In this review I’ll be looking at the brand new D&M Drive from Robert Keeley. Promising to deliver mids-humped boost and saturated distortion, and the option to combine them, the D&M Drive offer a wide palette of tones suitable for most setups. Here’s my review.
If you’re like me, you’re probably waiting eagerly for each new episode of That Pedal Show. Dan and Mick are not only capable of making everything they touch sound like gold but, and more importantly, they have a passion and enthusiasm that’s incredibly inspiring.
I’m sure they inspire a lot of pedal makers too and the D&M Drive by Robert Keeley is designed in collaboration with Dan and Mick. Do we really need another overdrive? Probably not, and the guys also points that out in their description but the D&M sure offer something new and different.
The D&M Drive is a dual overdrive. The left side of the pedal, Dan’s side, offer tons of saturated gain, with an impressive clarity and rich harmonics. Unlike the typical modern mids scooped metal distortions or the more classic mids-boosted Rat, the drive side of the D&M is perfectly balanced and cuts through nicely without sounding boxy or overwhelming.
The right side, Mick’s side, is a boost with lots of headroom and a nice mids-hump. Actually, boost is perhaps a bit misleading because although it has the ability to clean up nicely, there’s plenty of gain on tap. Tonewise it’s somewhere between a Klon and Tube Screamer although with lots more low end and the mid range sounds more balanced.
Each of these sides can either be used alone or stacked. Crank them both and get some really sick super distorted tones or, set them up much like your favourite overdrive and EQ adding a bit of both for some really smooth creamy tones.
A mini toggle switch allow you to switch places of the two sides. Having the boost run into the drive, adds a nice mids boost to your saturated distortion and evens out some of the bright overtones and adds quite a bit of sustain. Place the booster after the drive and use it as a very subtle EQ.
Personally I like the Boost side best. Perhaps because I often prefer low gain overdrive over distortion but as much as I love the Klon and Tube Screamer, I’ve always found them too middy and they lack some low end. The D&M boost is incredibly well balanced and it really adds a lot of punch and confidence to your tone and playing. It probably sound best on a fairly mids scooped amp, like a Fender or Vox, with single coil pickups but it shouldn’t scare off Marshall and humbucker players either.
The Drive is perhaps a tad too bright for my taste but I’m surprised by how well you can hear all the nuances and harmonics. High gain distortions often sound too overwhelming but this one allow you to pretty much crank the gain up all the way and still retain much of the characteristics of the tone.
My favourite setup is probably the Drive with a fairly moderate setup, with the Boost placed in front of it adding a bit of mid range and compression.
So the verdict? Well, I really enjoy the D&M and although there are similar pedals out there, the D&M is well thought out and cover a lot of ground. Wether you’re a bedroom player or needs something versatile for your cramped board, the D&M offer great sounding tones and pretty much any drive tone you need. Check out robertkeeley.com for more.