This pedal lives in a sonic space virtually indistinguishable from what a true tube preamp and power amp section would produce.
Delivers sultry, saggy and versatile amp saturation
Glorious tones from fat crunch to searing leads
High price may deter some players
You can trust Guitar Player. Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
When Tone Lords like David Gilmour, David Grissom and Sonny Landreth top your list of prominent pedal users, it’s fair to say you’re making a pretty decent product.
Founded in 2012 by Simon Keats, U.K.-based Origin Effects has developed a sterling reputation in the past several years among discriminating players for the vintage-approved sonics and all-analog signal paths of flagship pedals like the Cali76 and the much-loved RevivalDRIVE, arguably one of the finest, and surely among the most expensive, front-end overdrive/amp pedals currently available.
Following in the footsteps of the RevivalDRIVE and Cali76 is one of the company’s latest offerings: the RevivalDRIVE Compact – a simplified and downsized, if no less impressive, version of the original channel-switching RevivalDRIVE.
While the sophisticated feature set of the original dual-channel RevivalDRIVE appealed to many players, the 12 control knobs and large form factor – and the real estate it required on your pedalboard – did not.
With its single-channel circuit, the Compact pares down the knobs into a more manageable set of six.
Across the top are controls for output, highs and drive; below are controls for blend (allowing you to mix the wet/dry signal between the pedal and your amp), lows, and More/Pres, which in this case is a bit more nuanced than the presence control on a traditional amplifier.
What the Compact retains is the tube-amp-style signal path: a dedicated Class A preamp, a long-tail pair phase-inverter and a “reactive overdrive” design that Origin claims simulates the interaction of amp and speaker.
Like most Origin Effects pedals, the Compact also features a post-drive EQ switch to tailor the sound to the amp you’re using: EQ1 is designed for use with brighter amps, EQ2 for darker amps, and P/Amp for use with flat-response modelers and direct recording use, though all may be useful for tweaking the EQ in various settings depending on how you’ve set the other main controls.
In particular, the lows, highs and presence controls will determine EQ shape and the type of amps the pedal is approximating, be they Vox-, Marshall- or more Fender-style tones.
If you favor rounder, browner sounds, you may find that EQ1 is your go-to for most amps. EQ2 can be pretty brash unless you’re using an especially dark-sounding amp.
While its best reference points may be overdrive pedals from the Fulltone OCD to the Boss Blues Driver and Bogner LaGrange, it’s worth noting that the sound from the RevivalDRIVE Compact lives in a sonic space virtually indistinguishable from what a true tube preamp and power amp section would produce.
That is, the gain, which is easily variable from Keef-like crunch to EJ-style violin shred and beyond, sounds intrinsic to the sound you’re getting, and not simply layered on top of it.
This impression is justified, in part, by the Compact’s excellent blend control, essentially a wet/dry knob.
Full-up, it’s all RevivalDRIVE (slaying lead tones for days), and as you back off, the Compact reduces its gain and blends with your amp’s own gain level to produce a robust, articulate rhythm sound.
But rarely do you sense that the sound comes only from the pedal. It just sounds like a great amp doing its job the old-fashioned way, even if your amp has precious little onboard gain of its own.
- CONTROLS: Output, highs, gain, blend, lows, presence
- SWITCHES: Post drive EQ, P/Amp, EQ1, EQ2
- HOUSING: Hand-polished, brushed stainless-steel, aluminum controls. Neutrik jacks
- EXTRAS: 9V DC 2.1mm center-negative power supply (no battery option)
- SIZE: 5.62” x 2.6” x 2.56”
- WEIGHT: 1.37 lbs