Durham Sexdrive review A+

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by gtrfinder, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. gtrfinder

    gtrfinder Supporting Member

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    My apologies if this information is posted somewhere else. Please let me know if it is a duplication

    I recently replaced my Xotic RC Booster with a Durham Sexdrive pedal to see if there was any appreciable difference, or if I preferred one over the other.

    First things first. This pedal is SOLID. It is heavy, but build to stand some serious abuse, much more than I'll probably ever provide it.
    The Durham website says that full-size potentiometers are used in this pedal, and while I can't say where that would benefit me, I can say that they turn more smoothly than most pedal knobs. They take a bit more torque to wist, but seem to stay where you put them, which could be good when using a cramped pedalboard if you have concerns of accidentally moving something with your foot.
    I like the large chicken-head knobs for the gain and volume controls. It is easier for me to tell where they are set while standing than the RC Boosters smaller controls. The tone knob is smaller than the other two, but works the same as the others. A smooth turn and a fairly full sweep.
    It has a mini switch above the tone knob designed to add some compression if desired.

    Now the sound. Well, it is a booster pedal, and not really intended to change your sound that much. That said I tried it in each of the 3 modes:

    For my examples I used my Duesenberg Starplayer into a 65 Amps London with Avatar 2x12 with a Celstion Blue and G12H30. This amp is designed to rock out at "relatively low volumes...", but is still pretty loud. The pickups of the Starplayer have alot of output, so the amp starts to break up fairly early, but I tried to keep it as clean as possible for the demonstrations. Volumes on about 3 on the LO inputs. Sexdrive volume was set at just above unity.

    NOTE (The website states the pedal is non true-bypass, but that there is little to no tone change with it in line. I could not tell a difference when the pedal was bypassed, so it appears to be true for me.)

    No Compression - Very open sounding. Just seems to make it a little bigger, or louder if so desired without changing things too much. Sounds good, like I turned them amp from 3 to maybe 5. This would make a great method for a strict clean boost.

    Soft Compression - This added a little "stick" to the sound. Still made the amp sound like it was turned up from 3 to 5, but I got some of the compression that I get with the amp driven harder. I'm really liking the pedal at this point, and it is hard for me to continue my review without widdling away on the guitar.

    Hard Compression - This is where the pedal changed for me. The pedal really had the amp cooking at this point. It felt like the amp got turned up to about 6 or 7, which is where I usually set it, but the overall volume could be controlled by the Sexdrive, while keeping the feel intact. I had been looking for a compressor pedal for some time now, but don't think I'll need one as the Sexdrive does everything I'd like a compressor to anyways.

    I didn't have a ton of time to play with it last night, but so far so good. I'm eagerly anticipating getting the amp up to gig volumes and experimenting. For now I'm going to leave it in the Soft Compresison mode and leave the amp at 3.

    Congratulations Mr. Durham. Great pedal! I'll be checking out the Mucho Boost and Crazy Horse in the future as well.

    If anyone has any other questions please let me know and I'll do my best to answer.
     
  2. 3 Mile Stone

    3 Mile Stone Silver Supporting Member

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    Nice, that sounds like it would make a really cool alterative to all out compressor pedal for juicing up clean sounds. You mentioned the RC booster. How did it fair?
     
  3. gtrfinder

    gtrfinder Supporting Member

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    I can see how it would be great (for me at least) for a high wattage amp without a lot of natural compression. I like a good clean sound as much as the next guy, but I don't really use pristine clean that often. For me most of the time it comes down to a matter fo "feel". I like the way compression feels, to a point, under my fingers. I like a little "stick" to the notes, but not so much as to make everything squashed.
    I like it better than the Keeley Compressor I had been using, which seems to squash everything (especially humbuckers) unless the volume was turned up quite a bit past unity, which is not something I really wanted to do.

    The RC Booster is a great clean boost as well, but does not have the compresison abilities of the Sexdrive. They sound similar to me, but feel different, if that makes sense. For now I prefer the feel of the Sexdrive over the RC Booster.

    Hope that helps
     
  4. nibus

    nibus Member

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    The Sex Drive really is an amazing boost. I put it before all my OD's and leave it on all the time. It adds a ton of clarity.
     
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  5. radcliff

    radcliff Member

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    I got the SD to compare it to my RC, and while I've been using the Sexdrive ever since, I think they are both great pedals with different feels. I have not sold the RC.

    I think I like the tone knob on the SD better than the RC knobs for creating cut, but I like the RCs ability to produce a fat mid hump.
     
  6. welcometoashley

    welcometoashley Member

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    if the SD had a smaller footprint, i'd definitely buy it... i tried it out before and was very impressed, but would have needed to buy a bigger pedalboard....
     
  7. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    It is the best sounding and FEELING boost pedal I have ever tried, and I have owned a bunch. I still have my very low serial # Klon, but much prefer the Sexdrive. The tone and the compression choices are what set it apart, IMO.
     
    James likes this.
  8. gtrfinder

    gtrfinder Supporting Member

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    Agreed
    I've never tried a Klon, and before I got the Sexdrive I had considered shelling out the dough for a used one. I saw the Durham pedal and thought I'd give it a whirl.
    I'm very happy with it. Especially the feel of the pedal. It just feels great under my fingers.

    I've pretty much left the tone control at or near 12:00, and have not had much need to move it anywhere. Right now I have the pedal sitting right before my delay and after my Fulltone '69 and Catalinbread Silver Kiss.
    The Sexdrive provides a volume boost and some tone shaping at the end of the chain without overloading the input of the fuzz and distortion pedals.
     
  9. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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    When they say they use a bright LED, they mean it. Don't do what I did once - I was holding the pedal in front of me in a dark room and I plugged in the guitar cable. The pedal had been left 'on' and the LED was blinding coming on unexpectedly right in my eyes - really disconcerting. That being said - I love the pedal and I love the LED when it's on the floor, not a foot from my face.
     
  10. Chuck Snider

    Chuck Snider Supporting Member

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    You can literaly use the SD for a flashlight if your power goes off.. just plug a patch cord in it and find your way around in the dark! Great boost by the way
     
  11. radcliff

    radcliff Member

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    Ya I use its glow to light up the rest of my board on a dark stage.
     
  12. aldurham

    aldurham Member

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    I love it when I see people that hear what I hear. I do get people that tell me they love the pedal, but their "Tone" knob seems to not be working proberly. I really should have labeled the "Tone" knob as "Presence" because that is what it is. OK I have just leaked the secret to the masses.

    Thanks to everybody for the kind words towards the Sex Drive pedal. :AOK
     
  13. tozum

    tozum Member

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    Sex Drive is my ultimate drive booster. I use TS808 or Klon type overdrive pedals for the main drive and the SD comes along with them very well. Very well balanced tone by itself too.
     
  14. 22Top

    22Top Member

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    Serious necro-bump!

    But awesome pedal. I let one slip away, and have regretted it since.
     
  15. thesjkexperienc

    thesjkexperienc ^^^ I made this guitar^^^ Supporting Member

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    I had one of the first small box versions and it could be too bright with my old setup. But, there is a new version out that seems to solve those problems I had with the old one and the amps I'm using now are darker.
     
  16. John H

    John H Silver Supporting Member

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    Ditto. My big box Sex Drive is among a very few pedals that I'll NEVER get rid of. If space was an issue, I'd buy a bigger pedalboard, just to fit the Sex Drive in.
     
  17. Glitch Magnet

    Glitch Magnet Supporting Member

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    Like the OP, I graduated from an RC Boost to the Sex Drive. The RC was bland. The SD sounds alive. Its grit character is more effective to make the boost effect jump out. It actually sounds good as a light OD.

    But, I've recently moved on to a J Coloccia id. The SD adds some girth in the lower mids that muddies things through my AC15. I didn't need the compression either, so the id, with its 3 band EQ, is a perfect boost for me.
     
  18. fool

    fool Uncouth Savage Gold Supporting Member

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    It's just right.
     
  19. theanalogdream

    theanalogdream Supporting Member

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    I loved mine so much, that I got a second one. With an amp that's cooking, it's so great at giving you a boost, but keeping things focused, and not falling apart. I was late to the party, but glad I found this pedal!!
     
  20. nibus

    nibus Member

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    I ditched mine in favor of a Mucho Boosto. Works better with single coils I think.
     
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