Very touch sensitive and smooth like a cranked valve amp finding it’s sweet spot.
Cool retro look
Great tone; dynamic singing overdrive
Price point may not be for everyone
The Hermida Audio Zendrive is one of the most sought-after overdrive pedals in the world. Originally produced in very small numbers by designer Alfonso Hermida, the Zendrive is now produced by Lovepedal, who make some of our favourite pedals of all time and Danny Gill is here to explain just why this one is so special.
The Hermida Audio Zendrive by Lovepedal is an affordable remake of the very expensive original released in 2004. Over the years the Zendrive has achieved a somewhat legendary status in the boutique pedal world due in part to its rarity, unique tone and the caliber of players known to have used it. It is a dynamic touch sensitive overdrive pedal that delivers smooth liquid tones made famous by players such as Robben Ford and Larry Carlton.
Lovepedal has now taken on the license and Alfonzo Hermida’s idea of creating the sound of a high-end handwired amp in a pedal lives on.
In addition to it’s Yin/Yang graphic, the front of the pedal features 4 controls: Volume, Gain, Tone and Voice. Other features include battery access as well as a 9v DC jack.
When testing, I used a Ritchie Kotzen Telecaster through an Orange 30 watt valve amp set on the clean channel. The volume, gain and tone controls work much in the way you would expect. The volume gives a significant db boost, the gain controls how much overdrive you get from the pedal and the tone knob will give you more presence when turned up and more resonance when turned down. The voice knob is a bit unique as it allows you to fine-tune the pedal to your amp and guitar; it limits or increases the amount of total gain available from the gain knob and increases the low end as you turn it down.
I found the response to be the most natural sounding at lower settings with the gain set between 10 o’clock and noon. Very touch sensitive and smooth like a cranked valve amp finding it’s sweet spot. Chords have all of the string separation you would expect from a boutique rig and single notes sounded natural and organic with plenty of harmonic overtones. If you’re looking for a bit more, the Zendrive can deliver mild distortion sounds as well; just turn up the drive and tweek the voice and tone knobs to taste. The pedal can also serve as a glassy clean boost, just turn the gain down and the volume up.
Rumour has it that the Zendrive pedal was originally created to reproduce the sound of Robben Ford playing through his legendary Dumble amplifier. Robben loved the pedal so much that he started using it in his own rig. Of course, good tone is in your fingers but having a great pedal doesn’t hurt and Robben says he loves this one!
If you’re after blues, country, jazz or fusion tones associated with some of the most costly amplifiers on the market, the Zendrive could be just the pedal you’ve been looking for.
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9V battery operation or DC adapter
Dimensions: 4.37″ X 2.37″ X 1.07″