A couple of years ago I was in surfing through the overdrive pedal section of eBay and came across this pedal from Thiland-based one-man brand NX Generation (it appears to be that way, anyway). I looked it up and Narin, the man behind the pedal, posted good demos of this pedal.
Warm Drive! Indeed, I was looking for a warm and smooth overdrive to contrast with my ferocious LovePedal Gold Dragon. So I took a chance on it.
It’s a pretty standard overdrive fare, at least the version I have. Volume, Gain and Tone.
However, there are a couple of quirks to note — turning the gain all the way doesn’t result in no sound coming out, like many dirt pedals. It gets fairly clean but it still dishes out some dirt when you dig in. From there, it gradually ramps up the gain until about noon. From noon to 5 o’clock, it doesn’t really seem to change the gain a whole lot.
The tone control, on the other hand, goes very dark at the counter-clockwise end, and from there to about 9 o’clock it affects the tone. But a wide sweep from there to about 3 o’clock — the tonal change is very subtle. From 3 to 5 o’clock, the tone gets drastically brighter.
So the controls don’t have even range — some parts of it change the sound more than others. Nothing wrong with that, really. As long as it sounds good.
And sounds good, it does. The demo on YouTube is a fairly accurate capture of its sound. As the maker suggests this to be in Tube Screamer-type usage, it does tighten the bottom a bit and dulls the top (unless you crank the tone all the way) — it has a mid-hump. But it doesn’t have clean tone bleed-through like TS and to my ears it has a very forward-sounding, muscular mid range. Its tone also has a nice vocal quality to it. The name Warm Drive suggests a smooth tone to me, but I’d rather call this Muscular Drive. It is not a mellow pedal. Turning down the tone makes it less in-your-face sounding but it doesn’t really smooth out the tone. In fact, with tone low and volume high and gain half-way up (which is really all the way up, as it really doesn’t change a whole lot going up from there) it can get into palm-muting hard-rock range, with a single-coil pickup.
When the gain is set somewhere between 7 o’clock to noon, it’s somewhat touch sensitive and volume-knob clean up is moderate. It doesn’t clean up totally to clean tone but it doesn’t sound terrible. With the gain higher than noon it’s musically compressed — you can still get some nuances with varying pick attacks, but the pedal really sings and sustains.
Like I said, bold and muscular is how I’d describe this pedal. It doesn’t entirely change its signature sound no matter how you set the knobs, so make sure bold and muscular is what you want when considering this pedal. It’s great for blues, classic rock and old-school hard rock. Its forward-sounding mid range cuts through mixes very well.
The inside of the pedal is very neat and the pedal comes with obligatory true bypass and Boss-style AC plug.
I know the builder updated its design to be 4-knob now — I can’t find a description on how the two gain knobs differ from each other but it doesn’t seem to sound radically different from the version I have.
To the tune of $100 I’d say this is a great find if you’re in need of the one sound that this pedal delivers in spades. As of this writing he seems to be consistently on eBay selling his pedal world wide from Thailand. Go check out the videos on YouTube and if you like what you hear hit Narin up.