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3 different Zen Drives

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by klasaine, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 28, 2006
    NELA, Ca
    I rarely do gear demos (unless I'm tryin' to sell something) but I do have 3 different Zendrives. An original Alf Hermida (black and white) from maybe '08 or '09 and two of Sean's (Lovepedal): a Gold and a Red Dot.

    This vid is a little long, I talk too much and I only use a Strat (and only 3 of the pkup selections).
    Though they're all in the same ballpark, they are definitely different animals.

    If you've ever wondered what the difference is (as I did), give a listen ...

     
    Iago, JustABluesGuy, uriah1 and 2 others like this.
  2. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    I still have my original and for lap steel, nothing compares.
     
    klasaine likes this.
  3. Iago

    Iago Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 18, 2006
    Brazil
    Very good demo!
     
  4. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2009
    Minnesota
    +1. I liked the Gold. But ask me again tomorrow.;)
     
    uriah1 likes this.
  5. Lies&Distortion

    Lies&Distortion Tele-Holic

    628
    May 27, 2014
    SE Michigan
    Exactly.

    I have a Zendrive II, black with gold text from Lovepedal. It's in the same ballpark but different as well. Maybe close to the gold but higher gain?
     
  6. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 28, 2006
    NELA, Ca
    Worth noting that amp and guitar make a HUGE difference.
    I purposely used the most garden variety gear I had.
     
    chemobrain likes this.
  7. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    My best guess for the reason for the differences would be due to variation in tolerances for the voice pot, and potentially the other two components that are tied to it. The voice circuit does two things - it alters the gain and is a variable highpass filter. It could be a matter of more or less bass getting clipped for an equivalent given gain setting - the more bass that's clipping at higher gains will typically sound less clear, as you might imagine. This alone could very likely be why you can't get any of the three different ZDs to sound very similar.

    Other potential causes (IMO):
    • different combos of clipping diodes (I'm guessing that this effect would be obvious)
    • different value for the cap in the negative feedback loop - affects how much treble is cut for a given gain setting
    ...This assumes that it's an "all else equal" scenario, with pot values and tapers being the same, and the bulk of the resistor and cap values being the same, amongst the three different ZDs. I'd still probably wager on it being differences in measured values with the 3 parts that form the voice circuit. You could have further variation based on tolerances with the gain pot, too - say that one maxes out at 500K (or higher), but another one is ~450K or so.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
    klasaine likes this.
  8. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

    rippin!
     
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  9. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 28, 2006
    NELA, Ca
    What I understand of that :D, I agree with.
    Thank you!
     
  10. Lies&Distortion

    Lies&Distortion Tele-Holic

    628
    May 27, 2014
    SE Michigan
    I have a pretty stock mim strat into a tweaker 40, pretty clean. Just compared with video over my phone. I'm sure there are subtle differences, but mine sounds reasonably close to any of those, especially if adjusted a little.
     
  11. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 28, 2006
    NELA, Ca
    "Reasonably close", absolutely. But the 3 that I own vary a lot in how much gain they each possess as well as how they clean up. Which is why I made the demo.
     
  12. Lies&Distortion

    Lies&Distortion Tele-Holic

    628
    May 27, 2014
    SE Michigan
    I was just a little surprised, I played with mine and thought "this has a ton more gain", then I played your video again and it wasn't quite as drastic as I assumed.

    I agree, definitely different, especially in clean up.
     
  13. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 28, 2006
    NELA, Ca
    The real outlier is the "Gold".
    I can get the Orig and the Red very close but the Gold, it's almost like it isn't a classic Zendrive anymore.
     
  14. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    I wonder if the gold one has SMT construction, and if so, if it might have to do with parts substitutions. That's really just a musing more than anything, without actually knowing what's under the hood (I know some other LP stuff is SMT).
     
  15. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2009
    Minnesota
    I doubt SMT or tolerances have anything to do with their differences outside of what one would get with any product. They are more likely voiced different intentionally.
     
  16. DaveKS

    DaveKS Friend of Leo's

    Oct 21, 2013
    KS
    Not sure what basic zens use for clipping stages but ZenII gold replaced tube with FET.
     
  17. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 28, 2006
    NELA, Ca
    My Zen Gold is 'probably' the Zendrive II Gold.
    SMT with FET.
     
  18. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

    Jun 19, 2009
    Nashville TN
    It's good to know the red can sound close to the original. I was going to ask about that. Apparently there's also a "Black Magik" version.
     
  19. Lies&Distortion

    Lies&Distortion Tele-Holic

    628
    May 27, 2014
    SE Michigan
    That is what I have. I just searched and found a thread you had replied to last May.
     
  20. Matt Sarad

    Matt Sarad TDPRI Member

    89
    Apr 29, 2003
    Gold. I have the black and white. I get a Jerry Garcia sound with it, not what I was shooting for.
     
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