DriveMaster Reissue

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DriveMaster Reissue
DriveMaster Reissue
DriveMaster Reissue
DriveMaster Reissue
DriveMaster Reissue
DriveMaster Reissue

Released in 1992, the Marshall DriveMaster was the English brand's first real attempt to enter the effects pedal market, dominated at the time by Boss, MXR and a few others. Released at the same time as the BluesBreaker and the ShredMaster, it adopts a circuit almost identical to that of the Guv'nor but a little more gain available. The goal is to recreate the "Marshall in a box" sound with great versatility and a typically British grain. It's not for nothing that Jeff Buckley and many other guitarists used it! In 2023, Marshall is re-releasing the original model with an extremely faithful MK2 version.

Aesthetically, we have a chassis that could be described as indestructible. The pedal offers classic controls: Gain, 3-band EQ and Volume. Inside, 2 handwired PCBs, identical in every way to the original version. The Marshall DriveMaster benefits from a simple but perfectly designed circuit: a double OP-Amp amplifies the signal using the Gain button, then it passes through 2 LEDs which will distort the signal which is sent to the tone stack then to the output stage. Compared to the Guv'nor, except for the absence of a loop, we have generally the same circuit with just a few variations in components (filter cap, and an additional resistor).

Plugged into a super clean amp, because the aim of the DriveMaster is to transform any amp into a Marshall, we attack everything at 12:00 with a Les Paul. Well, let's just say it right away, the EQ is Marshall, so not really progressive. The Mid button is very effective, the Bass knob corrects in a slightly more linear manner than the Guv'nor and the Treble has a correct travel. Each knob interacts enormously with the others and heavily impacts the frequency curve. So you have to fumble around a bit to find the sound, but once you do, it sounds!
The attack is a little straighter than on the Guv'nor, the dynamics quite "mellow", we don't have a percussive or very articulate attack here. We also have a little more thickness at the bottom than with the Guv'nor and a little more gain in reserve. We will therefore recommend it for 70's blues-rock-hardrock registers (Guns, AC-DC...)
We are on a very open drive, which delivers a solid level of gain with a British color to the very marked high-mids. The harmonics fuse, the drive is relatively “pinched”. It is very “forgiving” because it is easy to play, fluid and versatile. For fans of big English sounds or Gary Moore-style leads, it works great.

In conclusion, Marshall brings out his legendary pedal identically with its qualities and its faults. We prefer it with humbuckers on a good Les Paul, a super-strat or an SG. The good news is that it sounds very good and will allow fans of the brand to obtain the legendary sounds that so many appreciate.

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