Akai Drive3 Distortion review

  • £59
  • $279
The Drive3 is a lean, mean distortion pedal.

MusicRadar Verdict

A pretty versatile source of distortion but, if you don't mind the bigger footprint, the extra EQ options on the Deluxe look very tempting for just a tenner more.


  • +

    Plenty of gain boost; three flavours of distortion.


  • -

    Not much apart from misleading labelling of the drive3 switch (as with all three Drive3 pedals).

MusicRadar's got your back Our team of expert musicians and producers spends hours testing products to help you choose the best music-making gear for you. Find out more about how we test.

Like the Fuzz and Overdrive, Akai's Distortion also has a three-position switch supplying variations in gain, structure and tone. It's one of two distortions in the range - we reviewed the Deluxe Distortion (£69) last year.


What you get here is a harder-edged dirt box that will suit a variety of styles. Where the warm and boost settings offer more midrange presence, the misnamed fat setting actually sounded nicely scooped and similar to a Rat, albeit a bit less harmonically rich - perhaps it's a spelling mistake…

Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.