Pearl Drive vs. Zen vs. Fuchs

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by DannyG, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. DannyG

    DannyG Member

    Jul 14, 2008
    I'm curious as to what everyone thinks of these pedals.
    I have to be careful here. I endorse Fuchs. I love the the Plush Drive. I like the Zen Drive. All fantastic pedals. But after A/Bing the Zen and the OceanEFX Pearl Drive, I thought the Pearl was warmer and smoother with a little more gain if needed.

    What do you guys think?

    I hear Corby is making the Pearl in a smaller case to save pedal board space. Awesome idea. I think Joe Bonamassa was the one who suggested that...not sure.

    I love killer tone...who doesn't? I bought the Fuchs looking for the ultimate D amp. BUT...I also like the fatter EJ sound, Joe Bonamassa etc. I don't want to go with a multi amp setup yet. So I searched and tried about two dozen OD, Distortion or Fuzz pedals in every combination to achieve these sounds w one amp.

    The Pearl Drive and the Clean Boost hitting the Fuchs hard really nails that big fat EJ, JB sound.
  2. DaveG

    DaveG Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2005
    High Desert, SoCal
    I dig both the Zen & the Pearl, haven't tried the Fuchs. The Pearl Drive responds much better to picking dynamics & can get more Marshall-y than the Zendrive, but the Zen has more of that great "snarl." Both are keepers for me, and they are fantastic together (Pearl -> Zen).

    And it's cool that Corby is going to shrink it. I sure wish he would've put the Pearl Drive in a small box to begin with... :hide :)
  3. Guitarded25

    Guitarded25 Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2009
    Reno, Nevada
    Bump! I'm curious about the Plush drive too!
  4. WailinGuy

    WailinGuy Member

    Aug 30, 2003
    Silver Spring
    I own a very early Pearl Drive (#0004, large enclosure), and it has remained one of my very favorite low- to medium-gain drive pedals. I like how the circuit is totally unique -- it uses 4 discrete JFET transistors and no op-amp or clipping diodes (definitely not a TS-clone, by any stretch of the imagination), and I think that has a lot to do with its very dynamic and smooth, natural tone. It sounds great through a 100% clean amp, and sounds (and feels) even more realistic and impressive through a louder amp on the verge of overdrive.

    So is the Pearl Drive more of a D-style pedal or more vintage Marshall? I'm not sure, but I think the MIDS knob can help you get reasonably close to one or the other (higher settings are more aggressive and Marshall-y). The amp you use will make a big difference also (of course). (Pearl into a blackface Fender might satisfy a lot of players jonesing for a very good D approximation.) Ultimately, the Pearl has it's own thing going, but I'd say it sounds warm, smooth, refined, and very tube-like, especially for a pedal that has no tubes in it.
  5. Lucky Dog Guitars

    Lucky Dog Guitars Member

    Nov 28, 2006
    Foothills of Eastern Tennessee
    The Pearl is a great smooth/warm pedal. I use it for a lot of modern country. I actually have an extra one I got for backup for sale if anyone is interested.

    But seriously, the Pearl is one of the best medium gain drives Ive ever tried. Cleans up very good too
  6. ford

    ford Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2006
    south of Houston, TX
    Got an email today showing one of the small box protos... standard pedal size AND the jacks on the top.. will save lots of real estate on the board... and provide some sweet sounds.
  7. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

    May 18, 2004
    I know they're not typically marketed or used as a D-style pedal, but I gotta' tell ya, I have an Extreme Cream in which I converted the "Warm" channel into another "Hot" channel (with a part from Andy) so that I have two original Creams in one box and it is, by far, my favorite OD pedal of all time. I have owned/tried all of the D-style pedals out there and kept the Jetter GSR, but the EC is magic. It feels like the best amp you've ever played, has full but tight, super articulate lows while also retaining fullness on the high strings and, unlike most pedals I own, it has way more gain than I typically ever require and it is all totally usable. This pedal has a gorgeous 3-D like quality that makes all my other pedals sound flat and stale by comparison and, unlike many other pedals, does not favor one PUP type over another. It's also every bit as smooth as the GSR, but also has this huge harmonic complexity thing going on, almost like the pedal also has reverb or something. I don't how Andy and crew did it.

    Ironically, I like it better into my Allen Accomplice and Maz 18 than my Fuchs HRM and Quinn HRM clean channels, but this could just be because I typically use less clean preamp gain in the D-styles than in the other two.

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