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Supro Drive review

PB+J

Member
Messages
1,702
I bought one of these a few months ago and thought I'd relate my experiences with it. I'm giving it a four out of five for reasons below despite thinking it's a really great pedal.

I'm mostly a jazz player and play mostly clean, with tone that has a lot of midrange--think tweed fender or ampeg amp, charlie christian to kenny burrell on blue note. I like amps with baxandall style controls

The supro drive claims to model (with all analog components) the preamp and power amp sections of a supro amp. It has a little transformer in it and claims to be getting some transformer saturation. It has no clipping diodes, all the clipping is from FETs and the transformer. I opened it up and looked at the circuit board. It's significantly different from the runoff groove Supreaux Deux in the number and type of components, but it would take more expertise than I have to make a good assessment or any similarities or differences.

So it's not a transparent box--not at all. It has a distinct EQ color that is similar to a pre-blackface amp--lots of midrange, no scoop. It has two "voicings" based on the honking big transformer switch on the front. One is looser and more gainey.

It's a very unusual pedal, and it's a cliche but it feels more like an amp than any other pedal I've used, and as the ad copy breathlessly claims, it feels more like the power amp is involved. But what's nice is it distorts more in the way of an old tweed amp--looser in the lower end. If you crank it up it really squeals and has a lot of chime and sag. Old school vibe and feel, not transparent, cool distinct tone not fender/marhsall/vox.

So why a four? It's too gainey out of the box for my style. Even on zero gain it's breaking up consistently. I tried running it at 18 volts and liked it better, but to really make it work for me I had to get an expression pedal. When you hook that up you can use an internal trimpot to set the gain really low. Once I did that I really loved the way the pedal thickens up a clean tone and adds a small amount of hair or grit.

So I'm giving it a four because it's not a cheap pedal to begin with and tho get it to do what I wanted I had to add 18 volts and an expression pedal
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,737
This drive has been on my radar since it was released, and I really like the samples I've heard.
So the expression pedal out allows you to drop the gain lower than you can normally? I'd like to hear more about how the expression pedal / trimpot interact to drop the gain.... Sounds interesting.
Thanks for the review!
 
Messages
2,694
Thanks for the review. You lose a point for saying it feels like an amp but gain two points for saying it's not transparent and liking that :).
 

PB+J

Member
Messages
1,702
This drive has been on my radar since it was released, and I really like the samples I've heard.
So the expression pedal out allows you to drop the gain lower than you can normally? I'd like to hear more about how the expression pedal / trimpot interact to drop the gain.... Sounds interesting.
Thanks for the review!
Yes there is an internal trimmer that sets the gain for the low end of the expression pedal. The result is a clean tone or as I've set a nearly clean tone. Much less gain than you can get without the expression pedal. Not sure why you would make it that way but they did.
 






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