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Empress Effects Pedal Owner's Club - A Canadian Company!

Discussion in 'Pedal/Effects Owners Clubs' started by xMercury69x, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. xMercury69x

    xMercury69x Friend of Leo's

    Nov 9, 2012
    Toronto
    Empress Multidrive review

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Alrighty, here is my review, based on several hours of playing around with the Empress Multidrive over the weekend.

    First off, I think I was expecting to fall in love right away, but I didn't. You know that girl you always thought would be awesome and you finally got a date with her and it was not up to your expectations? That's my 1st impression.

    But wait...sometimes those girls have a lot more depth than you think and you might make a connection in a much more profound level. This <cautiously optimistic> may be one of those cases.

    The pedal: This thing is tiny! It's very well built and attaractive, but everything is quite close together, which could be awkward for a clodhopper. This is partly because there is no room in the enclosure for a battery, as it runs off a power supplu only. Required current is 120mA and, per manual, can run off 9v or 18v ports on your power box. I ran the pedal through 9v, but I really wish I'd done it via 18v, too.

    Controls: Yes, this thing has knows and switches. Each of the sections has a Gain and a Volume knob, as well as Lo and Hi pass filter switches. Lots of potential for dialing in a very personal type of sound. The Distortion section also has a Crunch/Mild/Lead switch for additional variety. There is also an EQ-type section, where you have a High/Mis/Low and Output control knobs, along with another switch for additional mid frequency controls.

    Sounds:
    Fuzz > It's not a crazy, in-your-face fuzz like a Muff. It's quite subtle and lends additional texture and sustain. I found the Fuzz to be on the noisy side.

    Overdrive > It's supposed to be modelled on a Tweed sound and I guess it's like that. Has a decent range from nice and clean to some good break-up, again, nothing over-the-top. This channel had little or no noise.

    Distortion > My early favorite of the 3. This one gets juicy when you crank up the gain.
    Dist Switch > The Mild is like an OD boost; the Crunch is like a vintage kind of sound, kind of cranky and nasty in a pleasing way; the Lead is more like something that wants to eat your face, almost going the distance to high gain metal-type distortion. This channel had a small amount of noise.

    The EQ section is nice for overall control, but I'm not quite sure yet what the Mid cut stuff does. It wasn't obvious going from one to another, but I'm still getting to know this pedal.

    Overall:

    While I didn't love this pedal straight out of the box, I think it's largely because of it's highly customizable array of sounds and I probably didn't maximize that aspect, partly due to my home set up, which is a small amp (Vox AC4C1-BL) in the hallway, which may have contributed to some of the "noise" the pedal made on certain settings.

    I love the "blend-ablility" of this pedal and I feel fairly confident you can find quality sonds for most of what you do. Depending on your amp, you can really go from clean to whacked-out fuzz distortion with just a few knob turns. Probably not a go-to pedal for metalheads, but should suit others who like to tweak and want a small pedalboard footprint.

    I may add to this review once I verify with Empress that it can be used on an 18v outlet. There is a compatibility chart in the manual listing power supplies.

    Here is a link: http://www.empresseffects.com/manuals/multidrive.pdf

    Let the noise begin...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2014

  2. xMercury69x

    xMercury69x Friend of Leo's

    Nov 9, 2012
    Toronto
    Bump notes:

    This pedal really digs hum buckers

    Two versions exist: Old one runs @ 120mA; new one is 100mA. I'm told there is no benefit to running it at 18V, as they say the headroom is "built in" to the circuitry somehow.
     

  3. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    Okay, I'll join the Club, but with a caveat. I do not own the Empress Compressor that has been on my board for two years now. Trying to decide if or what I want a compressor for, my best friend and guitar mentor sent me his three spendy compressors while he puts together a few EPs together in a sound booth (fortunately he has lots of songs to polish). So, two winters ago, I started trying out various compressors. There is a lot to learn and as I went from simple to complex compressors, the more there is to learn. As I spent weeks just dinking with them, I started to identify the various nuances and began an appreciation for what they do to your playing. The more I played with them, the more I liked the different adjustments. The simpler compressors are nice for quick set ups and/or used as an "in your face" effect, but I like the subtle variables for a final polish to my playing. I know now that I must have about every parameter available for adjustment and the Empress pretty well covers them all. It various settings seemed daunting at first, but now they are very obvious to me. Beating out other similarly priced compressors ... easily, surprised me, but no question in my mind, the Empress Compressor is a great tool. The quality alone has convinced me (a self defined fleaBay, cheapie pedal aficionado) about the differences between mass produced pedals and higher quality pedals. When my buddy is back to gigging again, I will need to spend the big bucks for this awesome pedal.
     

  4. SturmUndTwang

    SturmUndTwang TDPRI Member

    Age:
    44
    19
    Jan 9, 2017
    Calgary, AB
    Not a big club! I have a VM Superdelay on my board that's pretty underutilized - I really only use it on the "tape" setting. Sounds great, though! I lucked into it on Kijiji for a good price.... could never have justified paying retail for it.
     

  5. jaime136

    jaime136 TDPRI Member

    8
    Jan 16, 2011
    NW Florida
    Certainly not a big club. That's a shame because everything i've tried from Empress has been superb. Currenty using a ParaEq, Compressor, and a Heavy. Had a Nebulus as well, but switched it out for a Styrmon Möbius strictly because I needed MIDI control. Great products at a reasonable price.
     

  6. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Sep 24, 2004
    Endicott, NY
    A small but exclusive club. :cool:

    I love my Empress Tremolo. I've had it for several years and I can't imagine a better trem pedal.
    All the bells and whistles I could ever need, outstanding build quality, and most important of all, sounds stellar!!

    Wasn't cheap, but not crazy expensive, either - and well worth every penny I paid for it.
     

  7. forensicdoc

    forensicdoc Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    331
    Nov 3, 2005
    Alberta, Canada
    So little traffic here! I can’t understand why. Empress pedals are top shelf. I’ve owned a Fuzz (still my fave, never should have sold it), a Tape Delay, and recently upgraded the TD with a Vintage Modified Super Delay. I liked the Tape Delay so much I traded my Stryon El Capistan for it. The VMSD is all that plus more; the only Delay you’ll ever need.
     

  8. AndreDanican

    AndreDanican Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

    632
    Feb 5, 2014
    Montreal
    They are great pedals that somehow fly under the radar.
     

  9. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Meister

    467
    May 20, 2018
    Arcata
    Own ParaEQ, Compressor, and Phaser. All top-shelf quality. Also love Fairfield Circuitry, another Canadian company. Between the two my pedalboard is pretty Canadian, eh?
     
    AndreDanican likes this.

  10. AndreDanican

    AndreDanican Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

    632
    Feb 5, 2014
    Montreal
    No Dr. Scientist pedals? Those are great, too.
     

  11. con brio

    con brio Tele-Meister

    Age:
    38
    141
    Apr 21, 2016
    New Zealand
    I’m a Empress Tape Delay user. I got it to replace my dying Echo Park. I loved that weird little pedal and would have got another but sadly they are out of production. My delay needs aren’t super complicated but I do want a tap tempo with a good range of sub divisions and simple operation. The ETD is capable of a more than I use, but it sounds great and doesn’t get in my way, which i value.

    Mostly I just leave it with the low pass engaged and in the middle tape option with no additional modulation, and the mix low.

    It’s also great that the delay time can go really low and I sometimes take advantage of that for subtle chorus and flanger sounds
     

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