zendrive nitty gritty

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by toggle, Jan 19, 2005.


  1. toggle

    toggle Guest

    Hey all-

    This is my first post; all this overdrive talk has pulled me out of the lurking woodwork...

    I'm interested in the Zendrive - and based on the raves here, I have high hopes - but I have some questions. Specifically, how does it treat the low end? Does it seem rolled off, and if so, how much... as compared to whatever pedal is appropriate. Relatedly, is there any sort of mid-bump happening? How does the fourth control affect this? I'm most interested in it for the low (and very low) gain side of things, though ideally the upper end of it's gain range would be used as well.

    I've had or used tons of the usual suspects, and don't want any sort of TS sound. Right now, I have a Barber LTD, which I'm not really sold on, though it is nice - just not blowing my socks off. Even with the bass trim pot (and presence) maxed, I'm hearing a little low end missing as compared to clean, and some of that middy quality, though much more subdued than tube screamers, et al.

    The other pedal I'm using (most of the time) is an EBS Multidrive. I haven't heard much about this one out there, but for a while it has been a great all around overdrive for me. it's very dynamic, has a nice amp-like tone, and a wide range of gain, but it has just too much low end "fattening", as compared to clean. This can be fine if it's on all the time... well, that's basically what I have to do with it, which is why I'm on the search again.

    Lastly, I'm mostly using a Telecaster or an LP Junior, into one of the following: Twin Reverb, Marshall 1987, blackface Bassman, and tweed Deluxe clone. For obvious reasons, the last on this list doesn't require much in the way of an OD pedal, but I'm hoping for something that plays nice with all of these options.

    Thanks in advance,

    -Tom
     
  2. The Gainster

    The Gainster Member

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    The Zendrive has a bit of midrange, but NOTHING like a TS!!! The Zendrive is crispy and open. The Zendrive sounds like an amp...the TS sounds like a pedal. You can control it much better with your volume control than any TS.

    Another od to look for is the Clark Gainster....match made in heaven with the Tweed. :)
     
  3. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    Welcome Tom!

    I have a Zendrive and I highly recommend trying one. I agree that there is a very slight bump in the mids but at a higher center frequency than a TS and very subtle. There's alot of flexibility in voicing the Zen between the Tone and Voice controls. I've tried the Zendrive in front of a Fender DRRI, Fender Bassman LTD, Marshall JMP-50, and my Rivera Jake combo. In all cases it was easy to adjust the controls to have the Zendrive blend well with each amp. It is a very open and dynamic pedal - no odd compression on the attack like many other OD pedals. It does indeed sound and feel like an amp. I do not perceive any low frequency loss. YMMV - definitely worth a try!
     
  4. telest

    telest Member

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    Alright already, enough talk about the Zendrive or I'm going to be out $150. ;) My curiosity is taking over.

    Steve
     
  5. urlkonig

    urlkonig Supporting Member

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    Can any zendrive user/owner compare it to the Menatone Red Snapper or Fulldrive? I'd just about made up my mind to replace my modded TS with a snapper, but the zendrive clips on the hermida site sound pretty transparent and convincing....
     
  6. KLB

    KLB Member

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    Here's my take on the Zendrive, plus comments vs. TIM:

    The Tone control is after the OD, and is flat when wide open.
    The Voice control is before the OD and is flat when at minimum.

    When set flat, the Zendrive still has a ~very slight boost around 300-400hz, which makes high notes have more body.

    As the voice control is turned up, the upper mids begin to be emphasized similar to the TS pedals, but the bottom end remains, and it still sounds more open and much less compressed.

    For humbucker neck pickups, I like the Voice control around 2:00. For Strats, maybe 11:00 or 12:00. For all bridge pickups usually at 12:00 or below.

    After setting the gain and voicing, I then adjust the Tone control. For higher gain and voice settings, the Tone is usually around 3:00, else it is wide open.

    I usually like less gain with neck pickup tones to retain more articulation.

    This is an excellent pedal. While not as neutral as the TIM, it has a more compelling feel for solo tones. TIM is probably a better light OD for rhythm tones, and especially for Strat quack tones.

    As for the distortion character, the Zendrive is a little rougher than TIM, meaning the distortion "pulse" sounds bigger/longer. I think this makes the notes stand out better in live situations. Between the voicing and tone controls, it is easy to avoid harshness, though you can easily dial that in with a high Voice level.

    TIM is a smoother distortion tone than the Zendrive, thouth it sometimes has a "twizzy" high end roughness that can be annoying, especially when too much bass and/or signal level is overwhelming the chip. The Treble cut is helpful here, as well as reducing the Bass and/or drive level.

    Both pedals are keepers.
     
    eddie knuckles likes this.
  7. mlynn02

    mlynn02 Member

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    great post! i've got a tim and a mosferatu, but i'd love to hear the zen drive sometime too. have you played the mosferatu? if so, how does it compare to the zendrive. basically, i want to replace my ts-style pedals with more amplike tones. i'd like to find something that sits right in between the tim and the mosferatu in terms of compression, smoothness and sustain.
     
  8. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    KLB, excellent comparison; probably the best descriptions I've seen. I also own both pedals and your observations are right in line with what I am hearing.:dude
     
  9. KLB

    KLB Member

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    I haven't played a Mosferatu yet.

    My other OD pedals are a Lovepedal COT50, Lovepedal Eternity (a refined tube screamer with great feel) and Cornish G2.

    I also use Tone-Jam modded Boss GE-7 for additional tone-shaping, such as adding post-distortion low bass and high treble to a warm, midrange heavy OD tone.

    Cheers,
    Ken
     
  10. el34power

    el34power Member

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    I know i am going to regret this but where can i find a TIM. Who makes it ( sorry, out of the loop for a while):rolleyes:
     
  11. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    I had a mosferatu before the zendrive. It had way more gain than I need and had some very touchy pot taper issues. Tone at low gain settings was similar to the zen, but 70% of the range of gain was useless for me. The zendrive solved those issues for me. If I had to choose between the Tim (or Timmy) and the Zen, it would be the Tim due to the better EQ control. For now, I am keeping both due to the differences that KLB outlined. Both are bargains for the money and are among the best OD's of their type regardless of price IMHO.
     
  12. el34power

    el34power Member

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  13. mlynn02

    mlynn02 Member

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    hmm, eternity eh? another one to add to the list. how does that one compare to the tim?

    i agree with the sentiment that the mosferatu has a narrow usable range on the gain knob. i find that i wish i could explore the low gain tone a bit more. the pedal that i have that i keep tinkering with to get those tones is the AC booster. but sometimes it sounds too nasal and fuzzy (could be my amp---twin reverb). it doesn't sing like the mosferatu. i guess the zen drive is also in my future.
     
  14. KLB

    KLB Member

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    The Eternity is a refined tube screamer with excellent feel and smoother distortion. It has more compression and less transparency than TIM (normal mode) or Zendrive. I like it for certain things, mainly with a Strat neck pickup. The COT50 is more useful, IMO.

    BTW, I get RF interference with both the Eternity (much) and Zendrive (slight) at home. FWIW, I had to send TIM back to Paul C to get it modded with an RF input shunt, which solved the problem. My TIM is an early 2003 model in a plain case. The newer ones probably already have the RF shunt.

    - Ken
     
  15. KLB

    KLB Member

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    Sean,
    I haven't tried the 4559p chip you sent yet.
    I will do so the next time I play.

    Cheers,
    Ken
     
  16. toggle

    toggle Guest

    Thanks for the detailed replies. Ken, thanks for putting me in a bind suggesting the Tim as well.

    Seriously, that is another pedal that has my attention, but with the greater cost (and wait), I figured I'd try the Zendrive first.

    Also, since the 1000 words in my first post didn't address it, I am primarily concerned with rhythm(-ish) playing. I don't tend toward single-note lead playing, and am more picky about maintaining a broad, detailed, and dynamic sound with chordal playing -- just a bit juicier and grittier than the clean tone might provide. With this in mind, any additional thoughts (or suggestions) would be great.

    I've heard the sound clips at the Hermida sight - are there any others I'm missing? Once again, perhaps something rhythm and lower gain oriented?

    Thanks again,

    Tom
     
  17. KLB

    KLB Member

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    Sean,
    I tried the RC4559p chip in the Eternity this morning. I prefered the original chip you had in it (with ID marks painted over). The response is similar with both chips, however, the original chip has more harmonics and a better feel.

    Then, I tried the RC4559p that you sent in the TIM pedal. Shortly after I first got TIM, I put a Mouser NRC brand JRC4559D chip in it on Paul Cochrane's recommendation. (Originally it was a JRC4558D. The 4559 is the stock chip in TIM now). Well, the 4559p was clearly the better sounding chip. Now I like the TIM even more!

    This has me curious about trying other chips in other pedals. The Zendrive chip has the markings blacked out, so I don't know what it is. (I think I can see 4559 through the blackout.)

    Tom,
    I think you'd like TIM the most for getting the tone you describe.

    Cheers,
    Ken
     
  18. meterman

    meterman Member

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    I haven't played the Zendrive yet but I have a TIM and a Mosferatu. What you describe above sounds like the TIM, I use it mainly for cleanish boost to light OD for rhythm and it rules. It gives you 'more' of your amp sound with added grit and complexity without obscuring the basic character of your guitar & amp better than anything I've tried. It stacks great with other pedals too so if I'm in a situation I can't crank my amp I leave TIM on and add the Mos or a fuzz to it for my lead tones, this also works extremely well. The TIM can get some good lead tones as well with higher gain settings and especially with a cranked amp, it is a very punchy and uncompressed OD and is the most versatile pedal I own.

    I really like the Mosferatu as well, I use it almost exclusively for leads and it has a really nice fat singing quality to it. It has some compression which makes it easy to play but still retains pretty good string feel and pick attack. I like gain at 9:00 for bluesy stuff and gain at 3:00 for heavier rock. This pedal definitely drops some bass and the tone control is very limited IMHO but I can still get some great sounds out of this into my TopHats. The Mos has the same dark 'furry' quality to it that the other Mosfet ODs I've played have shared, I happen to like this....I look forward to trying the ZD one day too, I'm sure I'd love it based on the Mos. Supposedly the ZD has approximately half of the gain of the Mos for a more expanded range of lower gain tones (gain comes up quick on the Mos) and a more effective EQ section. Alf described them as "cousins" :)
     
  19. el34power

    el34power Member

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    FWIW I use a Keeley Blues driver in front of my JCM800 to add a little drive for rythm. and kick in something else (keeley sd-1, Bad monkey, Super Chile picoso depending on the day) for leads
     
  20. mlynn02

    mlynn02 Member

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    this is a great post. i agree 100%, and this is exactly how i use the mos and the tim. that zen drive keeps seeming better and better!
     

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