Every once in a while a pedal pops up with a special appeal to us Gilmour nerds and with obvious references to a legendary overdrive pedal, I had to check out this one. Here’s my review of the Hermida Audio Dover Drive from Lovepedal.
Like many of you, I’m sure, I though “a Tube Driver clone? Do they dare? And without a tube?” Well, they asked for it. Using the familiar graphics known from the overdrive pedal that’s as synonymous with Gilmour as the Big Muff, is risky business.
The Dover Drive is housed in a MXR-sized’ish chassis, with true bypass switching and it runs on 9V battery or Boss-style power adapter. Controls are gain, volume and tone. Inside the pedal, there’s also a bias trim pot, allowing you to fine tune the gain stage.
So, let’s cut to the chase. Is this really a Tube-Driver-Gilmour-in-a-box? The answer is no. It’s not. This is not a clone or solid state pedal board friendly version of the Tube Driver. It doesn’t really matter what it is. What matters is how it sound. And it sounds awesome!
As the name implies, the Dover Drive is perhaps more oriented around Eric Johnson’s way of using the Tube Driver. He’s always set the Hi and Lo (treble and bass) very low. This completely changes the character of the pedal, from sounding bright and boomy, like David’s tones, to dark and smooth, with more emphasis on the mid range. And make no mistake; the Dover Drive has A LOT of mid range.
You may dismiss it as too boxy and thin at first but it’s important to understand why mid range is so important to your guitar tones. The typically scooped pedals, like your transparent boosters and Big Muffs, sound great alone, when you’re jamming in your bedroom, but in a band or recording situation, your guitar will, in most cases, drown behind the drums and keys. Amps, pickups and pedals with a good amount of mid range, will effortlessly cut through the dense mix and sit right beside the vocals. Same goes for the low end. Alone, the Dover Drive lack the fat low end (not as badly as the Tube Screamer though), but in a band setup, that low end will drown behind the bass drum and bass guitar, which again makes your guitar difficult to hear.
The Dover Drive is loud. You could use it as a booster but the huge amounts of mid range, makes it a tad too dark and not as clean as a scooped booster. There’s plenty of gain on tap too. At lower gain settings, you’re in the JTM45 territory and paired with a humbucker guitar, the Dover nails everything from Just Got Paid to Back in Black. Set the gain around noon and the Dover gets all creamy and smooth, with all the characteristics of David’s On an Island tones. Roll the gain all the way up and you got an extremely dynamic distortion, tapping into fuzz and Big Muff territory.
The single tone control wonâ€™t compensate for the Tube Driverâ€™s bass and treble controls but thatâ€™s really not the point. Counter clockwise adds a creamy texture to your tones, which is great for taming some of the highs on high gain settings. Rolling the tone clockwise adds presence and cleans up the pedal on lower gain settings.
It’s refreshing to see that Lovepedal decided to make a unique pedal, rather than trying to clone the Tube Driver. The Dover Drive is extremely versatile and perhaps one of the finest overdrives for bedroom or studio setups, in regards to recreating David’s tones. Highly recommended! Check out Lovepedal.com for more details.