Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Eye Banez, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. Eye Banez

    Eye Banez Member

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    I was considering purchasing a new Sparkle Drive to replace my very ordinary Boss Turbo OD. I want to place in the line up with my Keely Modded Boss Blues Driver.

    Any thoughts good or bad?
     
  2. chandlerjenkins

    chandlerjenkins Member

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    i'd say go for it...ive never used the turbo od...but i like my sparkle drive...has a nice blend feature...im sure you knew that...it does come in handy though, im using mine with my fulldrive...
     
  3. NicDo

    NicDo Member

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    i like both of my sparkle drives. the keeley modded one has tons more gain than i need. i use mine alot as a clean boost too.
     
  4. john b

    john b Supporting Member

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    I used one for a long time, really great pedal. I had it Keeley modded and it stopped doing it for me. Not that the mod was bad. It added alot of gain and changed the character of the pedal. I like the original.
     
  5. drmathprog

    drmathprog Member

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    Very nice pedal; it can sound familiar, or it can sound different.
     
  6. musickbox

    musickbox Supporting Member

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    The pedal is good stock. The Keeley mod is nice, but I the orignal is just as nice. Definitely fixed the bass issue. I think if your using it as a mian overdrive, then get the mod. If not, for boosting purposes and light gain, stick with it stock.
     
  7. NortheastHick

    NortheastHick Supporting Member

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    I like the sd..good as a tube screamer in front of a fender type amp, or as a boost to goose a marshall...
     
  8. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    I use the sparkle into my Rivera R30 channel 2, the fender channel for my SRV tone and it is absolutely essential for that in addition to a general beefing boost when I want that.

    I set the amps Master on 10, the amps pre-amp on 4 and use the Sparkle to beef up the tone but yet remain natural. I use the guitars volume control for my rythm to solo tone and also use other pedals for additional OD on solos when called for

    Now my secret is that the "Clean" control on the sparkle mixes in your original unaffected, uncompressed, unclipped/filtered tone works by preserving the dynamics while beefing it up, its like using multiple amps. SRV used the Vibroverb and/or Dumble for Dirt, the Super for a cleaner Tone and the Marshall Major on occasion for bottom.

    The hardest aspect of his tone to replicate is it being a cleaner OD but still at the same time aggressive with good sustain and good dynamic OD when you increase attack and dig in.

    In the later years he started using fuzz when using the Bassman and a pedal. Its the early years tone that is difficult and its due to his using multiple amps set/tweaked for different tonal flavors. Well if multiple amps are the solution, a decent compromise is sending a tone to your amp that emulates that and the Sparkle Drive with its clean control was the solution.

    Its the way negative feedback should work in an amp

    The Sparkles Clean knob is like secret sauce, puts back in what you took out which can thin, overly distort and compress your tone for a very
    un-SRV like tone, what I call wank tone.

    I also use it in general at the end of my chain to beef up any OD that precedes it when I want that and it plays very nice with other pedals, always enhances them, never degrades.

    I run the Output at 1:00 and the Clean at just under 1:00

    its a very transparent pedal overall
     
  9. fuddy duddy

    fuddy duddy Member

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    How is it for light gain? I have a Les Paul with Burstbucker Pros, and I want just a touch of grit. With the Bad Monkey, even the lowest gain setting gives me more gain than I want. I have to roll back the volume for lighter gain, but I'd like to not have to do that. So how does the Sparkle Drive compare for light gain? Thanks.
     
  10. brianf

    brianf Member

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    Sparkle drive does a whole lot for about 125.00.

    As far as a light O/D you can kill 2 birds with one stone.

    Either set the gain very light and play with the clean (or blend) knob. Or you can set the gain much higher and have the blend almost set totally to clean. You then have 2 different types of light o/D!!!

    This was one of those pedals that when I first got it went "Yeah, this is OK I guess." But pend a full afternoon playing around with it an it really is a great piece of gear.

    brianf

    brianf
     
  11. Shawn3786

    Shawn3786 Member

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    I'd say go for it. I play a Boss OD-1 that is I believe what the Sparkle Drive and is built off of. I use the OD-1 for chord/first stage of overdrive and then my BD-2 as a boost and I'm lovin' the tone. I think the Sparkle Drive > BD-2 is going to sound killer. Go for it!
     
  12. fuddy duddy

    fuddy duddy Member

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    Thanks, brianf. Follow-up qustion for anyone: for low gain (bit of grit), how does the Sparkle Drive compare with the Barber LTD? Anyone have experience with both of these pedals?
     
  13. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    This is where the sparkle excels

    Not only do I use it for my SRV thang

    I use it for my Tube Snake Boogie tone where I am playing melody lines with slides and pulls and the last thing you want there is too much gain.

    It cleans up as if its not there with your vol pot and sometimes I just leave it on all of the time
     
  14. tastylicks

    tastylicks Supporting Member

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    OK I'll be the one dissenter and say that I thought the character of the gain in the Sparkle Drive was very ordinary. I'd be surprised if its gain sounds much different from the Boss pedal. To me it sounded very generic tube screamer, huge mid-hump which I was not seeking. I was underwhelmed.
    Now of course that doesn't address a certain amount of versatility that the ability to blend clean signal gives you. I'm sure it's a very workable pedal for many players. At the time I was looking for a light OD that was not too compressed sounding. I did not feel that the Sparkle Drive eased from clean to light OD very gradually. Also the blend feature sounded to me like tweaking two parallel sounds as opposed one unified sound. Obviously my opinion only, bla bla bla.
    I played an AC Booster, a Red Snapper, Barber Direct Drive, the Sparkle, and a couple others I can't remember. I went in asking to play the Sparkle Drive, but it wound up being my least favorite. I eventually bought the red snapper. I also use an RC Booster, which among other things gives you the ultimate slow easing into OD (albeit a very light OD at maximum).
     
  15. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    I agree and had the same impressions when I first got it, it took some time to make it work and I made other changes in the amp and speaker cab which de-emphasized what I didn't like generally and it seemed to play nicer with the sparkle drive.

    I also use the sparkle with power sag, I use a homemade sag circuit for an external 9v battery power block just for the sparkle. Its built into a fender style rev switch and has pot I use to dim the sparkles led. It seems to change the pedals response but it does add some more compression.

    I found that the clean control saved it from sounding like what I dont like about the Tubscreamer, thin with some mid hump, it fattens my les paul and strat or anything for that matter to the point where it almost sounds like its not on.

    I also found out recently I like it better without buffering before it. Whether a pedal works for you or not is not so cut and dry and trying them in the store makes it impossible to realize the potential with any of them. I bought one and fiddled for a few days and when I finaly played at live volume, through my rig, it seemed to come alive.

    I have an AC also, it seems to have an asymetric clip quality and am liking it but for me it does not clean up as much as the sparkle which has less gain. Using the AC and the Sparkle after takes it up a notch.

    Some have picked a Sparkle and didn't like it because it does not have much gain and thats true, its more of the light side of OD but because of that and the clean blend control, its transparent for being an OD.

    Its truly subjective but thats less because our ears are so different, its our gear that really differs. Guitars/Pups/Cords/Amp/Settings/Tubes/Speaker/Player

    Its one big capacitor
     
  16. bladestratford

    bladestratford Member

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    I used the SD for many years as my light OD pedal and it worked great. I didn't like the loss of bass though so I sent it in for the Keeley mod. The pedal has better bass response now but I don't like it as much as the mod changed the overall sound of the pedal. I like the sound of the stock version better. Great pedal for light OD, clean boost and also works well as a solo boost as you can just raise the volume with the clean boost side or mix in some extra drive if you need it as well. Good bang for the buck. I now use a Red Snapper for my light OD but keep the SD around for when I want a clean boost.
     
  17. Guitarplayerdan

    Guitarplayerdan Member

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    I love my sparkle drive. It can be pretty transparent when dialed correctly. Its a keep on my board and has been for 2 years. VERY VERY amp like. I run my amp clean drive it with the sparkle drive and then stack it with my ac booster for high gain.
     
  18. joeysmac

    joeysmac Member

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    I wish I still had mine...get it for my sake.
     
  19. lawrencedesigns

    lawrencedesigns Member

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    I've bought and sold a lot of pedals, but my Sparkle Drive will NEVER go.
    Fuddy, I think we have the same purpose. I run my LP into it to give my Blus Jr. just a "touch" of dirt. Very transparent, doesn't colour a thing.
    Then, when I want to get nasty, the Bad Monkey sits right behind it in the chain....

    Keeth Lawrence
     
  20. fuddy duddy

    fuddy duddy Member

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    Very cool to hear from someone who has the same setup! Sounds like it will be just what I need. Thanks, Keeth!
     

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