Anybody NOT like the Zendrive?

JoeB63

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
14,708
+1.

one night my rig was making a funny noise.... the bar manager where we were that night can play... so he was playing while i was trouble-shooting. he's not a great player, not awful either... but that's not what mattered... has a very different touch than me. and when he stepped on my zendrive... holy crap it sounded great.... i can't get it to sound like that.

This is the case for all pedals, and all amps, and all guitars.

I sold two relatively expensive amps locally on Craigslist. In both cases, the guys who bought the amp sounded darn good when they came over to check them out (and buy them), but I couldn't get a OD sound I liked out of either one of them.

The Zendrive works well for me. Not perfect, but I really like it. I can certainly see how it would be all wrong for someone else.
 

JoeB63

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
14,708
I should also note that some pedals work great with certain amps and sound really crappy through other amps.

An extreme example: I had a TS-clone that sounded really good through one of my blackface amps, and lousy through another Blackface amp. Played clean, those two amps sound almost the same. But the pedal responded very differently with those amps. It was odd.
 

FLYING V 83

Gibson Geezer
Messages
5,598
I could never get enough treble out of mine with my LP/Windsor 1/2 stack rig.
Liked the Jetter Red much better. Same overall sound, just more dynamic & crisper highs.
 

apitakos

Member
Messages
104
I have not bonded well with mine, its been a couple of months now. I prefer the sound of the box of rock instead, or a Maxon OD808
 

B_of_H

Member
Messages
4,574
its nice for mid-gain leads, but thats about it. too muddy for rhythm. at least with me playing

I thought the pedal sounded ill defined. Kinda mushy rather than thick and juicy. I just don't relate to the sound that the Zendrive is going for though. I don't care for the Menatone Howie either.

the input cap is huge...lowering that will help get rid of the mushy/muddy issue and poor rhythm playing response.

simple mod but tearing up a pedal is probably not worth it for most people.

input cap: 47n instead of 470n will make the pedal much more versatile and less muddy.

also the voice knob when low adds bass, reduces mids and lowers gain. as you raise the voice knob it gets more mids and gain but at a certain point the bass becomes 'tinky' at least theoretically looking at the design and in my experiments with this and similar circuits.

this pedal could be a lot more versatile with an input cap and cap to ground after the voice knob on a switch selecting between different values for each IMO. that would give you a 'fat' sound with stock values and voice low or a more open and dynamic sound with 47n and a larger cap to ground giving you the ability to raise the voice knob (less resistance) while retaining full bass. at least that is my .02 on this pedal.

:)
 

jaysarle

Member
Messages
43
its nice for mid-gain leads, but thats about it. too muddy for rhythm. at least with me playing

i recently acquired a ceriatone OTS and have a zendrive on my board...i don't like the OTS amp at all for distorted rhythm even with the mid boost...so the fact that the zendrive really doesn't bode well for rhythm is very similar to the amp it was modeled after. the dumble amplifier has been known for how touch sensitive and articulate it is (mostly for lead playing i.e. robben & larry). the zendrive is built specifically to give you these tones through some sort of 6v6/6l6 amplifier.

it does what its supposed to and does it very very well. if you don't like dumble...you won't like this pedal. it also cleans up very well with your guitar's volume knob...but again i only use this pedal on leads...not rhythm.
 

Joeleo

Member
Messages
143
I thought the pedal sounded ill defined. Kinda mushy rather than thick and juicy. I just don't relate to the sound that the Zendrive is going for though. I don't care for the Menatone Howie either.

I think "mushy" is a good description of the sound. I actually have the Zendrive 2, and i do like it but it has kind of this "sagging speaker" quality that limits it's versatility imho.

I got it because i love the Robben Ford/Dumble sound. Dialed in right it can definitely do that sort of thing but not much else. And i do not like the way it stacks with other drives AT ALL. I've heard a lot of opinions to the contrary though so maybe it's just the drives that i happen to own that it doesn't play nice with.
 

Guinness Lad

Member
Messages
15,853
For me all the Dumble OD amps in a pedal eventually fail. The best I had was the Ethos OD overall, after this probably the Dumkudo. I also had a Jetter GSR and Zendrive.

Here's what gets me after a while - Good for low gained tones, once you try to maximize the gain the tones get all out of focus and weird sounding, it just sound good anymore. These pedals all add too much lower midrange which gets flabby and weird when the gain is cranked. At least with the Ethos you had some range, the others didn't.

For cleaner leads and such I would rather just use a compressor or Timmy, at least this way the amp will sound pretty much the same.
 

JoeB63

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
14,708
i recently acquired a ceriatone OTS and have a zendrive on my board...i don't like the OTS amp at all for distorted rhythm even with the mid boost...so the fact that the zendrive really doesn't bode well for rhythm is very similar to the amp it was modeled after. the dumble amplifier has been known for how touch sensitive and articulate it is (mostly for lead playing i.e. robben & larry). the zendrive is built specifically to give you these tones through some sort of 6v6/6l6 amplifier.

it does what its supposed to and does it very very well. if you don't like dumble...you won't like this pedal. it also cleans up very well with your guitar's volume knob...but again i only use this pedal on leads...not rhythm.

Yes, the Zendrive is the not the pedal for crunchy rhythm tones. It doesn't do that sound. It's a pedal for solos ---- and it stacks well with crunchy rhythm pedals like an OCD. It's maybe OK for dirty blues rhythm tones, but not the best for that either.
 

mentoneman

Senior Member
Messages
3,842
no pedal i've ever owned worked perfectly with every guitar and amp combination.

the dumble sound is so specific and requires a specific chain of events from hands/touch to guitar type/pickups to amp to speakers...like one of the guys said earlier...one player can make it come alive and another will just play right through it and not bond with it at all.

if you have a loose amp the zen helps tighten it if you tune it properly, while giving you the dumble-esque horn/chirp. if you have a tight amp the zen II makes it looser and saggier feeling. but don't expect it to turn every situation into a dumble.
if you have an amp that's already leaning towards a dumble type sound, the zen reinforces it. my carol ann OD2r loves it. my egnater tol 100 on cannel 2 loves it. my axe fx dumble sound loves it. my super champ xd sounds great with it but i like it better with the zen II on that amp.
 

GuitarToma

Member
Messages
2,336
I keep reading this thread and thinking, "What's wrong with you people? The Zen is the best pedal ever!!!"

But then I remember that we all have different things we like!

I've actually tried to replace the Zen on my board, but absolutely nothing else tickles my ear the way the Zen does. Rhythm & Lead. To my ear it cuts through the mix in a very defined & set apart way. It's a great blues to light rock sound.

Other than that I can't stand it. :)
 

Carol-AnnAmps

Member
Messages
4,862
the input cap is huge...lowering that will help get rid of the mushy/muddy issue and poor rhythm playing response.

simple mod but tearing up a pedal is probably not worth it for most people.

input cap: 47n instead of 470n will make the pedal much more versatile and less muddy.

also the voice knob when low adds bass, reduces mids and lowers gain. as you raise the voice knob it gets more mids and gain but at a certain point the bass becomes 'tinky' at least theoretically looking at the design and in my experiments with this and similar circuits.

this pedal could be a lot more versatile with an input cap and cap to ground after the voice knob on a switch selecting between different values for each IMO. that would give you a 'fat' sound with stock values and voice low or a more open and dynamic sound with 47n and a larger cap to ground giving you the ability to raise the voice knob (less resistance) while retaining full bass. at least that is my .02 on this pedal.

:)

The Zen is a cool design and I'm sure it was designed with the components and values it has for a specific end result. I don't think simple RC network theory is something the designer has an issue understanding.
Remember whatever low frequencies you filter out to ground earlier in the signal chain are impossible to recover at the fundamental level further down the line.
'Transparent' to me means you get the full range through as much of the signal chain as possible, one way or another. Sometimes you have divert really low frequencies from certain stages, and later in the signal chain you may want to lose some, but not before they have been 'processed'. The more frequencies you keep in the chain through the 'processing stages' the more complex the overdrive will be, as you end up with a wider array of harmonic overtones. Getting the right balance of order of odd and even harmonics creates the width or the voice of the unit or amp. Shaping the desired frequency response should be done as far down the chain as possible to acheive these type of results.

Be it a pedal or an amp putting a lower value cap in line at the beginning is a band aid and is used by many pedal and amp modders as a low fi quick fix, without taking in to consideration the entire chain. There are usually better ways of acheiving the same thing later in the circuit or by careful manipulations of frequency bands and processing them seperately. To a degree the old faithful TS does this in a kind of crude but effective way. It limits the frequencies below a knee of 720Hz from going through the clipping stages but mixes them back in later on. You don't really lose a whole lot of low end with a TS, you just gain a large amount of mid range which gives that appearence , which I think is that pedals party piece and why you would use one. Never understood the reason for 'flat mid' mods people do.....there are more appropriate designs for that.......but thats a whole different non-related debate.

Granted the lower value cap thing can work in some siuations where complexity of signal is not a consideration, but given what this pedal is supposed to acheive, I think it's design values are correct.

The earlier (non-HRM) Dumbles exhibit the same effect you mention for 'rock' rhythm playing, but for signal note lead lines they work well. In the same way you could start dropping cap values in that circuit and make an acceptable rock rhythm voice, but you will lose the voice, complexity and the intent of the amp. The circuit is just not designed for that and there are better approaches for that type of voice. Same with the Zen. Maybe just 'versatility' was not it's intended application.

Horses for courses.......
 
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BillyK

Member
Messages
2,582
There's no one pedal, amp or guitar that will satisfy all players.

Thank God! Because if this was the case, what would we do with all of our spare time when we are not playing? :)

I liked the Zen back in 2005 when I first bought it, but not enough to keep it. Same for the Mos2. Both sold.

A couple of years pass and I have this nagging tone in my head that I couldn't do with my existing pedal/amp combos, so I contacted Alf and bought a Zen2, thinking maybe it would have something "extra", but also that sound in my head. It did.

It took a little understanding of how the Zen works, but when I got it, the next thing I did was contact Alf to buy a regular Zen. Still have both to this day and both get rotation on my board. Nothing like 'em, IMO.

So I qualify for a person who didn't care for the Zen, but then became a Zen believer.

Regarding the Zen as a one-trick-pony, I am not so sure, maybe it's a little more than that. I can get dead-on RF tones, but somehow when EJ uses a Zen2 in his rig (running into 2 Fender DR's no less), it's 100% classic EJ with none of the RF tone happening. Amazing. IMO, the Voice control really defines what the Zen will do.
 

A440

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,836
I know there have been threads in the past with settings that folks used for the Zen.

I think it works best with P-90's and humbuckers, and really shows it's magic at higher volumes (in a band mix). I've basically run the knobs pretty close to flat. anyone else have some suggested settings they'd like to share?
 

snoof

Member
Messages
167
Shaping the desired frequency response should be done as far down the chain as possible to acheive these type of results.

In med to higher gain applications, I've found the opposite to be true in my experiences. But I'm just an intermediate builder/tinkerer, and you obviously have more experience than I. It seems like the cleaner the intended sounds, the greater the amount of low freq fundamentals and harmonics that can be allowed through. But that theory (cutting lows late in the chain) doesn't seem to hold when you turn the gain up. As you say though, this design probably had an specific purpose in mind. Right tool for the right job and all that.
 

mentoneman

Senior Member
Messages
3,842
robben's settings

zendrive.jpg
[/quote]

looks like he put dots where he originally sets it and then adjusts according to the room/amp..he had a super and a deluxe that night, with his blue flame paul
 




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