Hagerman DRIVE (silicon Muff-style) review/demo

August 2019 is the first KVR Guitar Month so here's a new forum for discussion of all things guitar!
Topic Starter
67 posts since 15 Nov, 2020

Post Fri Jan 21, 2022 2:33 pm

I don’t mind fuzz pedals, but I don’t use them often. I’ve demoed them, used them here and there, but frequently had to do some EQ adjustments or add some type of treble booster, etc., to really get the notes to sound more defined and harmonically rich. Hagerman Amps’ DRIVE is a different and much welcomed animal. This Muff-inspired high-gain distortion pedal has but one clipping section, and the unique circuit design includes ‘emitter degeneration feedback,’ rather than a ‘collector feedback.’ As a non-builder, that doesn’t mean much to me, but I do know the end result, and as Hagerman Amps puts it: “a more open and clear bite.” You still get a velvety tone, but its clarity sets it apart and becomes utterly apparent in the mix.


Its operation is simple, with a Level and Tone control, which means very little tweaking, if any, while playing. In essence, the Level produces the same amount of distortion/drive no matter how much you turn it up. The Level is meant to provide volume/boost (44dB maximum gain), while the degree of dirt is controlled by a guitar’s volume. This is exemplified in the demo, as I combine a slightly dirty clean (guitar volume set at 50%) with that of a raunchy crunch (volume set at 80%) and lead (volume 100%).

All were played on a clean amp (the Hagerman ONE WATTER), but adding the DRIVE to an already dirty lead tone really pushes the boundaries. Whether the amp is clean or dirty, the sustain is very good for those notes that enjoy hanging in the ether for several seconds. The results among three different guitars in the demo impressed me enough that the composition says it all, and no knob tweaking was necessary to showcase this pedal. Not only does a crunch produce a magnificent growl, but lead played on a bridge pickup is nothing short of sublime… full, round notes that ring out better than I’ve heard with other fuzz-distortion type pedals.

This true-bypass pedal is another serious Hagerman creation, and it’s so simple in its operation. It has a 110k ohm input impedance with a 100Hz to 2kHz bandwidth, and only requires 1mA of power, via a negative-center 9V to 15V power supply (the demo used a basic 9V supply). Two thumbs up!

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