide master and all-round good egg Ariel Posen.

Back in 2019, Richard Purvis was seriously impressed with the original AP, which took the original’s Neve console-inspired preamp and swapped a silicon transistor instead of germanium and the transformer for a British-made OEP.

Version two effectively gives you the best of both worlds – on the one side you get a preamp with a silicon transistor and a transformer in the style of the original AP, and on the other you get a germanium boost (without transformer) that’s more akin to the original Broadcast.

The best part is that you can run these two sounds together so that you can stack that gain up gloriously, and cleverly the pedal also allows you to choose exactly where you want each side of the pedal in your chain – with the inclusion of a send and return loop between the two pedals, enabling you to run pedals in-between the two, or for each side to be placed at a different point in the signal chain.

What does the Hudson Broadcast AP-II sound like?

Image: Adam Gasson / Guitar.com

Booting up the ‘original’ AP-II side with the transformer and the silicon transistor, and I’m reminded what a compellingly usable sound this pedal offers, and why it’s proved such a hit over the last five years.

As a clean boost, the pedal gives a pleasantly rounded thump to single-coils, reminding you of the Broadcast’s roots as a pedal designed to emulate the warmth of a Neve console, but there’s much more fun to be had here. Turning the volume up and we’re soon into a transparent but chunky drive that gets more compressed and fuzzier as you twist the equally girthsome gain and level knobs towards the horizon.

Hitting the ‘other’ side of the tracks gives you a different kind of dirt that’s no less transparent, but certainly a little more aggressive and bratty. There’s also a added punch of treble that serve to brighten up humbuckers and P-90s really well, and by the time you turn that gain up all the way you’re into full Jack White fuzz territory.

The real fun is pairing the two together – adding a girth to the snotty drive of the right side or brightening up the warm chewy left… or just cranking them both up and letting yourself get lost in a world of gloriously cascading filth.

Is the Hudson Broadcast AP-II worth it?

Image: Adam Gasson / Guitar.com

There’s no escaping the pricetag of a pedal like this, especially with the exchange rate hammering you if you happen to be in the US – it’s pricey. That price however, is reflected in an absolutely rock solid build inside and out, and it’s also worth remembering that you’re effectively getting two pedals in one (and compared to other boutique dual-drive pedals it’s relatively affordable/not that much more expensive depending on what side of the Atlantic you’re on).

And the proof, ultimately, is in the playing – for many of us the original Broadcast or the AP version will have all the clean to medium-dirt sounds you’ll ever need. For those who love to mix things up, however – especially those who like to stack gain or make quick shifts from one dirty tone to another on the fly, this might be the perfect dirt pedal.

Image: Adam Gasson / Guitar.com

Hudson Broadcast AP-II alternatives

  • JHS Double Barrell V4 ($345)
  • Browne Amplification Protein V3 ($339)
  • Strymon Sunset ($299)

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