Sarno Earth Drive Owners: What's it like?

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
I know, comparing dirt boxes in prose gets us into "cork sniffing" terminology... But let's throw caution to the wind here & risk a little ridicule ;)

Can you Earth Drive users who have had time to compare the unit to other drives please chime in with some direct comparisons?

Specifically , I'd like input regarding the difference you hear between the Earth Drive and a stock TS808. I know the two drives are not based on the same circuit, but hearing the two compared by those with experience of both will help me understand the Earth Drive better. I know what I am looking for in relation to a TS808, and it makes a great reference point for IC based ODs. (Is the Sarno IC based? That's an assumption on my part... Sound is significant to me here though, not circuit specifics...)

Compression level? Clipping character? Frequency response? What are your opinions?

I've listened to all available sound samples on the site as well as YouTube, so I'm really just looking for experiential input. I have had plenty of other ODs & am familiar with a lot of the main players, so if you can drop some other comparisons that would be helpful as well!
 

ChaseTMP

Member
Messages
1,992
Nels Cline (Wilco), feels his Earth Drive is a great substitute for his Klon. The Earth Drive, is true-bypass, though...
 

Steve Hotra

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,152
I own one, and bought it to play with my pedal steel guitar. Brad Sarno has developed a lot of products for pedal steel players.
But, I started using it with my other electrics ( see my sig) so I wanted a pedal that wouldn't mask the original tone of the guitar, yet add a little bit of OD.
I compare it to with I have:
Paisley OD
Fulltone FD 2
Euphoria DIY pedal.
My take is that it's super responsive to your playing, and I believe its unique in its tonal quality.
It's a keeper.
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
Nels Cline (Wilco), feels his Earth Drive is a great substitute for his Klon. The Earth Drive, is true-bypass, though...
It was this Nels Cline quote that initially piqued my interest. I can't get along with the buffer on a Klon style circuit.

Great input so far guys... Anyone else have any comparisons?
 

mabnotes

Supporting Member
Messages
634
Compared to an 808? The ED:

-Cuts less bass
-Less mids added
-Has more and less drive available with the entire range sounding really nice
-Has more volume available
-Works wonderfully as a real-clean boost
-Has a tone control that has a wider, and IMO more useable, range
-Imparts a slight "thickening" to your overall sound, but pretty "transparent"
-Is great for pushing your amp with no drive, a little drive or medium OD from the pedal
-Cleans up better with the volume knob on guitar
-Is more responsive to picking and fretting dynamics
-Less compression with drive, adding a natural feeling amount as the drive increases
-Drive has a slightly grittier characteristic

I've had great sounds using it with both humbuckers and single coils into all kinds of amps live. I also use it a lot just as a "preamp" sort of pedal in front of back line amps to help the feel come through better for me when its not a type of amp I'm "comfortable" with...
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
Compared to an 808? The ED: -Cuts less bass -Less mids added -Has more and less drive available with the entire range sounding really nice
.......
Mabnotes-
This response is EXACTLY what I was hoping for. Thanks a bunch for taking the time to chime in. I'm hearing certain things from the ED in the few clips that are out there, and I just wanted to get some users' input regarding their take on the ED to confirm or contradict what I'm hearing to make sure I'm on the right track.
 

mabnotes

Supporting Member
Messages
634
Mabnotes-
This response is EXACTLY what I was hoping for. Thanks a bunch for taking the time to chime in. I'm hearing certain things from the ED in the few clips that are out there, and I just wanted to get some users' input regarding their take on the ED to confirm or contradict what I'm hearing to make sure I'm on the right track.
It is a seriously great OD/Boost...
 

Dbwalker

Member
Messages
396
I have a silver mod TS9, and borrowed a Earthdrive for a few months, I pretty much agree with what mabnotes said, I would add:

It is way more hifi the my TS9 Silver, the top end is really sweet and does not get piercing or fizzy.

When you roll the volume off, it does not get dark, cleans up great.

The mid bump is lower than the TS9 silver, and not as pronounced - Hence the thickening.

VS KOT: It can get very similar tones, but the tone knob is much more usable on the Earth Drive. That said, the KOT stacks better (for me), and the KOT sweet spot is ... better ... or rather, lets more articulation though the signal, but can get harsh when you move out of the sweet spot.

VS Timmy: There is no EQ bump on the Timmy, and the Timmy can get fizzy on the top end, there is no fizzy on the earth drive.

VS ARC Klon: Earth drive top end wins, the ARC has more of a similar low mid bump and the top end can get harsh as compared to the Earth drive.

It's a great pedal, hard to get a bad sound from it.
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
@ DbWalker
More great input, thank you. I've also owned a Timmy & ARC Klone so those comparisons really help.

Sounds like exactly what I'm looking for!

Order placed! ;)
 

bufu

Member
Messages
7
Also, while I can't explain it as well as these gentleman have, the earth drive is my favorite OD pedal. So much that, I am thinking about having one installed in the preamp cavity of my Ovation Breadwinner that is being rebuilt and refinished.

I almost never have play with the ED off.
 




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