Comparison of BD-2w, Zendrive, UltraPhonix...

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by bluesholyman, Dec 12, 2019.

  1. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

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    I find interesting similarities between these pedals as I have tried each of them out in comparison lately and wanted to share my experience.

    Zendrive - the most open and uncompressed of the three without a loss of low-end. Just a great sounding pedal - quite possibly one of the best drives I have ever heard. The tone and voice knobs make this a really versatile pedal.

    Ultraphonix - Sounds very similar to the Zendrive, but with the low end rolled off - less versatile than the zendrive, but still a great sounding pedal. I do not like low-end rolloff so this gave way to the Zendrive on my board.

    BD-2w - a great sounding pedal and "somewhat" similar to the other two. Similar low-end roll-off of the Vertex, but overall a more compressed sound as you take the gain up. The Ultraphonix has better note separation I think than the BD-2w ("C" setting) though. I get what people love about the pedal, but the low-end roll-off and perceived compression are non-starters for me personally.


    All three have their place, depending upon what tone you are looking for. I ended up with the Zendrive and overall, was surprised how they were all more similar than not in their sounds. They are different enough, but I personally would not have two of these on the same board.
     
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  2. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks for the review!
     
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  3. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

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    You're welcome. I wonder if I go overboard with this stuff sometimes, but I hope people find the perceptions useful. I think I am constantly evolving my sound, tweaking it as I find something I like better enough to replace something current. So when I hear something interesting about several pedals, I think it could be useful to people. I don't care about the circuits or how they achieved that, I just listen and decided what I hear and like or not.

    At the end of the day, two things I walked away with from the experiment were:

    - I could use a BD-2w in a pinch to get a tone I like
    - The Ultraphonix, if it is a copy of the Zendrive is neither a great copy nor an improvement IMO.

    That second nugget might need explanation. It's a good sounding pedal but if its trying to be a Zendrive, without being an exact copy, the changes, IMO, were not an improvement with the reduced low end and fewer controls. In use I found it took a little effort to dial in and on many occasions I felt like it took out too much low end for my taste - that was the one constant in the back of my mind while I had it - I'm losing the low end, but I love the sound otherwise.

    The ZenDrive solved that for me. The BD-2w seemed relevant as I had just gone through a small comparison of the BD-2w and Ultraphonix not too long ago, and I was surprised how close I could get the two, while there were still subtle differences, but they both reduced the low end pretty consistently, something that didn't come to mind for me until I added the Zendrive to that comparison.
     
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  4. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

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    I for one really enjoy hearing about the impressions of fellow musicians on this forum. Online demos and reviews from gear merchants tend to be colored by their desire to sell us something. :lol: After hanging out here for a while we begin to learn which fellow members share our taste in gear/tone. In fact some of my favorite pedals of all time were purchased because of discussions on the TDPRI. (Rat, Hot Cake, Timmy among others) So even though it sometimes results in GAS, keep up the good work. :cool:
     
  5. Lies&Distortion

    Lies&Distortion Tele-Afflicted

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    Which Zendrive?
    I have the higher gain Zendrive (II?). Still on the fence about it.
     
  6. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

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    This is the LovePedal version - mass-produced original as far as I know....don't believe its a high-gain version...
     
  7. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    What low-end roll-off from the BD2 are you referring to?

    To me it sounds like a Fender amp with the Bass set to 9 or 10 when I turn it on. The bass sounds at least flat to pedal off, but if anything an increase.

    I would wonder if it is rig dependent but I've used the BD2 in tons of rigs. It always has way more bass than a TS or even Klon to my ear. In fact, for me that is one of the problems with both the BD2 and OD3. I love them for low volume home applications but live they have so much bass they just don't work for me.

    I wonder if @11 Gauge or other circuit gurus have looked at this issue in the BD2?
     
  8. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    Lovepedal puts out a million variations of the Zendrive without doing a lot of documentation of which is which. There's the tube Zendrive II, the FET Zendrive II, the Black Magic Zendrive, etc etc. They all have the same controls but some have a lot more gain. Not always clear which ones. This company is weird -- but they do make some terrific pedals & sometimes sell them for peanuts, so I guess I'm not complaining.
     
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  9. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

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    I wouldn't call it an issue, it's all relative when comparing one pedal to another. I prefer pedals that allow more of the low-end through, or at least the option to dial it in.
     
  10. Lies&Distortion

    Lies&Distortion Tele-Afflicted

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    This
     
  11. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I mean looked a the EQ of the BD2. I don't think it rolls off low end. If anything it might add some. If it does roll off, it rolls off far less and less steeply than a TS, to my ears.
     
  12. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah, I think its probably something like this...
     
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