Have you ever plugged a nice guitar into a good amp and gotten a really nice sound that fell short because it was too plain? This pedal solves that problem. When I think of Bruce Springsteen's guitar sound I think of it as "electric." I don't recall his tone as being a pure clean sound and I certainly don't recall it as being distorted, just somewhere in that gray area of electric tones. What makes this pedal unique is that instead of just overdriving the tone, like a Tube Screamer, it combines the clean tone with the overdriven tone. It has controls for Gain, Tone, Clean and Volume. The Gain control increases the amount and the level of the overdrive. The Tone control affects the overdriven signal. The Clean control affects the level of the clean signal. The Volume control is the master volume. The ability to blend clean and overdriven sounds makes it possible to have really detailed control of where you want to end up in the clean to overdriven spectrum. The presence of the clean signal is beneficial in two other ways. First, if you're adding any effects later in the signal path, they sound better. For instance chorus. Since there tends to be a little better articulation of each note when the signal is clean, a chorus won't just wash out the sound or thin it as it usually does after overdrive. Second, in a live setting having the clean sound pass through makes it easier to layer distortion pedals. The Sparkle Drive is in the $125 range. It's definitely a new take on how to get those in- between clean and overdriven sounds. If you're looking for massive distortion it's not the right pedal, but if you eve have a need to have an overdrive pedal in front of another overdrive or distortion or in front of any other effect, the presence of the clean signal will help a lot. Plus its construction and aesthetic value are up to the high standards of the rest of the Voodoo Lab pedals. (www.voodoolab.com)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

Or Learn More