Submitted February 21, 2004 by a customer from uci.edu
"The Sparkle Drive Rocks!"
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I do forsee using this pedal time and again for ever, especially to overdrive a clean tube amp. Each distortion pedal sounds different, so it's fun to explore a new one every so often, but I believe this is a keeper. I also have and like the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer and the Boss Metal Zone for alternate styles. I don't expect to sell those, either. I returned a Mesa V Twin floor pedal because it wasn't worth it's price, to me. I've liked things about various pedals like the Marshall blues drive (whatever it's called) because it could make a Mesa sound pretty much like a Marshall, and a few of the OS-1/DS-1 etc. Boss sounds are cool to a point. But for an overall, useable, near-vintage tone, the Sparkle rocks!
Very quiet pedal in terms of self-noise; so it's ideal for boosting a tube amp with a clean signal for faster breakup. It has the ability to blend clean/distortion sounds as one would use two amps simultaneously in recording to maintain pitch definition, and this works very well, especially at lower distortion settings. When the distortion is set near the top, the clean tone doesn't blend in well at all, imo (though I haven't done this with two amps to know how this pedal compares to the real thing). It has a saturation range that goes from slight breakup (it nails that) to slightly less than a Mesa Mark IV lead channel. It can't get a boss Metal Zone type distortion. In fact, it's more sweet than aggressive, so it's not for hard rock or metal unless you use it to boost an already high-gain amp channel. Neither can it achieve the illusive "two tube" kind of small amp overdrive that the Mesa Twin V can (but then, the Mesa is pretty muddy). I've used it only in front of a Fender Deluxe Reverb re-issue (so I'm obviously after the classic sound), and I'll eventually get around to using it with my Marshall JCM2000, Mesa Triaxis, and Rocket 44 amps.
The blend feature is perfect and unusual (I've never seen another pedal with this feature), so that right there deserves a high rating. The bypass is absolutely clean. Works with battery or 9v power supply (sold separately). The battery compartment is located inside the bottom cover plate, secured with four screws--not convenient for live gigs.
I think all of the components are high-quality, inside and out. Should last a long, long time.
Comparable Boss pedals sell for a little less and are pretty good, I think. But the Sparkle Drive is meant to preserve the signal as much as possible, more so than any Boss pedal I've owned, and that's got to cost more. I also think Voodoo capture a lot smaller portion of the market, have smaller manufacturing runs, etc., which also affects cost. Anyway, I think the price is just right for this box; definitely worth it to me.
The Wow Factor
The two biggest factors (besides the sound) for me was the true bypass and the blend feature.
Rock and various
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