Many casual guitarists and music fans can identify the sound of a Marshall or Fender amp—or at least they think they can. Fewer would dare try to pinpoint the sound of a Supro. But as Jimmy Page can famously attest, Supros can deliver tones every bit as heavy and evocative as those other iconic amps.
Old Supro amps sound distinctly American—you might even say Southern, with a deep, warm mid-forward tone complemented by crisp, edgy highs, and an almost swampy low end. The Supro 1305 Drive is an attempt at capturing a Supro amp’s alternative American amp sound in a pedal, without the help (or hassle, depending on how you look at it) of vacuum tubes.
While many overdrives effectively take the place of a hot preamp in an amplifier, the Supro Drive is designed to replicate the performance of an amp’s entire topology—from preamp to phase inverter to output transformer. While this is far from a new idea, Supro claims the Supro Drive delivers its intrinsic “Supro-ness” via emphasis on mimicking the performance of a Supro amp’s output transformer.
If you’re chasing deep Americana tones swampier than a midsummer’s night in the Delta, look no further than the Supro Drive. The pedal’s inventive mimicry of power tube distortion and output transformer characteristics delivers much of the midrangey grunt that makes vintage Valco and Supro amps so desirable. The tone control is a little too subtle to dial out some of the most pronounced highs in rich mode, but that shouldn’t dissuade a player who’s comfortable with using guitar tone control attenuation or likes leads that cut.
Watch the Review Demo: