What is it?
The Odyssey from Hamstead Soundworks is one of the most versatile drive pedals you can get. The range was everything. Clean boost? Sure. Unruly, harmonically rich overdrive? Absolutely. Fuzz? Well, come on over...
It was a pedal that was impossible not to love. But could it be improved upon? Hamstead seem to think so, and the Subspace Intergalactic Driver is it. The Subspace will occupy a same role on your pedalboard, i.e. a do-it-all drive pedal, but comes with a re-tooled low-end response to keep those bass-heavier frequencies in the mix, and it comes with a parallel blend control for dialing in a mix of your overdriven and clean signals.
There are six knobs on the enclosure – Tone, Bass, Treble, Gain, Parallel, and Level – and a trio of three-way switches for setting your drive's clipping mode, input gain level and positioning of your drive pre- or post- drive circuit or engaging clean boost mode.
On the rear of the enclosure there is a pad switch to cut the input gain by -10dB, a useful feature if you are using a high-level instrument such as an active bass. There is an optical OptoKick switch from TheGigRig for silent (and trouble-free) switching. The build is flawless.
Performance and Verdict
There is so much play in the Subspace's tone controls. The bass and treble can be adjusted by +/-18dB of boost or cut. The ability to place this before or after the drive circuit offers the choice between amp-like drive and what Hamstead describes as "studio-style EQ control".
But perhaps it's best to explore the Subspace from the clean boost and take it from there. That, too, is accessed with the same three-way switch that positions your EQ before or after the drive circuit. It bypasses the pedal's tone, gain and clipping controls and can dial in a hefty amount of transparent boost. There's +38dB to play with here so do be careful, start low and then dial up the level a bit.
The clipping options offer you three distinct voices for your gain. The C1 position offers symmetrical clipping for classic drives. C2 is asymmetrical, only affecting half of your signal, which makes it excellent for low-gain bluesy drives, adding a little definition to more saturated tones and for fun fuzz tones.
While there is no mids control, if you set your EQ to arrive before the drive circuit the bass and treble controls can be tweaked to enhance your midrange.
The parallel blend control works as a volume control for your unprocessed signal, and if you play around with this and the Level and Gain controls there is so much potential for tone-sculpting, for dialling in more articulation to a dirty signal or mixing in some gain in the background of a clean tone. The sky's the limit.
MusicRadar verdict: Offering a huge range of drive tones, a clean boost and blend controls, the Subspace is quite possibly the only drive pedal you'd ever need.
- ORIGIN: UK
- TYPE: Drive pedal
- FEATURES: Buffered bypass, OptoKick footswitch, input pad switch (0dB/-10dB)
- CONTROLS: Tone, Bass, Treble, Gain, Parallel, Level, EQ pre/post switch, Clipping switch (C1/C2/C3), Input Gain switch (X2/X1/X5), Input Pad switch, internal dip-switch for power up mode, bypass footswitch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
- POWER: 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 60mA
- DIMENSIONS: 70 (w) x 130 (d) x 65mm (h)
- CONTACT: Hamstead Soundworks (opens in new tab)