Eight discrete analog circuits, 100 preset slots, and impressive controllability round out the latest from this Swedish pedal outfit.

Guitarists have long been intrigued by the idea of using digital processing to get scores of tones out of one box. Early on, digital solutions—at least in the realm of distortion—couldn’t really hold a candle to analog options. Swedish effect outfit Elektron is one of the latest companies to try to remedy that deficiency in a compact stompbox format. The Analog Drive pairs eight discrete analog overdrive circuits with the ability to digitally recall 100 tonal permutations drawn from those circuits (10 of them factory-programmed).

The Analog Drive doesn’t seem intended to generate bristling mayhem at low volumes. Even in “high gain” mode, many players of the thrashing persuasion will wish for more saturation. But this may be because the pedal’s primary purpose seems to be pushing hardworking tube amps over the edge rather than being an all-in-one distortion smorgasbord.

The most impressive thing about the AD is that its circuits really do sound every bit as warm and inviting as a favorite ol’ dirt stomp—particularly the “dirty drive” and “clean boost” voicings. There’s absolutely no hint of digital grossness, and the lone fuzz voicing—a big, thick, sustaining sound—is a lot of fun for middle-of-the-road applications.

Clip 1: Recorded with Schecter Ultra III with TV Jones Magna’Tron bridge pickup into Jaguar HC50 combo. Elektron Analog Drive is in clean boost mode with gain at 3 o’clock, low at max, mid freq at 3 o’clock, mid at 8 o’clock, high at 11 o’clock, and level at noon.
Clip 2: Recorded with Schecter Ultra III with TV Jones Magna’Tron bridge pickup into Jaguar HC50 combo. Elektron is in dirty drive mode with gain at max, low at noon, mid freq at max, mid at noon, high at 4 o’clock, and level at 11 o’clock.
Clip 3: Recorded with Schecter Ultra III with TV Jones Magna’Tron bridge pickup into Jaguar HC50 combo. Elektron is in harmonic fuzz mode with gain at max, low at noon, mid freq at minimum, mid at max, high at 11 o’clock, and level at 11 o’clock.

Test gear: Squier Vintage Modified Tele with Curtis Novak Tel-V and JM-V pickups, Schecter Ultra III with TV Jones Magna’Tron and Duncan Designed pickups, ’76 Fender Vibro-Champ with WGS G8C speaker, Jaguar HC50 with ceramic Weber Gray Wolf speaker

Ratings

Pros:
Organic-sounding overdrive. Mid-sweep control. Expression-pedal inputs for gain and mid sweep. MIDI in and out jacks.

Cons:
Some drive circuits seem very similarly voiced. Mid-sweep could be more wide-ranging. Only one fuzz type.

Street:
$379

Elektron Analog Drive
elektron.se

Tones:

Ease of Use:

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