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Ashdown James LoMenzo Hyperdrive

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[size=3][b]Ashdown James LoMenzo Hyperdrive[/b][/size]



Ashdown aren't a brand that automatically spring to mind when you think of bass effects, despite them having a reasonable range of pedals that are well distributed. This pedal was unveiled at Winter NAMM 08 and is heralded as a concept by James LoMenzo, with Ashdown putting this concept into physical form.

I received the pedal 3 weeks ago. First impressions were that it is quite large in comparison to your average stomp box. This means a couple of things really, the controls aren't squashed in and are easy to operate without fiddling about too much. The size also allows the pedal a bit of eye-candy in the form of the trademark lit Ashdown VU meter along with steel protection bars to prevent any mishaps to the meter when stomping away. On the downside - its girth may mean it doesn't fit easily into someone's pedalboard, especially if it is replacing an existing distortion pedal which is a lot smaller. The pedal is made from hardy steel and is painted gloss black, a latching footswitch is surrounded in further painted on styling and an Ashdown winged logo. Battery access is via a panel on the bottom which is sealed with a solitary screw, a major pain if emergency change is required mid gig.

[b]Controls[/b]

[list]
[*]Input
[*]Freq
[*]Q (Switch)
[*]Drive
[*]+10 (Switch)
[*]Mix
[*]Output
[*]Footswitch
[/list]
I ran this pedal into my Ashdown ABM (flat) using my Stingray 2EQ. Using a Planet Waves cable into the pedal from the bass led to the connection being firm, but a slight tug on the lead would cause the lead to spring out slightly, cutting the connection and turning the pedal off. This is likely due to the nature of Planet Waves cables with their spring loaded collar to ensure a tight connection - using a different cable solved this but I haven't had this problem on any other equipment.

As with most pedals, when a cable is inserted to the input jack, the circuit is enabled - this is apparent by the VU meter becoming illuminated by a white LED. Initially on bypass mode the pedal does it's job, that being nothing. The tone is untainted and what I would expect when the pedal is disengaged, the advertised 'true bypass' does its job.

I set the frequency control to 200hz (0), the Q/+10dB switch enabled and the blend on full. This gave me a low end thunderous fuzzy warmth. Backing off the blend control allowed the tone of the bass to become more apparent, now this is where the pedal really comes into its own. The low end that is usually lost by distortion pedals is still there, since half of the signal is being left untainted. Changing the frequency control slowly to 2.2Khz shows off the range of sounds available with the HyperDrive. At the top end of the spectrum it does unfortunately lose a bit of low end, but this setting would be best suited to shredding solos rather than pounding bass lines. I found myself being most content with the following setting:

Freq = 3-4/10
Q = On
Drive= Full
+10 = On
Mix = 5/10

This sample was recorded with my Stingray. The Stingray EQ was set on full bass/treble, with clean to start with in the sample. The first time it's switched on is my above favourite setting. I then repeat an A note whilst turning the frequency control between 200Hz-2.2Khz. After that I change the blend control showing how much the original signal can be altered.

[url="http://www.machinesofhate.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/LoMenzo.mp3"][b]> > Sound Sample < <[/b][/url]

When I enabled the preshape on my ABM and put the 5 string BC Rich Warlock I also have for review through it, it became a complete metal monster. Make no mistakes, this pedal was made for grinding rock and metal.

I would recommend this pedal to anyone looking for a versatile and great sounding distortion pedal, I might just get one myself.

[b]I like:[/b]
Lots of controls which do make a big difference to the sound.
Simply great sounding on almost all settings.
Built like a tank.

[b]I dislike:[/b]
Pretty big - may put some people off.
Battery access is poor as screwdriver is required.

Over all:
[b]8/10[/b]

Many thanks to Ashdown for sending me the pedal for review.

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gotta admit not blown away by the sounds, but id still like to try one

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[quote name='BassManKev' post='171032' date='Apr 6 2008, 10:33 PM']gotta admit not blown away by the sounds, but id still like to try one[/quote]

I'm not blown away either. Got mine on Friday and found it more useful as a preamp than a distortion unit. Using the drive control sparingly one can 'liven up' one's tone. I wouldn't describe the sound the unit produces when the drive control is turned up as Overdrive or even Hyperdrive but more of a fuzz. Still trying to find something that will give me a sound similar to Duff McKagen's at the beginning of Slither. Any ideas anyone?

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Do bare in mind this was plugged directly into my soundcard, not going via any preamp or EQ.

Plenty of people who heard it at the bass bash were impressed by it, so ner :)

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I've now decided to buy the pedal from Ashdown - as I don't want to send it back.

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[quote name='OldGit' post='190483' date='May 2 2008, 01:15 PM']So did you just call them and offer to review it? :brow:[/quote]

No, I emailed them :).

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[quote name='Machines' post='190558' date='May 2 2008, 02:25 PM']No, I emailed them :).[/quote]

Ah ... fascinating :huh:

Edited by OldGit

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