Lots of pedals have “valve” in their name, but the Nu-
Valve actually uses two Nuvistors—miniature vacuum
tubes introduced by RCA in 1959 to compete with the
early transistors. These thimble-sized triodes (which have
metal covers and are about the same diameter as transistors
from the ’50s) require that the Nu-Valve be powered
by an external 9-volt adapter only, and there are vents on
both sides of the die-cast housing to allow heat to escape.
The Nu-Valve is true bypass, and it has Volume, Gain,
Tone, and Voice controls, and an LED status indicator.
Hermida says that this pedal is designed to be edgier
sounding than the other solid-state pedals in the line—
including the famous Zendrive—and depending on how
you set the Tone and Voice controls, you certainly can get
a lot of bite from it. That said, there are plenty of meaty
distortion textures available here too. The Nu-Valve excels
at tube-style overdrive with a British accent, and it has
plenty of gain range to cover anything from blues to rock
to classic metal. The dynamic response is excellent, and
the Voice control doesn’t radically alter the sound, but
rather functions like an amp’s presence control to allow
you to fine-tune the top-end for exactly the distortion textures
you want from humbucker or single-coil pickups.
The Nu-Valve can also deliver a lot of output regardless
of where the Gain knob is set, which makes it abundantly
useful as a tube-powered booster for overdriving your
amp’s front end. What a sweet pedal, and well deserving
of an Editors’ Pick Award.
KUDOS Excellent tube-sounding distortion.
More from this Stompbox Roundup...