Price paid: $ 152.15
Purchased from: musiciansfriend.com
Sound — 8
I'm currently using it into a Vox VT50 and with a Greg Bennett AV3 or Fender MiM Strat. That probably isn't the best setup for it, but it sounds nice into the AC30TB (bright and jangly), Tweed 4x10 (smooth and spongy), and Modded Clean (tight, clear, and smooth) models. I have heard it in person through a better setup and it kills, so in the event I upgrade my amp then I have that to look forward to. I suppose it can be noisy, but only in typical situations (single coils, overly bright settings, too much overdrive, any crazy scenario involving stacking with other dirt plus all of the above, etc.). The compcut, fm, and Vintage modes all offer interesting and usable textures. Comp cut mode will sound more like your amp with an uncolored volume boost. It's especially more transparent with the Overdrive knob backed off and the volume knob turned up a bit, but it's an interesting sound. FM mode gives you less of a clean boost sound and more of a transparently voiced overdrive. It's not as saturated or thick, but it allows the character of your guitar and amp to Shine through. It also cleans up well with the guitar volume. Vintage mode is more focused in the mids, but you don't get as much of a bass cut as a tubescreamer which is all very focused in the mids. In that respect, it's sort of like a less snarly and smoother tubescreamer with more bass. Fulltone says that this is the Original voicing of the previous Fulldrive model. All in all very useful. The versatility of the pedal is pretty stupid. You can do milder blues and then dial in edgier blues/rock tones. Classic rock tones are easy to dial in as well. You can dial in more edge with the tone knob, more crunch with the Overdrive knob, and in conjunction with the boost knob you'll get varying levels of distortion appropriate for playing your favorite modern alternative rock. The mosfet mode will be helpful in this as it will give the Overdrive a tighter bass and more overall punch as opposed to the softer and smoother standard mode. The only complaints I can really voice is that the boost mode takes some of the tightness and edge out of the overall voicing and seems more appropriate for saturated lead tones rather than articulate chording in a Switchfoot or Foo Fighters song. It's only mild complaint as it's mostly a tweakable fix. It all does fall short in certain respects if you want a glassy Overdrive sound with hardly any dirt as it wants to get thick and dirty fairly quickly. If you want that clangy and chimey neck pickup sound, you might have to work a little harder to get that. Finally, the compcut mode is sort of redundant. I could use it for recording, but I never use it live. Understanding that though, there are plenty of other pedals that will get the sort of sounds you might miss and it has plenty of good sounds already.
Overall Impression — 9
I play a mixture of all kinds of styles from clean jazz to shoegazey stuff to blues to all kinds of rock and metal. This handles the lighter to medium level range of dirt and I'm fairly pleased with it. I've been playing for about six years and although intend on replacing much of my aforementioned gear, I can see this pedal staying in my setup for a while. I knew everything about the pedal and even heard in person before buying it. It's a tool that get's the job done to my satisfaction so I like pretty much everything about it, but I will admit that the compcut mode is sort of redundant (but still can be useful). I compared it to a few single function overdrives and although there were plenty of good sounds from them, I was drawn to the consistent good sound and versatility of this pedal. I really don't wish for too much more than what it has. Anything else I could really ask for is just some nit-picking stuff about lower gain sounds and more aggressive and focused rock sounds with the dirt turned up. I would definitely want to replace it if anything happened to it and although I would probably get it again, I also have my eye on some JHS or Wampler Pedals if that need ever arose. Such is life.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The pedal feels like it's built like a tank, and yet it's also light. I have used it onstage and I'm pleased with it overall. Although, I do trust the construction and build quality of it, I also have a Visual Sound Route 66 that I can always Switch to if something happened. It's not the same sound per se, but it will work for what I want if I can't depend on the Fulldrive. I'm under the impression I can trust it though, as I baby all of my gear and it's certainly hardy enough for a click hear and there to turn it on and off.
Ease of Use — 9
There are a decent number of parameters available for your tweaking, but they are all easy to decipher and pretty much explain themselves (volume means volume, Overdrive means overdrive, etc.). The volume and tone knobs have a fairly large sweep, but you won't spend a week trying to make it work. If it's too loud turn the volume down and if it's too bright then turn the tone knob down, and vice versa. The Overdrive knob has a decent gain range and you can easily dial in an amount of Overdrive to satisfy yourself (as long as you realize it is an Overdrive pedal and not a Boss Metalzone). The boost mode is useful for getting an extra saturated sound for heavy power chords or sustain for a big solo and the amount of boost is controllable. Unfortunately, you can't boost your clean signal with it and only the pedal's own overdrive. Oh well. The standard/mosfet Switch is useful and provides interesting textures to choose from and the voice Switch gives you three usable tones to work with and tweak. The manual itself is fairly useful as a starting point and provides a few useful tips and a tone few settings. All in all the features are solid and not overly complicated, although those familiar with the three knob pedal format might be intimidated.