Review: Keeley D&M Drive Overdrive Pedal

Dan Steinhardt and Mick Taylor love them some pedals, and their love of pedals shines through in the hugely versatile and great sounding Keeley D&M Drive Overdrive Pedal.
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Dan Steinhardt and Mick Taylor love them some pedals. This pair’s rabid enthusiasm for the multifarious stompbox has lured impressive audiences to their YouTube series “That Pedal Show,” and now Dan (also proprietor of The GigRig) and Mick—a former editor of Guitarist magazine (U.K.)—have put their tone where their talk is by co-designing a dual-channel overdrive with American boutique-pedal manufacturer Robert Keeley. The D&M Drive ($229 street) has a Boost side (Mick) and a Drive side (Dan), each with Gain, Tone, and Level controls, but the real kicker is a toggle in between that lets you select which side comes first when both are engaged to feed one into the other (Dan and Mick are big into gain-staging). And—bonus feature alert!—connecting many switching systems to the pedals input and output via TRS cable accesses each channel independently for remote switching.

Tested with a Les Paul and a Stratocaster into custom tweed Deluxe, AC15, and JTM45-style amps, the D&M Drive proved extremely versatile, and sounded great at every turn. Although it’s dubbed “Boost,” the right-hand Mick channel leaned quickly into low-to medium-gain overdrive with the Gain knob anywhere past 11 o’clock or so. Its thick midrange might bring Tube Screamer comparisons, although its plump low end and more open voice indicated it’s no mere clone of the green box. This side is great for goosing an on-the-edge tube amp into authentically valvular overdrive, with delectably playable dynamics and a juicy, toothsome core. Dan’s Drive channel has a broader range of gain, and a more overtly “overdrive-meets-distortion” voicing—which is to say, more sizzle in the harmonic saturation, and the potential for more intense mayhem when really wound up. This is a great rock-lead injector, plain and simple, and again, is extremely dynamic in the process. However, the real fun comes when you stack the two in either direction, enabling wild and wonderful new levels of fire and fury. A hugely versatile and great sounding pedal, the D&M Drive is an Editors’ Pick Award winner.

KUDOS A versatile overdrive with two great sounding channels, and the bonus of selecting your stacking order
CONCERNS 9VDC converter input is a little off-center on this one.