MI Blue Boy vs. Zendrive (compare & contrast)

beachwail

Member
Messages
235
Can anybody discuss the differences in tones between these two? Are they essentially overlapping in many categories, but also unique in some others?
 

erksin

Senior Member
Messages
23,127
I don't have a Zen, but I do have a Mosferatu along with the BB. Tonally, they are different - the BB has much more Bass on tap, and has MUCH more gain available than the Zendrive. Depending on how you set the trim pots and which chip is used, the BB can do anything from a TS to an MXR Distortion +, a super versatile pedal. IMO, the Mosferatu is not as flexible as the BB (I'm sure the Zen can do more since it has the Voice control), but it does have a certain tone that I love that I can't get out of the BB - hard to explain.

The only things they share IMO is the same killer response to pick attack and the cool harmonic content.
 

BmoreTele

Member
Messages
1,138
I have the MI Audio Blues Prototype and the Zendrive,

The Zen is a low gain OD with a ton of sustain and and sweet EQ range. It covers a choice piece of territory and does it exceedingly well.

The MI Proto can get more gain and has a ton of volume. It has a little TS mid hump, but the tone control really works.

I'd say the MI is a boutique tubescreamer, but louder and less harsh. The Zen does the transparent thing and is smooooooth with great sustain.

Check the soundclips - they are two different beasts.

http://www.miaudio.com/
http://www.hermidaaudio.com/
 

lv

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,026
BB has much much more gain. Zendrive does the lower gain robben ford thing better, but the BB with the internal trimmers is more versatile, can be creamier, and smoother. I like the tone of the Zendrive, but it really is a pretty low gain box to my ears.
 

gkelm

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,758
I agree with Lou in that the BB is much more versatile...I think it's also capable of a bigger, more open tone.
Greg
 

beachwail

Member
Messages
235
Very cool. Thanks for the responses guys.

I'm looking forward to trying out the Blue boy (one on the way).

I really like my Zen for dark-ish tones, it sounds best with
the voicing not too high IMO.
 

Matt Gordon

Senior Member
Messages
947
Originally posted by beachwail
Very cool. Thanks for the responses guys.

I'm looking forward to trying out the Blue boy (one on the way).

I really like my Zen for dark-ish tones, it sounds best with
the voicing not too high IMO.
Mine sounds the best with the VOICING kind of high, and the TONE low, but I set it for max gain. My sweet spot if about 3:00 on the voicing, 9:00 on the tone (which is almost all the way off), full gain and volume just about unity+2. I guess they're all a little different. This is through my Aiken Sabre with the channel bright on, amp treble set to about 9:00. I don't like the darker tones it gets. Its a little too undefined with the voicing too low, at least through my rig.
 

beachwail

Member
Messages
235
Matt--

My amp is quite fendery, sorta tweed-like. Z-28 (4x10).
I play all openback cabs, and have plenty of bright, cutting type of tones. I run my Zen at about 12oclock all the way around much of the time. Too much gain muddies up multi-string playing in my case. I've been using it primarily as a rhythm sound to add crunch and sustain. Sometimes a lower voicing and higher tone setting gets a bit of a marshall-esque slightly-scooped tone that sounds great in the mix. It just grinds and growls perfectly for my style.

FWIW I have also dialed in great lead tones, bright tones, etc. It's just a great pedal! I should get another one and set them each for their own character :) The voicing at higher settings does remind me a bit of a TS/Fulldrive type of sound though--and possibly that is why I tend to tweak it...

Hoping that the Blue Boy impresses me. Should have it by end of the week.
 

WailinGuy

Member
Messages
1,286
guess who this belongs to?
Robben Ford.

At least I think that's the name I see scribbled on the front of that Boss pedal sitting on top of the Fender SR in the second picture.

Please tell us about the gig where those pictures were taken. Thanks!
 

diatonicdude

Member
Messages
60
What I have noticed about the Zendrive in this picture are the position marks for each knob. The knobs aren't actually set to these positions either in this picture, which is logical because each venue will require its own fine tuning of all the equipment, so I wonder why they are there?

I know its a bit sad to try and figure these kind of things out, but I suppose it is topical for this forum!!! I'm gonna pose this one to Daved Kohls (Robben's tech and production manager; nice guy too!) on the RF forum, and see what he comes back with. I'll also ask him if this Super Reverb has anything special about it, i.e. is it stock.

FYI, the boss pedal is a RV-3 which, like the whole rig in this shot, is a substitute to Robben's primary Dumble & t.c. electronic 2290 delay (famously set to 116 ms for slap back!!!!) rig. I took a few snaps of his gear in 2002, some of which can now be found here....

http://www.dhenderson.com/Robben Photos/index.htm

I'll be back...........

Cheers,

DD
 

BillyK

Member
Messages
2,582
Interesting thread!

My Blue Boy has been in storage since my Zen and Mos arrived some time ago. I'll have to break it back out to compare.

One thing I do notice about both the Zen and Mos is the mid boost and a more "closed" tone. They sound great, but I definately hear these qualities. When stacked, the Mos and Zen provide the most insane bloom that I've never heard from other effects, stacked or not. Plus, they are QUIET when stacked - I still don't know how Alf does this!

I just so happened to order a bunch of new opamps last week to try in the BB, so I think the BB has been in the back of my mind. I'll report back with what I find.
 

erksin

Senior Member
Messages
23,127
BillyK said:
Interesting thread!

My Blue Boy has been in storage since my Zen and Mos arrived some time ago. I'll have to break it back out to compare.

One thing I do notice about both the Zen and Mos is the mid boost and a more "closed" tone. They sound great, but I definately hear these qualities. When stacked, the Mos and Zen provide the most insane bloom that I've never heard from other effects, stacked or not. Plus, they are QUIET when stacked - I still don't know how Alf does this!

I just so happened to order a bunch of new opamps last week to try in the BB, so I think the BB has been in the back of my mind. I'll report back with what I find.
I'd be interested to hear your findings. I kept the BB (w/LM833 chip) and sold my Mos 3-knobber - the BB sounded less constricted with my set-up.
 

mentoneman

Senior Member
Messages
2,963
Jim Salman said:
Robben Ford.

At least I think that's the name I see scribbled on the front of that Boss pedal sitting on top of the Fender SR in the second picture.

Please tell us about the gig where those pictures were taken. Thanks!

friday night at wild west guitar "voodoo lounge" in riverside CA.


mike landau and robben ford in concert taking turns playing each other's songs. one of the coolest guitar shows i've seen in my life.
then yesterday RF did a 3 hour clinic at the same place. i got to ask him about his amps and tones...COOL.
 




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