DriveGate DG-1 review by TopTone

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 0 (0 votes)
TopTone: DriveGate DG-1

Price paid: $ 250

Purchased from: Music Go Round

Sound — 9
I usually run it through a Lyon by Washburn (HSS with a Seymour Duncan '59 PAF and stock single coils) into an Egnater Rebel 20 with a Rebel 112 cab, but lately I've switched amps to a Kustom 12 Gauge. I've also used it with my B.C. Rich ASM1 prototype (yes, THE ORIGINAL prototype for the series), and a RedStar Strat clone. All of them sound fantastic, I just prefer the Lyon as it's most comfortable. It gives a tiny little bit of hum when engaged, but significantly less than nearly any other high-gain distortion I've used.

Overall Impression — 9
I play a lot of hard rock and heavy metal, and this suits it perfectly. I've been playing 6 years and this is definitely one of the best pedals (if not the best) that I've ever used. If it failed or were lost somehow, I would definitely be getting another one.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I have no reason to believe that it will break anytime soon, it's uncannily durable. I trust it completely, I don't keep a backup.

Ease of Use — 9
THE PROPER PART: This is a fantastic pedal for anyone looking to get a great distortion tone. It's based on the Big Muff type circuit, using fuzz for that signature sizzle. It has a Volume control for the obvious, a Tone control for shaping the EQ from fat and bassy to a singing high with everywhere in between, and a Sustain knob for adjusting the sustain and mildly adjusting the gain. It doesn't get very clean at the lowest position, but it considerably reduces the amount of crunch and grind. At higher values, it completely saturates your sound with a thick, cutting sound that, coupled with perfect placement of the Tone knob, gives you a sound that you can hear for miles and rings out longer than you will ever need. The Tone and Sustain controls are also very interactive, tweaking one can totally change the other, giving you an amazing variety and range of sounds to choose from. It's true bypass, so you never have to worry about tone-sucking, and the bright red LED is easy to see in the most vibrantly-lit venues, so you can always tell if it's on or off. It's constructed of very sturdy cast aluminum with extra reinforcements and covered with a polycarbonate adhesive, so it's nigh-on indestructible. THE INFORMAL PART: This pedal rocks my socks. So much so that I have to wear shoes when I use it, lest I lose them! I had hunted for over 5 years for the right punch and grind that is "my tone," and this is the closest I have ever come. If I couple this with a Compressor and maybe an Overdrive to push it JUST over the limit, I could probably use this for the heaviest of metals, which is what I'm looking for. It's solid as a rock that's coated in diamonds and dipped in adamantium, I don't see it breaking anytime soon. It gives me a great Hendrix-style sound when I set the tone at about 2 o'clock and the sustain at 3 o'clock, almost perfectly replicating his signature dirt when I use it through a Strat and pump it into an amp with multiple, large speakers. Not to say that you can't use this with even the smallest of practice amps, you certainly can. No matter the guitar or the amp size, this pedal excels. Not to mention that the graphics on the pedal are amazing! I'm a huge Stargate fan, so I instantly fell in love with this pedal before I ever heard it. The killer tone was just the topper on the cake.

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