Following the release of The Sonic Drive SDR-5 last year, Providence have created another drive effect for fans of quality stomp pedals. Called the Flame Drive (FDR-1F), it possesses three controls similar to their other drive pedals (eg Stampede OD SOV-2) with dials for level, tone and drive.
With a smart red metal case, new additions to this particular pedal include a bass boost option and Providence's Vitalizer tone circuity (seen on their Phase Force PHF-1 pedal). The former is a small black button to the right of the pedal that offers extra low end when pressed in (akin to making your combo sound a little more weighty or 4 x 12 cab-like).
The Vitalizer is designed to prevent signal degradation that can be problematic when five or more pedals are chained together. This is on all the time, regardless whether the pedal is engaged or not. Ideally placed early in your chain, this will improve the final signal going into your amp.
With their D.C.G circuit (double contact grounding circuit for improved connection and sound) and V.N.S circuit (minimises noise when switching effect on and off) in tow, this is a very impressive pro pedal. Furthermore, with a power consumption of just 8mA this will run for many hours before a battery change is required.
So how does it sound?
To our ears it sits somewhere between the SOV-2 and their Heat Blaster HBL-2: it has outstanding overdrive potential (pleasingly tight and responsive to playing dynamics/volume changes, especially with single coil pickups) and with the drive wound up has a strong and resonant distortion, brimming with body and upper harmonics.
If you like your tones to be thick, player responsive and with just a little give (think AC/DC meets Robben Ford!) this pedal is for you.
The Flame Drive retails at £299 in the UK and €319 in Europe. For more info visit www.providence.jp