Earlier this year, Origin Effects announced the upcoming release of a game-changer: the Revival Drive. While the company is famous for many high caliber pedals—not least their Cali76 Compressor—the move to gain was something new.
So how did this new stompbox venture fare? Here’s some highlights and insights from Dan & Mick’s review of the Revival Drive.
What Is The Revival Drive?
There’s no shortage of overdrive pedals around these days. Yet the Revival Drive aims to stand out by occupying a different place in the market. Sure, it looks like a pedal, but its sound structure, circuit design, and response is meant to capture the tone and vibe of cranked amps across the USA to UK spectrum. As Origin Effects describes this big box, they’re going for “maximum versatility.”
The pedal has two sides. One that behaves like a solid-state rectifier amp, the other as a tube-rectifier amp. It has mirror image knobs on both sides for several parameters (e.g., volume, EQ, presence) as well as toggles for different structures of preamps and bright caps. You’ll also find mode switches for the type of amp you’re going into so the pedal can adapt somewhat to your rig. As Mick noted, “it’s designed to work with any amp, so we’re using the anyest of any amp, the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.”
As Dan & Mick noted throughout, the Revival Drive has a deep brain. So you’ll need to put yours in use to understand how its front end features plug you into a world of endless overdrive potential.
How Does It Sound?
While Origin hasn’t used the term “amp in a box” to describe the Revival Drive, and Dan & Mick are notoriously squirmy about that concept for any pedal, they both agreed that “that’s what the Revival Drive is.” It goes beyond modeling the gain character of a given amp to consider all the other dynamics and interactions at play in an amplifier’s circuitry and power production.
It’s tricky to account for all of the sounds of the Revival Drive here. At points, Dan & Mick’s tour featured a few prescribed settings in the pedal’s manual to help outline it’s assets. Here’s their take on just two epic sounds.
UK-type amp responses. Using both a Les Paul (a la Clapton) and Stratocaster (a la Hendrix), the revival drive “definitely [felt] Marshally with a bit of hair around the edges,” noted Mick, “It’s very, very good, and sounding much more ampy!” The sound had a clarity to its aggression that worked well with a variety of pickups, but played particularly well with humbuckers. When it came to the Stratocaster, Mick tossed in the Analog Man Sun Face NKT Red Dot to force the Revival Drive into a spiral of fuzzy goodness.
Bright and harmonically rich tones. In this suggested setting, the sound is something in the ballpark of Brian May. Scaling back the negative feedback gave tones with a soft yet focused distortion on the edge. Both gents were taken back by remembering that all that amp-style overdrive was barking out of a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. It’s a great amp on its own but the Revival Drive provided an entirely different architecture.
Whose It For?
As Mick commented, some of the reasons why people mod and tweak pedals endlessly or have countless overdrive pedals on their boards is because they struggle to get “that thing” of an overdrive structure of a hardworking, gritty, tube-driven amp. The Revival Drive will speak especially to fans of amp overdrive sounds and collapsing contours of gain.
While this is not the sonic preference or gear approach of Dan & Mick, generally speaking, both agreed the Revival Drive was superb for players who approach amp-style gain differently. For Mick, the Revival Drive was “more amp-in-a-box than I’ve ever heard from any pedal…for all those people who do want the sound of a cranked amp and like all that chewiness that’s as good as I’ve ever heard and it’s nothing like an overdrive pedal.” For Dan, the conclusion was that, while cranked amps was not his thing, “the sound is amazing but it’s so different.”
If you’ve been waiting for months for the release of the Revival Drive and the sights and sounds of this TPS episode convinced you further, the wait is nearly over. We’re taking pre-orders on the Origin Effects Revival Drive right now. So head over to Riff City in store or online!
TPS Rig Rundown:
Guitars: Fender Custom Shop 1963 Telecaster, Fender American Vintage ’62 Stratocaster, Collings 290 DCS, Fender 60s Reverse Headstock Stratocaster, Fender Custom Shop 1952 Telecaster, Gibson Memphis 1958 ES-335, Gibson Custom 1958 Les Paul Standard.
Amps: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.