EHX East River Drive

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by EmaDaCuz, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. EmaDaCuz

    EmaDaCuz Brutal yet soulful

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    Mar 28, 2014
    Chester, UK
    An overdrive is that kind of pedal that every guitarist should own. Well, I have been playing the electric guitar for 21 years and I have never owned one... So it was about time to fill that gap in my pedalboard.

    The EHX East River Drive (ERD from now on) is, well, a stomp box. It looks splendid, with a spectacular green stylised NY skyline. In the unofficial colour code, green stands for "tube screamer". However, the ERD is something more than a TS clone. And it is not a traditional OD, either.
    It has 3 knobs, DRIVE, TONE, VOL. Nothing new here.
    It is cheap, at around GBP 45 is just a little more expensive than a Digitech or Behringer pedal, and well below the Boss's range. Despite the low price, the box looks sufficiently sturdy, the knobs and the button are very solid and responsive.

    It sounds different, or at least not like most of the modern pedals. The sound, of course, depends on the use of the pedal. I will split the analysis in 4 cases.

    Booster on tube amp - Lead Channel
    Most of the modern guitar players use their OD to boost the signal of the distorted channel and add tightness and have a better lead tone, when necessary. I refer to the usual LEVEL/VOL: 10, GAIN/DRIVE: 0, TONE: 5 setting.
    The ERD works OK, but it is far from transparent and it colours the sound with nice harmonics. The resulting sound is quite compressed and works well for palm muting as well as ringing power chords. Not so good in boosting the lead, though.

    Booster on tube amp - Clean Channel
    Old style approach, here. What about saturating the clean channel and make those tubes burn? Using the same settings as above, the ERD does shine. The overdrive coming from the red hot glowing tubes is a crunch paradise, aggressive but sweet, tight and rich of harmonics. Of course, the sound will clearly be influenced by the amp you use.

    Overdrive/Distortion on tube amp - Clean Channel
    Do you want more distortion? Turn the DRIVE knob clockwise and get ready to experience a sonic orgasm. You go from a tight crunch to a roaring distortion, which is great for hard rock or metal when you don't need the "chug factor". The other guitarist in my band was left speechless, he could immagine an overdrive could produce such a high gain tone. It is quite a bright tone, though. Better play with the tone control of your guitar to dial in a darker, hot tube sound.
    Definitely my favourite mode.

    As booster or overdrive/distortion on a Solid State amp
    Unusable. I first tried it as a booster, and I had to bring the LEVEL down to 9 o'clock to have an acceptable sound. The Lead SS channel couldn't cope with more.
    As an overdrive/distortion on the clean channel, it sounds pretty weak, glassy, thin. All the nice harmonics you hear on a tube amp are gone. I don't see any use of it in this context.

    As I said above, I would recommend this pedal as a stand alone overdrive/distortion on a tube amp. It gives you a great sound, which can somehow remind you of Fulltone OCD or Blackstar HT Dist. Not extremely high gain, but a very pleasuring growl.

    Yes, absolutely. I would also check out its brother EHX The Glove, which has slightly more gain and more low end, but less character.
  2. Rook89

    Rook89 Regular

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    Nov 13, 2016
    Tacoma, WA
    Nice review! I'm going to check this pedal out seems like something I would like

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