How about the Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by bard2dbone, Sep 17, 2006.

  1. bard2dbone

    bard2dbone Member

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    I'm a bass player who plays AT everything else. But lately I do most of my writing on guitar. In traditional bass player fashion I have mostly avoided effects, except for a short Pino Palladino-esque slapping-on-fretless-with-chorus-and-octaver period that we try to forget and rarely speak of.

    But now, since I'm doing more guitar stuff, I need a few more sounds than just the amp will give me. I have mostly decided on a Vox ToneLab, but it is lacking in the overdrive area.

    I want a pedal that has a true bypass, if possible. But I NEED a pedal that gives a warm gutsy burning tone. I don't like the harsh metal square wave distortion. I prefer the tone I used to get from an amp I have that no longer works. It was like a slightly overworked tweed Fender Bassman. It's a great blues/classic rock tone and a serviceable jazz tone. That's about the range I prefer. Think the first generation Mesa/Boogie's before the master volume that let them get the Santana tone.

    So, the guys at my local music store say "We don't carry them. But it sounds like you want a Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive." To which I said "Uhhhh...what?" because I had not heard of Voodoo Labs before that moment.

    Do they even still make the Sparkle Drive? Can it give me a range of tones from slightly gutsy and warm to a serious tube burn in the range of an old Bassman amp?

    Help me guys. I am mostly clueless, here. I can answer your bass questions, but I don't know what to do with my guitar/amp/effect questions. I guess that's why they're still questions.:crazy
     
  2. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    It does the TS808 tone and a fat clean boost EXTREMELY well. Unique because you can cascade the two effects and create a clean tone with the amount of hair you desire. Very cool pedal. I'm convinced if they put it in a prettier box it would be selling for $300 and back ordered.
     
  3. DejavuDave

    DejavuDave Member

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    The Sparkle Drive is an interesting idea: separate balances for wet and dry signal which lets you maintain some of the original tone in the mix. I used one briefly this year until I discovered the Xotic line of boosters and od's and I've been hooked on those ever since. I've been through several booster/od/distortion pedals this year, on an actual hunt for what works best for me. It's come down to the Xotics, Maxon OD-9 and SD-9 with Analog Man mods, and the Analog Man King of Tone. But if you want your strat or paul to sound like a strat or paul, then I recommend the Xotics.

    RC Booster, clean boost to just a hint of gain, extremely transparant, best used to push your tubes into the hot zone or to simply "open up" the tone.

    AC Booster, clean boost to medium gain booster, a little compression compared to the RC, sounds great alone, better yet when stacked into the RC.

    BB Preamp, clean boost to high gain, more compression but not too much, sounds good at lower levels but amazing at medium to high levels.
     
  4. drone62

    drone62 Active Member

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    im sure im gonna catch some **** for this but i swear by the sparkle drive.ive tried my best to prove there is something better out there and i keep coming back to the SD.in the last 4 months ive tried-eternity(didnt gell with my rig)cot 50(interesting pedal-again just didnt add anything to my rig)-several different barber od's(great pedals just didnt bring anything to the party that wasnt already on my board)and several others.right now i have a timmy-klon-rat-ltd-and hotcake on my board along with the sparkle.guess what-the sparkle gets more use than any of them.the key is the blend control.if you set it just right its pure magic.it sounds alot like eric johnsons semi distorted tone.sorta like your running a clean and dirty amp together.as you can probably tell i highly recommend the SD.beware though-the switch that comes stock really sucks.ive owned two and the switch went bad on both.finally got a tech to put in a quality one and havent had a problem since.good luck in your tone quest
     
  5. badger6

    badger6 Member

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    I have been running one for years on my board, very good pedal. I use it towards the end of my chain as a lead boost pedal as I am already running a lil china cot50 (its on all the time) towards the front of my chain. I also have one of their tremlo pedals...they seem to make good stuff, the pedals feel solid and have never failed on me in years of service.
     
  6. Occam

    Occam Member

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    I love my sparkle drive...true though it was modded (before I traded for it) by Robert Keeley but it's my #1 drive. If you want a flat response it then it's probably not the best choice...but I love the mid-boost here. Also the low-end is bigger and tighter than a standard tube screamer. I use mine in front of a dirty Matamp and it's just the best of many things that I've tried.
     
  7. Oddos

    Oddos Member

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    Super cool pedal, and easy to get modded too.
     
  8. Chadley

    Chadley Member

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    I love my Sparkle Drive. It keeps on sneaking its way back onto my board. My switch is giving me some grief and the LED went out so I thinking about rehousing it in a new eclosure and changing it so the components aren't PCB mounted anymore. It sounds amazing though. I use mine for a clean boost and I can dial in a certain amount of grit with the TS808 side depending on the needs of the music or what mood I am in. Highly recommended.
     
  9. TieDyedDevil

    TieDyedDevil Member

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    The SD is very good at what it does, which is to blend a dry signal with a tubescreamer-ish overdrive. I initially bought a SD because I wanted an OD that didn't "flatten out" as I increased the intensity of my picking-hand attack. When combined with an amp that has some natural overdrive at the volumes you want to use, the SD is a great choice for fattening up your lead tones.

    If you ever have to turn your amp down to where it's playing totally clean, then the SD will sound like a tubescreamer mixed with a dry signal. That's a totally different sound than when the amp is adding it's own distortion.
     
  10. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    David Hildalgo of Los Lobos has toured with a Sparkle Drive for years.
     
  11. uberschall

    uberschall Supporting Member

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    I use my Keeley Sparkledrive with my acoustic to add crunch, and on bass to add some hair, and you don't obscure the pure tone of either instrument- works great! BTW, the pedal was perfectly fine without the mod, and I don't need the extra gain and saturation, so in hindsight, I would have just kept it stock.
     
  12. bard2dbone

    bard2dbone Member

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    I think I'm going to risk it and get one.
     
  13. whowasthursday

    whowasthursday Member

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    +1 on the Eric Johnson sound with some tape delay.
     
  14. Blues Wail

    Blues Wail Member

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    i have owned 2 sparkledrives, one was stolen! top notch sound in my opinion. my second one had the cursed f/switch prob, an easy fix but it fell to shelf status at the moment. too many toy's!!:AOK
     
  15. LVC

    LVC Senior Member

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    #1 pedal on my board ---- mine has the Keeley Mod. It plays nice with any kind of amp, any kind of guitar --- any kind of pedal you want to stack into it. It loves a Langraff hanging on its butt.

    I use it primarily as a clean boost with a little hair (think Stones Beast of Burden as done by "little Texas").

    I saw all the threads on this board on how great the RC Boost was -- well I purchased one --- (wanted something with a smaller footprint for new board I was doing) guess what -- after playing with the RC for 30 min it was off my board and the sparkle was back on it. --

    Not a sexy looking pedal --- but it is the one pedal I can say that I use 75% of the time when I play out --
     
  16. david eaton

    david eaton Member

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    I'll add my voice, I have one and love it. I set the clean knob at about the 12 noon position and I have a really nice cruncy rhythm sound.
     

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