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Siegmund MicroTube Double Drive...just got it!

 
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mikecornett



Joined: 06 Aug 2004
Posts: 630
Location: Bakersfield,CA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 3:06 am    Post subject: Siegmund MicroTube Double Drive...just got it! Reply with quote

I'm in absolute honeymooner heaven right now. I came home from a full day of work to find a nice 'fragile' labeled FedEx package filled w/ none other than a brand new Siegmund MicroTube Double Drive matched with a one-of-a-kind bias tweakable power supply and an inkjet-on-copypaper printed Instruction pamphlet.

The pedal is much sexier in person than its portrayal on the website. Funny enough I've never seen or played one of these before in the last 3 or so years I've known Chris. He's never had any around the shop, and always makes them in batches, then sells them off immediately. It's got a beautiful brushed metal finish, and the top has a mesh 'breathing area' for the 2 glowing microtubes found inside. This is a real tube pedal folks...running with real voltage...not some starved plate design running off a 9v battery.

I absolutely love the natural overdrive my amp gets when cranked...but needless to say, I can't always keep a cranked amp. I've tried the keeping it cranked, and using the volume knob rolled for cleans, but as with any amp....that takes the nice hair off the cleans. The MidnightBlues has a great master volume allowing me to get great overdrive at a reasonable level, but I'd rather keep the amp at the breaking point of clean/grit, and use another form to bring it into pure singing mode.

I've tried various pedals in front of the amp to achieve this: TS9/808, Menatone Ms Foxy Brown, and even a Siegmund Missing Link (another microtube pedal of his). None of which really allowed me to both get the natural amp's great overdrive, and still be able to maintain reasonable volume. The Missing Link had a great boost, but doesn't seem to be intended to be an overdrive pedal as much as it is a boost. This is the reason why it's my effects loop's savior. Works great there. It sounded great in front of the amp, and was very very close to the amp's natural overdrive, but since it's just a volume/tone controlled boost pedal, there's no master volume to tame the added gain's dB levels...with good reason.

This is where the DoubleDrive steps in & takes its much deserved position of first chair in the orchestra of the effects rig. Not only does it have the great boost availability of the Missing Link, but it also includes a full EQ section (bass, treble, mids), a master volume, a gain,and a drive.

It employs 2 shockmounted microtubes that allow this thing to sound EXACTLY like the amp's natural overdrive w/ just a slight adjustment to the pedal's EQ.

The pedal is true bypass when disengaged. Clicking the 'bypass' switch on the left allows the player to activate the EQ section, master volume, and gain function. This is a good way to first find that unity gain/unity eq setting to match your amps level and tone. Once I was able to capture that by clicking the Bypass switch on and off, I began utilizing the pedal as a boost by turning the master volume up a few knotches, and turning the gain up a level or two. When off, my amp was setup as before...nice breaking point of a 'hairy clean' so that I could dig into the amp, but still was basically a clean setting. Now the 'bypass' switch engaged and I had a little boost allowing for some nice thick chords w/ some good overdrive on them, but still completely articulate. Basically the off mode kicked up a few knotches.

Now comes the fun part....To the right of the 'Bypass' switch is a switch called 'Drive' that when engaged, kicks the 'drive' knob into the circuit. This is right at home for me, since this is very similar to how Chris makes the Midnight Blues amp...the 'drive' knob on the amp basically uses the level of the 'gain' knob as a basis to be cranked or lowered. Adds a gain stage on top of the existing couple that the 'gain' knobs employed.

Once the 'drive' is engaged, I set the drive level at the spot I felt was the most overdrive I wanted out of the amp. Basically right at the point where it felt like you'd get some uncontrollable feedback, but still able to tame it. Great for screaming leads.

With the mastervolume already set at the pre-drive level, I don't have to worry about the volume getting out of control.

The only thing you might need to adjust after working in the Drive switch is the EQ section. Obviously with an overdriving amp, the EQ settings on a perfectly clean level is going to be different than a heavily overdriven level. Luckily since you're already employing some overdrive w/ the initial pedal's gain stages, the EQ settings are nearly golden right away...maybe just a slight adjustment to find the perfect medium between the first gain stages, and the drive stage.

As I said before, this thing NAILS my amp's natural overdrive. I love it. It's like having the greatest channel switching amp without having to sacrifice a lick of tone or feel.

It's not like any 'overdrive' pedal I've had before...I was speficically looking for a catalyst for my amp's overdriven state....not affecting the feel and tone of the amp. After trying many amps and pedals over the years, I figured it was a losing battle, because there's going to be loss anytime you stick more resistors and capacitors in front of the signal. Perhaps it's because the pedal is designed very similarly to my amp, by the same designer.....but this thing is so close to perfect for that use, that I honestly can't tell the difference in feel or tone to the amp's natural overdriven state sans pedals.

It's a lengthy post, but I felt obligated to spread the word about this pedal and designer since so few people experience his unique designs...as he doesn't sell to dealers, doesn't participate in NAMM anylonger, and rarely shows up at a small guitar show.

Oh, one more thing to add before I forget....There's a cool feature I have yet to tap into, but on the custom power supply, there's a flathead screwdriver accessable area that allows you to adjust the bias of the power going to the tubes.....so you can get a loose or tight feel depending on that bias knotch's position. How cool!
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