Here's a little news on the market and honestly, we didn't see it coming! Developed (yes, original circuit) and manufactured by ACLAM in Barcelona, the Cinnamon is the very first pedal from the brand to see the light of day. ACLAM has very quickly become a reference in terms of pedalboards and it is obvious that the young Spanish brand is creating a whole bunch of excellent products for guitarists. So let's take a closer look at this Aclam Cinnamon Drive.
First thing, the packaging is extremely neat. It is rare to see such attention to detail. When you open the box, you find the pedal in a small "soft" bag that smells... cinnamon! Yes! Spaniards have a sense of humor! There are also stickers, a nicely printed manual, very good quality Velcro, cut to the dimensions of the pedal etc... In short, it looks very good.
Aesthetically, the pedal surprises. Very light, it has two screws on the sides, and everyone wonders: "but what is this thing?" Well dear guitarist friends, these little knobs allow you to fix the pedal without velcro-ising, sticking, persing or anything. You pose, you turn and it holds! Magic! You're going to say, "uh yes, but not on my pedalboard?". Right, you need an Aclam pedalboard. Go take a look, they are the best on the market! And don't worry, the pedal attaches in the traditional way to any other pedalboard. Smart is the Barcelonan!
The exterior finish is impeccable, so we open to see what is happening inside. High quality PCB, very well designed with an intelligent layout, very good quality relays, sorted components, an OPA213 opamp, two gain stages etc... It's top of the range and attention to detail is pushed up inside. Small bonus, there is a deep switch on the pcb to adjust the response of low frequencies and a small trim pot for high frequencies. Something to experiment a little more.
Les Paul and Strato in hand, the best way to make the most of the Cinnamon Drive is to stack it on a very nice clean. With Cinnamon, the key word is "versatility". The Aclam is the ultra transparent and natural kind of drive, so it's able to deliver a great clean boost as it has headroom tone in reserve. Minimum gain, volume up, here you are with a superb boost to twist your amp or stacker on a pedal. The pedal has a dual gain stage (first soft stage, second hard) so you can stack it on just about anything that moves and wake up the beast with the boost. By pushing the drive a little we get a soft, fluid, resolutely British overdrive. The interactivity and the efficiency of the corrections is maximum. By pushing the gain a little more we create a real correlation between the 2 gain knobs (boost and OD) which really works together. Crank up the OD Gain, keep the boost around 12:00 and you have great distortion with high mids and cutting harmonics. Do the opposite, lower the Gain of the OD and raise that of the boost: the range, the grain changes. The drive is thicker, lower mid. We really have an impressive range of sounds.
Whatever your settings, the Aclam Cinnamon Drive is organic, with a thick midrange, a tight bottom, a "touch sensitive" dynamic, and it cleans superbly on the volume knob. A real Swiss army knife. It behaves like a real little amp.
The Aclam Cinnamon Drive is a superb overdrive-distortion that will delight all fans of British-sounding amp-like pedals. Original circuit, high quality manufacturing and brand with a nice and fresh image, the Cinnamon has everything to be an excellent reference. This first try is transformed and we can't wait to see the brand's next pedal!