Expansive EQ- and drive-shaping capabilities meet studio-level precision. The PG Origin Effects RevivalDRIVE Compact review.
Extraordinary build quality. Super thoughtful design and execution. Lots of range and nuance in individual controls. Splendid, powerful EQ.
Costs nearly as much as the gold brick its construction evokes.
Origin Effects RevivalDRIVE
Ease of Use:
Back in 2018, we reviewed the RevivalDRIVE Compact’s big brother—a super-high-quality analog amp-in-a-box unit that generates many authentically Vox-, Fender-, and Marshall-like tones, right down to super-specific rectifier and EQ characteristics. The new Compact version delivers much of the same in a more streamlined unit. But while these approximations of classic amp behaviors and sounds (the RevivalDRIVE is not a modeler) are impressive and convincing, the best feature of the RevivalDRIVE is the measure of creative control and fine-tuning power it affords.
The RevialDRIVE Compact doesn’t overflow with tone-sculpting bells and whistles like the full-featured RevivalDRIVE does. But its streamlined control set is still powerful—and creatively empowering—when it comes to precision tone-sculpting. Indeed, working with the RevivalDRIVE Compact can, at times, feel more like shaping sound with a high-end recording console or, more specifically, like controlling your amplifier output via a high-end studio signal path.
Robust and Range-y
The RevivalDRIVE Compact’s similarities to studio outboard gear aren’t confined to control responsiveness. Like just about everything Origin makes (most notably its line of Cali76 and SlideRig compressors, which actually ape the performance of the UREI 1176 outboard compressor), the RevivalDRIVE also possesses the high-quality feel of an expensive precision studio tool. You know the satisfying sound and feeling of closing a door on a ’70s Mercedes Benz? Well, just about every action you perform on the RevivalDRIVE feels like the stompbox equivalent. Switchwork is smooth and sturdy feeling. Even the EQ mini toggle feels robust. Knob action is smooth and wide raged, and each has a satisfying long-throw taper. The overall fit and finish would likely make even an old Mercedes engineer envious.
The control set itself isn’t especially complicated. But the considerable range in each knob means it takes time to get a feel for its performance parameters, sensitivity, and interactivity with guitar, amp, and the pedal’s other controls.
Some controls are less intuitive than others, too. The post-drive EQ has three positions, but one of them configures the EQ for a power amp or interface, while the other two offer basic brightening or darkening settings to suit your amplifier’s voice. An adjacent knob helps you fine tune the high-frequency response for each setting. These controls aren’t difficult to use, but the degree to which they interact with other elements in your chain isn’t always obvious and requires practice, experimentation, and adjustment by ear and feel rather than visual reference and knob position. The “more/pres” knob, which shapes break-up characteristics, can also feel vague—largely because it helps shape the pedal’s response to picking dynamics as much as any specific tonality. Mastering it, though, yields many extra colors and tones.
The rest of the control array is pretty self-explanatory. Low- and high-band EQ controls and gain and output knobs mirror the functionality of scores of overdrives. The wet/dry blend is more unusual, but intuitive and powerful. While these controls are more familiar, getting a grip on how they work together is a more thought-and-attention-intensive process. Thankfully, the RevivalDRIVE Compact pays many sonic dividends, and deciphering its secrets and navigating its nuances is fun, addictive, and musically rewarding.
The Sensitive Kind
Approaching the RevivalDRIVE compact as if it’s, say, a Tube Screamer, can yield underwhelming results. Setting the controls to noon as a baseline, as you might with a simpler drive or boost, delivers some of the pedal’s least remarkable tones. It does, however, provide a useful departure point from which you can shape and color the output. RevivalDRIVE is a comparatively low-gain affair, and at moderate gain settings you’ll likely have set the output well to the right of noon just to reach unity gain. But this is where the RevivalDRIVE Compact’s likeness to outboard studio gear comes into play, because the super-responsive EQ controls can do as much to shape overdrive color and gain characteristics as the gain and output controls themselves. The low and high controls make the tone filters on simpler drives feel about as sophisticated as a wool blanket over your speaker cabinet. Adding copious-to-maximum high-end output, as a few of the manual’s sample settings suggest, not only gives notes a hot, volatile edge but lends perceptible depth-of-field to the overall sound image and extra headroom for picking dynamics. The RevivalDRIVE Compact’s low-end control, meanwhile, can feel downright alchemical—making 8" speakers feel like 12" or 15" units situated in large-appliance-sized cabinets and providing a deep, complex, and colorful bed of bottom end that never obscures the aerated, detailed fireworks from the top-end.
Needless to say, all of this fine-tuning capability and dimensionality makes the RevivalDRIVE Compact a potentially indispensible studio tool. Once you’ve mastered the EQ and the more nebulously functional but equally critical presence control, you can carve super-precise tones to fill very specific niches in a mix. And, with the invaluable blend control, you can inhabit the familiar tone worlds of your favorite amplifier and judiciously add colors that make it more distinct in a mix—or explosive in a lead situation— without straying from your core tone or completely disrupting your signal chain. (The RevivalDRIVE interacts beautifully with, and often enhances, fuzz, distortion, and complex modulation textures.)
While the RevivalDRIVE Compact is expensive, it could probably effectively replace every overdrive you own. The quality and design are superlative. And while it’s not as easy to master as the average three-knob overdrive, it is light years more dimensional, sensitive, and organic sounding. If you can spare the cash up front, you may make it back by selling all the overdrives the RevivalDRIVE Compact will likely replace.
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Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
For more information, please visit gibson.com.