Sparkle Drive alternative?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Neener, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. Neener

    Neener Tele-Holic

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    Recently came across a Voodoo Labs Sparkle drive and I absolutely fell in love with the thing. I probably try at least 2 OD pedals a week on my endless quest for tonal nirvana.

    Just when I thought my search feature was over, I noticed a slight tone suck. And then the switch went bad...apparently this is happens to a good number of these.

    I’m considering rolling the dice and buying another, I really really dug that pedal! Oh why tone gods!

    Anything similar you’d recommend?

    p.s Must be true bypass
     
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  2. TeleTex82

    TeleTex82 Friend of Leo's

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    Aren't those based on an 808?
     
  3. 50ShadesofOrange

    50ShadesofOrange Tele-Meister

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    My Voodoo Lab Tremolo crapped out outside the warranty.

    They fixed it for free and even covered return shipping.

    Top notch customer service, so reach out to them and don’t give up on that pedal!
     
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  4. stantheman

    stantheman Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yep they got the 808 thing and the added ability of mixing in some clean boost too. They were the first pedal that could put the user in Dumble Territory.

    Voodoo Labs has broken a lot of new ground and also gave the world a lot of toys from the Psychedelic Age whose originals had skyrocketed in price.
     
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  5. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Holic

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    yeah, it's a tube screamer with a clean signal blend

    ... google 'tube screamer with clean signal blend" and see what comes up.
     
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  6. TeleTex82

    TeleTex82 Friend of Leo's

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    I think the Visual Sound Route 66 was one?
     
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  7. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Holic

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    Maxon OD-820 looks like it might be the ticket. Not exactly cheap though.
     
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  8. Neener

    Neener Tele-Holic

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    Interesting, good to know!
     
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  9. Neener

    Neener Tele-Holic

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    I really dig the look of that Maxon series...they are a bit pricey but worth a look thanks!
     
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  10. Old Plank

    Old Plank Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I haven't noticed the tone suck, I usually run on low gain and plenty of clean mixed in. However, my switch broke also some years ago, but upon repair it has been fine ever since.

    I'm glad this came up because I loaned it to a friend over a week ago to use with his acoustic set-up, and have not heard back from him! Must have worked well with an acoustic too.
     
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  11. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Tele-Afflicted

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    Not sure why it would have tone suck, it is a true bypass pedal. Voodoo Labs has good customer service, I would contact them about fixing the switch, they may not even charge you.
    Al
     
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  12. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    The VL stuff, at least the older ones, aren't true bypass, in the strict sense. They use an optocoupler, and when it fails, you can end up with tone suck issues.

    [​IMG]

    Stinkfoot page explaining the bypass:
    http://stinkfoot.se/archives/1005
     
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  13. Neener

    Neener Tele-Holic

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    Wow, that’s kind of disappointing. The article was a bit confusing (for me) but I think I get it. While I see that it functions like true bypass, having that unreliability hanging bums me out.

    I found another cheap sparkle on Guitar Centers website and went ahead and grabbed it. I figured I’d give it another shot. But might return learning it’s not directly true bypass. I know Theres people on both sides of the TB argument, I just prefer TB in my setup. And these having a well documented history of “bad switches” just might not be for me after all.

    Side note I grabbed a Gearmandude Luther v2 off Reverb yesterday.
     
  14. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeah, while VL's use of the optocoupler is clever, there seem to have been many switching failures over the years. I wonder if newer VL pedals like the Sparkle Drive Mod also have the optocoupler, or if VL might have switched to the now fairly standard 3PDT switch?
     
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  15. Neener

    Neener Tele-Holic

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    I think I read the newer Mod versions have a “gold relay”

    Edit: gold contact relay
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020
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  16. Neener

    Neener Tele-Holic

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    Whatever that means.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020
  17. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Just do yourself a favor and pick up the phone and call Voodoo Labs and review your questions with them. There was a clear issue with the switches on many of the first SD's. Hard to imagine they haven't addressed this by this point. As others have said these folks have a great reputation for being a stand up company. I have the SD-Mod with the "gold contact relay", whatever that may be, since 2016 and it has not had any issues. I'm very happy with this product. Good luck.:)
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020
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  18. Mrbob135

    Mrbob135 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I have two pedals on my board that fill this role. The first is a Truetone VS-XO. This is a double pedal, one side being a TS variant with a three way switchable clipping option, and a three way switchable bass selection. It also has a clean blend dial. The other side is a more amp like drive. You can choose whether the pedal uses it's built in buffer or operates in true bypass. Lots of great tones within this pedal!

    I also have a T-Rex Crunchy Frog that I picked up at GC on sale for like $39.00 if memory serves me. This is another double pedal with the drive based on the TS, with a clean blend knob. The other side is an independent clean boost. This one sounds really good as well, although I am not sure that it is TBP.
     
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  19. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I think the Wampler Brent Mason Hot wired pedal is similar too. The newer version has a blend knob to blend in cleans and it is a double-sided pedal also. I have seen these on reverb.com for $125-$145. Just make sure you get one with 7 knobs - that's the blend version. The 6 knob version does not have a blend.
     
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  20. Neener

    Neener Tele-Holic

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    That’s y’all. I guess I should just asked was your favorite 808 clone with a clean blend :)
     
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