Durham Zia Drive - Not what I expected

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by nibus, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. nibus

    nibus Supporting Member

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    I just picked up a Zia Drive to try out from my local dealer (yeah, he's really cool and let's me take stuff home to try it out.) Plugged it in, turned it on, and "wow, that's not what i thought it would be..."

    "If you hate the feeling of sag in your fingers this is the box for you."

    "
    A very tight low compression overdrive pedal designed to be that perfect rhythm guitar box."

    I found it compressed and squishy sounding. It surprised me so much that I checked to make sure everything was connected properly on my board, but sure enough, everything was fine. I compared it side by side to my MJM Blues Devil which is the most un-compressed OD I've played just to verify that I wasn't losing my mind.

    Now don't get me wrong - it's a great sounding OD (very bright though - 9 o'clock was all I could stand on the tone control). But I must admit I was a little perplexed as to why Al would describe it as being uncompressed when it is so obviously more compressed than so many OD's on my board. In fact, I found it quite useful for leads with the gain maxed out.

    Any thoughts? Am I just crazy? Discuss...

    EDIT:

    After playing the Zia off and on this week, I have determined it is not as compressed as I originally thought. One thing that makes it sound more compressed is the fact that it is voiced for rythm work, ie there is not a lot of emphasis on mids. This makes it a great rythm pedal but it doesn't "pop" out like other medium gain pedals that have a TS mid emphasis. I think it is still more compressed than is advertised, but not as compressed as my first impression.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2008
  2. nibus

    nibus Supporting Member

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  3. John H

    John H Silver Supporting Member

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    I'd really like to try one. The clips I've heard, online, sound amazing - just what I seem to be looking for. Unless someone wants to trade one to me, however, I've just got to hope that Santa is good to me, this year.
     
  4. CWFurst

    CWFurst Member

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    This is been at the top of my list to try too. I've been waiting to justify the cash. I spend WAY too much on ODs.
     
  5. nibus

    nibus Supporting Member

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    It's a great sounding Overdrive, that's for sure. To me it even has some fuzz-like characteristics in its clipping. I was just puzzled as to why it sounded much more compressed than advertised.
     
  6. jtw

    jtw Member

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    I don't really find it compressed running humbuckers through a Dr. Z Carmen Ghia (?). Not debating what your ears are telling you at all, just noting my experience so far.

    I'll tell you that the bottom end feels like a tweed Fender to my fingers. I really like that though, may not be everybody's thing.
     
  7. shecfr

    shecfr Supporting Member

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    I have a Zia and usually play a Fender DRR or Super Amp....thru a Strat or Les Paul....on my rig it has very little compression. Try using a carbon battery not a power supply, maybe this might help....or take it back and exchange for another one.
     
  8. vintagecrunch

    vintagecrunch Senior Member

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    I think it is a great pedal that has very little compression to my ears... It just sounds like the sag of an amp to me, nothing more.
    Stones Tones for days!
     
  9. nibus

    nibus Supporting Member

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    Interesting - I'll try with a battery to see if that helps.

    I don't think it's an overly-compressed pedal, but it definitely has more compression than your typical TS, at least the one I played. I wonder if I got a dud?
     
  10. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    I have one and don't find it compressed at all. I have a MJM Blues Devil though and find it to be very compressed. So, it appears we definitely have different ears. The guitars and amps you're using will make a huge difference too. I used my Zia Drive with my Dr. Z today and it's anything but compressed to my ears.
     
  11. Dennis Rayburn

    Dennis Rayburn Supporting Member

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    I too don't hear any compression with mine. FWIW I run a Sniper GE-7 first in my chain so my signal is buffered. I've noticed this makes a huge difference with some pedals.
     
  12. acemcguire

    acemcguire Supporting Member

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    I just got mine and just got done playing it. I compared it side by side with my COT 50 Angus, which is another uncompressed overdrive that borders on a clean boost. I like the way it adds just a touch of mids and highs. It makes the signal come to life a little more. I also do think that it's NOT strictly a rhythm pedal though.
     
  13. crzyfngers

    crzyfngers Member

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    man, i mention one little thing about the zia drive and i get alan durham himself breaking my balls. where is he now??
     
  14. aldurham

    aldurham Member

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    Breaking your balls.... come on now, you must not be married!!
     
  15. aldurham

    aldurham Member

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    It will never be a typical Tube Screamer (THANK GOD!!!). Nibus, did someone tell you that it was TS styled pedal? Just curious. I am curious of what your rig is, and what pedals you are running. Have you tried plugging the Zia straight into your amp and eliminating anything else that may be causing the compression you are speaking of?
     
  16. aldurham

    aldurham Member

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    I agree it is not just a rhythm pedal by any means, it is a great rhythm pedal though. That is what I designed it to be, a pedal that you could dial up and leave on. Since designing the Zia, I now run it all the time, and am actually able to use the Sex Drive pedal as a boost, like it was designed to be used. Before the Zia, I would just leave my Sex Drive pedal on all the time like so many others do as well.
     
  17. nibus

    nibus Supporting Member

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    Hey Al, thanks for chiming in!

    No, I didn't think it was a typical TS at all - I knew you wouldn't do that to us! But from the descriptions that I read, I assumed that it would be a little less compressed and have more emphasis on the mids in order to "pop out" of the mix. What I found was that it had more compression and gain than I originally thought, and the EQ curve is pretty much flat (not a bad thing, especially for rythm). All of this wasn't a "bad" discovery, it just surprised me. The clipping has more hair than other low gain overdrives that i have played, in some ways reminding me of a low gain fuzz.

    My testing rig was a Rio Grande BBQ equipped Washburn going into a Sex Drive first, and then into the Zia Drive, and then into a Fender DeVille. The Sex Drive was set to no compression, everything at noon.

    What I really like about the Zia is if you push it with the Sex Drive you can get some really nice creamy leads - and I think it would be KILLER if you were able to incorporate more gain into the pedal for this very reason. It is a very unique sounding overdrive, and the clipping is very unique, at least to my ears.

    Its a great pedal, just not what I expected from the descriptions I had read.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2008
  18. aldurham

    aldurham Member

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    I would swap the order of the Zia and the Sex Drive. The SD boost your signal up to 200% this being in front of the Zia would cause it to saturate much quicker than it is designed. This would, like you said, give it more of a creamy sound, and more compressed.

    Secondly the DeVille is a very compressed amp on it's own, so this could be contributing to the compression you are hearing, though on all of the beta testing we have done using 6V6, 6L6, EL34 & EL84 amps we found minimum compression coming from the pedal. In all of the amps we tested, the bottom end tightened up, and a clear chime was heard on top. On EL84 amps, it really fattened them up. Yours is the first experience I have heard of where the Zia was described as compressed.

    Hope this helps some.
     
  19. nibus

    nibus Supporting Member

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    Cool, I will try that. I'm sure the Sex Drive could definitely be contributing to the compression I have heard. I'll switch them around and see what happens!

    Thanks for the info Al!
     
  20. crzyfngers

    crzyfngers Member

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    been married to the same woman 26 years. they're very sensitive.
     

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