Admission to the Klon ballpark at a bargain price.
A ticket to the Klon show for an unbeatable price. Easy to plug in, dial up, and play.
The fat boost is more necessity than option. Narrower dirt and volume range than pricier competitors.
TC Electronic Zeus Drive
There's no shortage of lower-priced pedals vying to match the overdrive characteristics of the Klon Centaur. That's no surprise. When Klon founder Bill Finnegan started building his legendary stomps again in 2019, his first new 3-knob wonder auctioned for more than $2,000, and used first-generation Centaurs now fetch $5,000 or more. That's pretty exalted. But pedals like the J. Rockett Archer and the Wampler Tumnus allow us less affluent folks a taste of this sacred dirt for under $200. (For more, see Joe Gore's "Klon vs. Klone: 5 Affordable Stomps Go Head to Head with a Gold Original" in the April 2020 issue of PG.)
At just $69, the TC Electronic Zeus Drive is an audacious new competitor. It's got the classic 3-knob Klon/clone array of drive (or gain, on the original), treble, and volume (output on the Centaur), augmented by a fat boost toggle to thicken up the low mids. The Zeus is small and appealingly designed, with ¼" in/out jacks and its 9V DC barrel-style input (no battery option) mounted on the crown of its sturdy, golden 2.2" x 2.2" x 3.9" metal enclosure. The knobs are solid, well-spaced for quick adjustments, and the circuit is switchable from true bypass to buffered, thanks to an internal DIP switch.
Like the Klon, the Zeus' drive section is all analog and sports a pair of 1N34A germanium clipping diodes. TC's pedal also uses a charge pump to steps up the 9V DC and increase headroom and dynamic response. And there's one more trick—the dual-ganged pot optimized the balance between clean signal as you add dirt to preserve your tone's core character.
While I don't own a Centaur, I've had an Archer on my pedalboard for years. So it seemed natural to A/B the Zeus with the Archer, paired with guitars bearing single-coil, P-90, and humbucking pickups, all plugged into a Carr Vincent with its three EQ knobs at noon, the drive off, and the volume and reverb at 10 o'clock. Like the Archer, the Zeus responded expressively to shifts from light to heavy attack for both single notes and chords, baring its teeth when I dug in. It also stayed articulate while adding dirt to all three flavors of pickups.
There's a nice range to the Zeus' gain and volume, although it's not as wide or darkly gritty as the Archer's. Its treble control— well, it does brighten up the pedal for times when you might need to really cut through in a mix or onstage, and it can lift a guitar with dialed-down tone pots to screaming highs as needed. But the pedal's inherently bright, transparent nature may also be a pitfall for some players. When I step on a stomp, I'm looking for a little more transformation—and in an overdrive, for me that typically includes a more sculpted, robust, mid-saturated tone along with an enhanced response to chord-hand nuances and dynamics.
"The Zeus responded expressively well to shifts from light to heavy attack for both single notes and chords, baring its teeth when I dug in."
Without the fat boost engaged, the Zeus' transparency was evident, but it could sound a bit thin, making the boost more a necessity than an option, to my ears. With the boost on, and minor adjustments to the treble and drive controls, I was able to get tones closely aligned with the more costly pedal. And that's saying something!
When I had the boost on and the Zeus dialed in to my liking, both low-gain (drive at 8 or 9 o'clock, volume at noon, and treble at 1) and high-gain settings (drive maxed, volume at 10, and treble at 2 or 3) had the vibe of natural amp breakup. Edging the drive to noon generated singing sustain, nudging my Carr ( running at just 7 watts), into old-school Marshall territory. At 35 watts, the distortion was downright pushy.
Want to enter the Klon-tone ballpark at a bargain price? The Zeus Drive could be your ticket. It's easy to control and adjust on the fly, solid as a brick, and responsive to nuanced playing, even when it's cranked. And with the fat boost engaged, the Zeus' sound is as portly and bold as more expensive klones, and that's pretty sweet.
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Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.
The new finish, according to Lava Music, is “inspired by the beauty of the golden hour,” a shining time just before sunset and after sunrise when photographers covet to capture stunning pictures.
With bright and warm golden hues, the new finish adds a brilliant metallic glow to the surface of Lava ME 3, complementing its AirSonic 2 carbon fiber unibody which features L3 Preamp with FreeBoost 2.0, delivers industry-leading sounds by breakthrough acoustic technologies, and houses a multi-touch display powered by Lava-developed HILAVA system.
Speaking of the HILAVA system, Lava Music also added four new effects: Nebula, Desert Rose, Cassette, and Edge of Breakup. As unique as their names sound, they are very much different from what we normally know about effects. Programmed into the HILAVA system, each of the four is powered by the company’s latest ArctanDrive algorithm and incorporates effects like Pitch Shift, Delay, and Reverb. And every one of those incorporated sub-effects comes with various parameters that players can adjust to design unique, overdriven sounds by just tapping on the multi-touch display. That said, those effects enable users to play with overdriven tone on an acoustic-electric guitar without even plugging in any external gear.
LAVA ME 3 | Now in Golden Hour | LAVA MUSIC
Lava Me 3 in Golden Hour is now available starting from $999 on LAVA MUSIC, Amazon, and local guitar dealerships near you.
For more information, please visit store.lavamusic.com.