With its amps having a certain cachet, not least a Jimmy Page connection, it was no surprise that the Supro name was revived recently by the people behind Pigtronix pedals.
The resulting series of new amps has quickly gained respect and one of their designers, Thomas Elliot, has now put his expertise behind a new range of Supro pedals, the first three fruits of his labour being these Drive, Fuzz and Boost pedals. Today, we’re looking at the Drive.
The pedal is workmanlike rather than boutique-slick with solid, if rather tall, brushed aluminium casing. It runs from a standard nine-volt power supply but can also take 18 volts for extra headroom. It can also run from a battery that is housed in an easy-access slide-out plastic tray on the pedal’s side. Another neat feature is that it has a socket to take an expression pedal to control one specific parameter.
The Drive pedal is designed to deliver the distinctive sounds of an overdriven Supro amp, a sound that Supro says is largely down to the power amp inside, especially its old-school transformers.
In the pursuit of that goal the company has equipped the pedal with an actual output transformer, complete with a large toggle switch to select between the different windings. Juxtaposition of the Volume and Gain knobs will take you from a clean-ish boost through loads of breaking up tones to low-wattage amp-at-full-throttle drive, all complemented by a Tone control that serves to focus the raggedy top-end presence.
Exactly what you get is determined by the two switch settings: Bold offers a less-gainy take on things, while Rich is the higher gain setting, upping the compression and offering denser, harmonically richer tones. This is vibrant overdrive with a raw Supro flavour and we like it a lot, especially because the option of controlling gain with an expression pedal puts the dirt under foot-control.
The Drive pedal is an original design that offers a different and welcome slant from the large number of drives that are near-clones of others - it’s also an amp-in-a box for those gnarly Supro tones.