Barber Direct Drive vs. ProCo Rat

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by hacker, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. hacker

    hacker Member

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    I have been using my Rat 2 for heavy lead tones and a Barber LTD or tubescreamer for low gain. I was thinking of replacing the Rat with the Direct Drive based on the hot reviews and sound clips of this pedal (I have never played one).

    I love the Rat, but sometimes i think it gets too smooth. The LTD has a much more open sound and high end harmonics. Does the direct drive have this same quality?
     
  2. Tripower455

    Tripower455 Member

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    I've got a Keeley modded Rat and a Direct Drive right next to each other on my board. I really like them both, but I am considering just using one or the other as they are similar enough sounding and I could use the space for another pedal. The problem is that I can't choose!

    The Direct Drive definitely does the Marshall thing into my clean Hiwatts. The attack is softer and more compressed than the rat, but seems to sustain better, and the upper mid hamonics are really nice. The Rat is grittier, almost fuzz like even at lower distortion levels and has a cleaner, less compressed attack.

    I play in a classic rock cover band, and need to cover a lot of ground, and I am trying to get away from too many similar pedals on the board. I primarily play humbucker and P-90 Les Pauls and SGs.

    The DD's aren't too spendy. Definitely the best distortion pedal for the $$ I've tried. I'd snag one used and try it out. You can flip it pretty easily and not lose much, if any cash if you get a used one.

    I'd be interested in someone elses opinion of these to pedals side by side.
     
  3. hacker

    hacker Member

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    Tripower,

    I know the Rat can get into fuzz territory, but I keep mine set for more of an OD sound. I get plenty of sustain from it.

    My Rat is does sound compressed at these settings (filter at about 3:00)

    I am playing a stock American Strat or a tele with hums through either a Pro Jr. or Silverface Vibrolux, with the Pro Junior being my main live amp. I love the natural OD of the Pro Jr, so I am looking for the pedal that colors the sound the least.
     
  4. Tripower455

    Tripower455 Member

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    They both pretty much color the sound IME, but that's what I use those types of pedals for. I know it's almost cliche around here, but the OCD should work well for you. I use mine for my basic light OD tone, with the gain almost off and unity volume into a clean amp. It sounds even better into a slightly breaking up amp. It doesn't color the sound too much, or get compressed until you start cranking the gain and even then, it is less than the DD or Rat.

    It's my go to, basic classic rock sound.


    Where are you in FL? If you're near Naples, you're welcome to come over and try out my pedals.......
     
  5. HHB

    HHB Member

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    replaced my Rat w a DD a few years ago, more amp-like response as opposed to the Rat
     
  6. hacker

    hacker Member

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    Bill, how are you? Did you record the Big Block Dodge CD (the one with Eric's Johnson on it) with your Rat?

    Tri-I had a v2 OCD and I liked it, but I didn't like the way it behaved with my Fender amps-so I sold it. I haven't tried the lastest version, but it is on my wish list.
     
  7. Tripower455

    Tripower455 Member

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    Yeah, I don't really like the OCD with my Twin or Super either, but I haven't found ANY OD that I like with the Twin.....

    I've got a V3 after I messed up my V2, which I loved. I didn't like the 3 at first, but now, after some pedal rearranging, it is great.
     
  8. AshlandBump

    AshlandBump Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a Barber DD and Vodka-modded Rat next to each other on my board. I like them both -- the Rat has a harder edge to it, more of a distortion box, depending on how it's set. The DD is smoother and more like a highly-overdriven amp. Two different flavors, I couldn't say which one is better, but that's why I kept both.
     
  9. hacker

    hacker Member

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    ok, looks like there'll be a DD in my future.


    Tri-I am in West Palm Beach, a bit of a drive from Naples!
     
  10. imguitardan

    imguitardan Member

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    I have both and agree with Hacker about how to set up the Rat. I have a stock small box w/ LM308 chip & the Kelley mod big box Rat and just got a DD the other day. The DD's great but the Rat sounds way more "open" to me. Set the Rat with the VOL as loud as you can stand it, the FILTER at about 2 or 3 o'clock (this is a really complex knob...find the sweet spot for yr rig), & set the GAIN at about 9 o'clock for small box (11 o'clock for big box) and you get a great open OD tone. The DD is voiced more like a TS (but better). Mine has no internal trip pots as it's an older model. I'd prefer more treble so I may have to do the "open air" mod from the Barber site. (anyone done this?) I don't see the DD as being more "open" than the Rat but it's a great tone (the gain of a Rat with the voice of a better tuned TS9). I can get it to sound almost like my Lovepedal Eternity (but less focused). Hope that helps. I've had tons of boutique pedals and still think the Rat (w/ a LM308 op amp) is one of the best. You just have to set it up a little less conventionally.
     
  11. ToneGrail

    ToneGrail Member

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    If you think the Rat is too smooth, the Direct Drive is way smoother. You probably want to go the other direction and get something grittier in that case.
     
  12. HHB

    HHB Member

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    the BBD CD was all RAT, I still love em but the DD is less compressed to me, frankly for "my" tone I'll use the RAT, I've been doing classic/modern rock cover for the last few years and the DD just sounds better on the covers to my ear
     
  13. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    I was not aware that the direct drive was capable of achieving that much gain. I aways thought it was a lower gain pedal.
     
  14. LouRossi

    LouRossi Member

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    So, the DD has less gain then the RAT? So, it would be closer to the ZV box of rock?
     
  15. musickbox

    musickbox Supporting Member

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    Actually the DD sustains better IMO than the Rat does. I looked at the DD as more of an overdrive with lots of sustain. The Rat is a heavy like a Distortion should be. It's Fuzz characteristics also gives a sense of an open sound. The DD to my ears sounded more amplike to my ears. The Rat however can do everything the DD ca, but it's a different flavor. I don't know if any of that made sense.
     
  16. A440

    A440 Silver Supporting Member

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    both are versatile pedals, but I feel the DD is more on the OD side of the fence in comparo to a Rat

    even running at high gains, the DD has lower gain than a Rat
     
  17. 89strat

    89strat Member

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    I can go back and forth with the two of them. The Rat probably cuts through better because of it's fuzz like sizzle to it and open sounding-ness. The DD has a nice warm singing mid range that makes notes jump off the fretboard fairly easy. I have them both side by side A/B'ng them myself, and I can't decide which I like better. I've also thrown the OCD, crunch box, and GT500 into the mix also, and so far I like the DD better than all of them, except maybe the Crunch box which is cool also.
     
  18. jdawg666

    jdawg666 Member

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    I have a Brown Rabbit (Rat derivative with 3-way clipping switch) and a DD side by side as well. Though the brown rabbit can be set up to get a similar tone to the DD, the midrange is still quite different, with the DD having a more prominent midrange and a more traditional, amp-like response. A Rat has a slightly fuzzy but extremely musical top-end. I personally don't consider the Rat a smooth pedal, though it can be tweaked to sound like so. A DD IS a pedal that I'd consider smooth.

    I love both pedals -- they're very "easy" to play and not "stiff", if this makes any sense.

    Maybe try a Keeley mod first to give your Rat more versatility. I think you'll be happy with the Keeley mod, at the very least. And worst case if you don't like it, it's easy to flip because, really, the Keeley Rat is one of the better OD/Dists out in the market today.
     
  19. Softpaw

    Softpaw Member

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    I have a old small box LM308 Rat which I set exactly the same way. I really like that tone. But that's the ONLY setting that's useable for me. (Volume must be fairly loud to make it work, and not sound thin).

    A few questions:

    What exactly are the Keeley Rat mods? Does it make the Rat significantly more versatile? Does the Keeley Mod include putting in a LM308? (Can you put a LM308 easily into any Rat?)


    Are there any other pedals that have that classic small box Rat tone (set as you describe) PLUS a wider range of useable gain, eq etc.?
     
  20. imguitardan

    imguitardan Member

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    The Keeley mods do included installing a LM308 (which is integral to that great Rat sound). Other than that and the 3 way switch, I don't think it sounds much diff than stock. The 3 way mostly just gives you volume and treble boosts. I use my Keely Rat in "stock" mod. But, I really like a Rat so no complaints with that. Don't expect the Keely mod to work wonders (unless you don't already have an LM308 op amp chip). Unless you're already skilled at mods/small exact soldering, I woundn't try to install a 308 myself.
     

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