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This article was originally published in issue #44
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Small isn't always beautiful (who wants a small pay packet?) but in many areas shrinking products can bring a lot of benefits. Take pedals for example. Xvive is aiming straight for the mini pedal effects market and it has some very interesting ideas. Lewis Turner tries two extremely affordable Xvive overdrives designed by German maestro Thomas Blug.
Compact pedals have been growing in popularity for quite a while now, with companies bringing out mini versions of everything, meaning you can fit more on your pedal board. If pedal board space is at a premium for you, or you only want to run a small setup then they are ideal and with the leaps in modern technology you don’t necessarily lose anything on the tone front. Xvive is a new name to me but I have already heard great things about the company, so I was excited when I got my hands on these two little drive pedals. Xvive aims to bring professional quality guitar and bass pedals with original tone at competitive prices and the company was also formed by musicians which is normally a good thing. These two pedals have been designed and are used by German guitar ace Thomas Blug, who is a fantastic player with amazing tone, so it's all looking very positive! As always please check out the video to see and hear them for yourself.
Xvive Sweet Leo
First up both these pedals look unique and cool, with a raised pattern finish and striking styling, so they are sure to turn heads “Hey dude what are those little ones?...” etc. The Sweet Leo is a boost pedal with a bit more. It's designed to go in front of a clean amp at low volume and give it that little push into sweet, broken up valve tone. However, the Drive and Growl controls allow it be more than just a cranked rhythm pedal. Turning up these controls take it into the raunchy and dirty overdriven sounds that are perfect for Blues/Rock leads. Turn it on and roll the volume of your guitar down and you have a great clean boost with shimmering bell type high ends. Real simple controls enable you to plug in and dial a tone that you like straight away.
As a boost this is a fantastic pedal that really gives the impression of a broken up valve amp, the high gain sounds are also great even when maxed out you still get clarity with tight bass response. This is a great pedal for thickening up rhythm parts and dirty Blues leads.
Xvive T2 Dynarock
This little fellow is really an extension of the Sweet Leo taking the crunch tones to the next level of heavy distortion. Like the Sweet Leo, the Dynarock is a simple plug in and play pedal with just a drive, volume and tone control to deal with. This one also has a Mid Boost switch to, well, boost the mids...perfect for cutting lead sounds! A good purpose-made distortion pedal is quite hard to find, often manufactures seem to think that offering a gain control that goes to 20 is the answer. Unfortunately all that results in is a load of fizz and nothing useable. I'm happy to report that the Dynarock is no such pedal! Even when cranked it still delivers a harmonically rich tone where you are able to hear each string, it cuts through well and delivers authentic Rock/Metal tones. My only gripe would be that it doesn’t do modern very well, no matter how much tweaking it always has that classic Rock/Vintage sound which it does very well.
This was my first experience of Xvive pedals and I have been hugely impressed. They look great, are well made and most importantly sound great, actually delivering what they claim. If you want something a little different on your board to the “main names” then you really should check these out. They are also exceptionally good value for money – which helps!