It’s really hard to say which brand is capable of creating better bass overdrive pedal: the one that is concentrated on this particular instrument or the one that is simply renowned for great products regardless of the effect. I wouldn’t be able to answer this question even if you forced me to, because both categories are capable of creating wonderful devices. But today we’re going to concentrate on the first group and review a product from EBS. This manufacturer has been developing bass stompboxes for about 27 years, so you can imagine how much expertise they have gained throughout this time. They know perfectly how the circuitry of a pedal should respond to a bass guitar and what should be utilized for the best results. They usually incorporate a wide array of frequencies to make sure that all the spectrums are covered equally and low-end is reproduced in its best shape. Today we’re going to discuss their MultiDrive – an overdrive pedal that offers practical features that will assist you throughout the process of creating your performance. You can pair it with boost or distortion stompboxes and enhance your possibilities even more. Either way, this puppy knows how to read your mind and translate your thoughts into music. Let’s dig into its features, controls and sound in order to find out if MultiDrive is the match for you.
Though expertise means that customers will be able to trust your product easily, it does also mean that you have way more responsibility. EBS has to make an effort with each release, since bassists will judge their pedals even more strictly. But this time they have nothing to worry about, since MultiDrive is definitely a hit. It has hardly any flaws (we’ll discuss them below) and provides the musician with easy access to all of its possibilities.
This bad boy operates in three modes: Tubesim triggers the second tube simulator, which replicates the feel of vintage tubes and adds harmonics, Standard offers normal operation, while Flat adds gain to the whole frequency spectrum, making it possible to enhance gain linearly. Swapping between these settings lets you experiment with various sounds and easily transform mild effect into something more dramatic. Keep in mind that this pedal won’t produce extreme distortion even at higher levels on its own. But once paired with a boost unit in front, it can yield warm and gnarly results. More importantly, MultiDrive features analog circuitry with True Relay-based Bypass. This means that it has the organic quality of vintage overdrives and maintains the full body of your sound when its inactive. This fella can be powered with a single 9V battery or an adapter. It offers typical connections so you can simply plug it in and start performing. Though it offers a wide array of sounds, it isn’t for those who are looking for some bells and whistles – it delivers a standard package, which isn’t a bad thing by any means. In fact, the ability to utilize tube simulation isn’t something you’ll come across that frequently. Good job, EBS!
The controls of EBS MultiDrive will be really easy to tweak even for novices. It will be particularly simple for those who know how to adjust a bass pedal. This is crucially important, because no matter how straight-forward a unit is, you’ll have a hard time achieving good results unless you know how to compliment your guitar with it. But there’s a solution: you should make minor adjustments and really listen to what happens to your sound. Then intensify the settings and listen once again. This way you’ll be able to move through various parameters gradually and recognize the differences between them.
Though I made it look really difficult, once you apply this approach in real life, you’ll see that it makes everything way easier. Especially with MultiDrive, since it has only two knobs. The first one is Drive, which adds more gain to your sound and allows you to steep it with overdrive. The second one is Volume, which adjusts the level of the output and makes your instrument audible. In the middle of these two we have a toggle that lets you choose between Tubesim, Standard and Flat modes. You can navigate between them really quickly be it during practice or live performance. It goes without saying that the footswitch triggers the circuitry or activates the bypass mode.
If you look over the market of bass overdrive pedals, you’ll notice that the majority of them shift between distortion and overdrive. Usually you can achieve both depending on the settings you choose. While EBS MultiDrive has similar vibe, it’s still more of an overdrive than distortion. The effect it produces will vary depending on the mode you choose. In Tubesim and Standard modes, the low-end is bypassed, which means that the character of your bass is maintained fully. The former adds warmth and subtleness of vintage tube overdrives, while the latter emits typical effect. As you move on to the Flat mode, the results become a bit heavier and your low-end becomes affected as well. Though you won’t achieve a full-blown distortion, it still gets darker compared to other modes. The controls of MultiDrive might not be enough for everybody. Since we don’t really have any tools for modifying the EQ, we have to be content with the factory settings. Luckily, there’s nothing wrong with those.
As I have underlined above, EBS has a lot of expertise when it comes to bass pedals. And as we’ve all seen, that experience is what makes up MultiDrive. It mightn’t be the primary choice for those who like studio-grade precision and tweaking options, but it’s perfect for those bassists who just want to plug in and play. Finding the settings that work is really easy here and, thus, emitting desired sounds doesn’t take too much effort either. This puppy offers vintage and modern tones and you can always choose the ones that suit your style the most. Good luck!
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