TopTone DRIVEGATE DG-2 review ( Gilmour )

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Kit Rae, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. Kit Rae

    Kit Rae Member

    Messages:
    943
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    Armenia, city in the sky
    [​IMG]
    I have been playing the TopTone DG-2 for a few months now, so I thought I would post a review and a few clips. For anyone who does not know, TopTone is a small pedal maker out of Brazil, and their current line of pedals are each based on the high end Pete Cornish pedals. TopTone's first claim to fame was the Drivegate DG-1, which was based on the Cornish P-2, which itself was based on a Big Muff, tuned for bright mids and an improved tone control. The DG-2 that I am reviewing here is based on the Cornish G-2, which is another spin on the Big Muff, with that same tone control, but this one sounds nothing like a Big Muff and more like the spawn of a cranked Marshall and an LM308 Rat. This pedal is used by Lou Reed and David Gilmour. As a Gilmour fan and Big Muff addict I had to try one.

    The DG-2 is one of the most unique takes on a Big Muff I have ever heard. It has none of the typical characteristics of a Big Muff tone - scooped mids, super sustain, and that octave thing just under the distortion. This is more like a Germanium overdrive. Creamy Marshall amp distortion, ProCo Rat grit, with a bit of warm fuzz harmonics on top. I think of this as a Rat killer. The mids are bright and clear, making it equally good for leads or rhythm. Nice crunch to the tone. This sounds great through my Reeves/Hiwatt, but I get great tones out of it with my Fender Twin and Mesa Express too. Sounds best with a clean amp, like most Muffs, but it is more versatile on a dirty amp than a typical Big Muff.

    I also have a Cornish G-2, which has been on my board for about a year. Compared to the real G-2, this is practically the same sound. Here are a few clips. Strat into Reeves Custom 50 (Hiwatt) with a bit of TC nova delay.

    Lead Tones - Shine on You Crazy Diamond
    http://www.kitrae.net/music/G2_vs_DG2_Shine%20On_Neck_pickup.mp3

    The tone cleans up well with the sustain dialed down, like an overdrive, and there is very good interaction between the tone knob and the sustain control. All parts of the tone pot sweep seem to be usable when you dial in the right amount of sustain. There is a lot of gain on tap (more than the G-2), but it gets noisy with more gain, just like a Big Muff. This is that signature David Gilmour Live in Gdansk tone, but I have found it is great for other Marshally classic rock playing as well.

    David Gilmour Echoes G-2 tones from the Gdansk concert. Tube driver gain boost and TC Nova delay.
    http://www.kitrae.net/music/G2_vs_DG2_Echoes_Gdansk tone.mp3

    I hear very little difference between the two, but when the sustain is dialed fully clockwise there is more gain with the DG-2. I love the G-2, but that's the only area I thought it was lacking. The DG-2 sounds a hair brighter at full sustain too. Both pedals react the similarly, and sound great when boosting with a Tube Driver or compressor. The only other difference between the G-2 and DG-2 is when the sustain is dialed very low for a light overdrive, the tones do not exactly match. I think the G-2 sounds slightly better at these settings, but give it a listen.

    Overdrive Tone
    http://www.kitrae.net/music/G2_vs_DG2_Gilmour Alternate Settings 2.mp3

    The DG-2 comes the standard sturdy Boss sized enclosure, powered by a standard Boss AC/DC adaptor jack, or 9v battery. Comparing the noise floor of the two pedals, the DG-2 is definitely noisier than the G-2, and not just when the sustain is cranked on full. Nothing worse than a typical Big Muff noise though. As far as I know, the DG-2 is only other option out there currently for the very expensive and rare G-2, other than maybe the Costalab Moon Drive. The DG-2 is not cheap though - $310 including shipping. That's still about half what the G-2 costs. Overall this is a great sounding pedal though, and sounds just as good as the Cornish.

    Here's a quick youtube I made, for the audio clip lazy.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYSl3JmCR-Y
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2010
  2. Goldwing

    Goldwing Member

    Messages:
    499
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Great as always kit!
     
  3. teleus52

    teleus52 Member

    Messages:
    449
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    How does it compare with the Top Tone DG-1 and let say the Skreddy Pink Flesh or the new Pig Mine?

    Tanks,
     
  4. Shakkal

    Shakkal Member

    Messages:
    687
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2003
    Excellent review!
     
  5. Kit Rae

    Kit Rae Member

    Messages:
    943
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    Armenia, city in the sky
    The DG-2 is warmer and more overdrivey sounding than those. Those all sound like Big Muffs. The DG-2 is more in the Rat/Marshall amp territory. The TopTone DG-1 is a Cornish P-2 clone. That's like a Big Muff with lots of mids. Kind of smooth and middy like a Civil War Big Muff.

    Here are clips of the Cornish P-1, P-2(TopTone DG-1), and G-2 (TopTone DG-2) that may help illustrate the differences.
    http://www.kitrae.net/music/P1_P2_G2_DEMOS_Gilmour_Licks.mp3
    http://www.kitrae.net/music/P1_P2_G2_DEMOS_Chords.mp3

    The Pink Flesh and Pig Mine are Big Muffs with boosted mids too, similar to the P-2/DG-1, but a bit less bottom end, more clarity and note definition, and slightly more articulate. More maximum gain too.

    Lots of clips of all of those here.
    http://www.kitrae.net/music/Music_Muff%20Inspired%20Pedals%20and%20Clones.html

    Apparently Dave Kilminster is using the DG-2 as the main distortion tone in his pedlaboard on Roger Water's Wall tour currently.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
  6. teleus52

    teleus52 Member

    Messages:
    449
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    WOW! Very reviews and info

    Thanks a lot
     
  7. todd richman

    todd richman Senior Member

    Messages:
    13,194
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    I loved this pedal the first time I read about it.
     
  8. Kit Rae

    Kit Rae Member

    Messages:
    943
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    Armenia, city in the sky
    Here is a pic of the DG2 in Dave Kilminster's board from the current Wall tour with Roger Waters.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. todd richman

    todd richman Senior Member

    Messages:
    13,194
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Kit-do you by any chance have a full board shot of Kilminster's pedalboard?
     
  10. Kit Rae

    Kit Rae Member

    Messages:
    943
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    Armenia, city in the sky
  11. todd richman

    todd richman Senior Member

    Messages:
    13,194
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
  12. frails

    frails Supporting Member

    Messages:
    133
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Revival of a great thread. The G2 just came. The DG-2 will soon follow. Why? Because I was that impressed with the DG-1.
     
  13. Rat83

    Rat83 Member

    Messages:
    19
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    I just ordered a DG2 yesterday. Olmar said it was in the build list and should take 15 days then another 15 or so for shipping. How long did it take you guys to get it? And how much did you get charged for customs? Just wondering. I'm anxious.
     
  14. Csgband

    Csgband Member

    Messages:
    2,045
    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Location:
    Moved to Austin, formerly from Brooklyn, NY
    I just got my DG-2, it really is fantastic.
    I own a Cornish P1 G2 and SS3.
    The DG2 is it's own thing and I gig as I dig my Cornish.
    Now do I want a DG1?
     
  15. thesjkexperienc

    thesjkexperienc ^^^ I made this guitar^^^

    Messages:
    3,476
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado mountains
    Is the only way to get one by going direct to Brazil? How safe is it to order? Also, are the pedals buffered?

    Thanks.
     
  16. Csgband

    Csgband Member

    Messages:
    2,045
    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Location:
    Moved to Austin, formerly from Brooklyn, NY
    I got it direct from Top tone, I trusted him 100%, no worries.
    I am not sure about the buffering
     
  17. tjmicsak

    tjmicsak Member

    Messages:
    5,525
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Location:
    Webster, NY
    I picked one up a few weeks ago and had no issues. The builder is prompt to respond to any emails, the build is of great quality, and best of all, the sound is fantastic. One of the few pedals I have gotten that instant wow from the minute I played through it. It is something different and in it's own flavor, which is astonishing.
     
  18. Csgband

    Csgband Member

    Messages:
    2,045
    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Location:
    Moved to Austin, formerly from Brooklyn, NY
    This is my exact experience.
     
  19. thesjkexperienc

    thesjkexperienc ^^^ I made this guitar^^^

    Messages:
    3,476
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado mountains
    I thought they are clone of Cornish pedals and not something different?
     
  20. Csgband

    Csgband Member

    Messages:
    2,045
    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Location:
    Moved to Austin, formerly from Brooklyn, NY
    They are not buffered, they are true bypass
    Owning both I can say that they are different.
    I would say it is a inspired by vibe with it's own signature, it is a very fine pedal.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2011

Share This Page