Every time I come across a new overdrive I always ask myself – Do we really need another overdrive pedal? You probably have a couple on your board already and a handful laying in a box somewhere. Still, I’m always excited when Buffalo FX comes out with something new and their most recent offering is indeed an overdrive. The Carrera. Here’s my review.
I’m a huge fan of the stuff Buffalo FX make (yep, I might be a little biased here…). The TD-X and Patriot are some of my all time favourite effects and while we’re certainly not talking about reinventing the wheel, Buffalo FX main man Steve has a unique way of tackling classics with a new, and often much needed, spin.
In recent years I’ve gone from a typical early/mid 70’s setup, with mids scooped fuzz and boosters, to more mids humped and cutting pedals. I still try my best to create those raw and edgy tones but nowadays I need big fat tones, with lots of presence and less struggle.
The Carrera address this issue. You want that tube amp chime but with enough mid range and presence to effortlessly cut through the mix regardless of what amp and pickups you have.
The Carrera feature controls for volume, gain, treble and bass, a bright led and top mounted jacks. It runs on 9V and like all Buffalo FX pedals, it feature true bypass switching.
Tonally, the Carrera sits somewhere between the TD-X and Evolution (or a Boss BD-2 and Rat). Whereas the TD-X can sound a bit thin and bright on some mids scooped high headroom amps, the Carrera has that extra mids hump that maintains the character and warmth of the pedal.
On some amps, the Evolution can sound a bit flat and the higher gain settings a bit too bright, but although with less gain on tap, the Carrera sounds creamy and fat when you crank it. For the same high gain tones you get from the Evolution though, you might want to pair the Carrera with a booster.
The Carrera is the perfect link between the TD-X and Evolution and the fact that it can do similar tones but with a bit more mid range and compression, makes it perhaps even more versatile than the other two.
As a clean booster, with the gain low and the treble and bass around 2 o’clock, the Carrera adds a nice chime and fat low end to single coils in particular. It’s almost like engaging a transparent compressor that just makes everything pop out a bit more.
Raising the gain and volume to around noon, while backing off the treble a bit, produce a crunchy tube-like tone that responds incredibly well to your picking and guitar volume. Light picking just adds a bit of sparkle but dig really deep into the strings and you get this really nice attack and crunch.
This is probably where the TD-X and Carrera is overlapping to some extent but again, the Carrera has that little extra mid range that makes it easier to set up on some of the more scooped amps and bedroom levels in particular.
There’s not a huge amount of gain available, both the TD-X and Evolution has considerably more, but the Carrera is fully capable of producing some powerful tones, with tons of sustain. The bass and treble controls also allow you to finely tune the gain and balance. Obviously, with a pair of humbuckers you can easily turn the Carrera into a loud and aggressive distortion pedal.
I really don’t have anything to put my finger on here. Again, Buffalo FX has managed to create a pedal that, at least for me, fits right into my setup and solve some of the issues I’ve had with similar sounding overdrives. If you’re looking for those classic tube amp sounds, with a bit of mids, high end sparkle and impressive dynamics, then look no further.
See buffalo-fx.com for more info.